When a Teacher Weighs your Child in Class

One of the biggest reasons I keep my blog separate from my personal life is so I can post things like this.

My daughter who will soon be turning eight is in a grade 2/3 split class. She is a young grade 3 student. This means most of her friends turned 8 before she will as her birthday is so late in the year. If she were born a month later, she would be in a lower grade.

I really like her teacher and her out of the box way of thinking. She is kind and challenges my daughter as well as encourages her. I know a few parents do not like her but having seen my share of bad teachers, I am a fan. So when things happen that make my initial reaction be anger, I like to get a second opinion.

So we were driving to get groceries last night when my daughter tells me “There is a boy in my class that weighs 90 lbs” She said it so matter of factly that it kind of threw me for a loop.

Me “How do you know how much he weighs?”

Her “We were weighing pumpkins for math”

Me “Okay so how do you know how much he weighs?”

Her “The teacher brought in a scale and weighed us too. Then wrote what we all weighed on the board”

My heart started racing and my face did something weird as my 18 year old looked at me and said “Mom they are just little, weight is not an issue. These are not teens, relax”

Okay, I can understand how they are comparing numbers and weight and this could be a good math exercise. I tried to calm down and see the teacher’s way of thinking.

Then my daughter said something that changed everything

“I am not proud of my weight!”

Um what?!?! Did my perfect beautiful little angel just say that?

I wanted to cry. Why is my almost eight year old even talking about weight.

Me “Why would you say that? You are perfect! You are beautiful and you weight exactly what you should”

She weighs 57 lbs

She then told me that most of her friends weigh 62lbs and some 70 lbs. Her reaction was actually the opposite of my thinking. She wants to weigh more.

Okay not as bad as I initially thought. Or is it?

Why are 7 and 8 year olds even talking about weight? Why does my daughter need to gain weight? Why did she feel she needed to tell me about one child weighing 90 lbs?

I wish I was a fly on the wall in there and knew exactly what went down. I am always the parent who is going in and questioning things. I am not comfortable with my daughter being weighed in front of her classmates then having it displayed for all to see.

I was not prepared for a weight conversation last night.

But we had one *SIGH*

We discussed being healthy and not comparing ourselves to others. I asked her why she would make a statement like she did and use the words “Not proud” ?

She seemed to understand and I tried not to over react. But to be honest I had all of the emotions you would expect. I was angry and sad a bit shocked and so confused.

Now I sit here planning on picking her up from class and wanting to talk to the teacher. As someone who is struggling to get healthy and see the impact of ‘weight issues’ in society I am not sure how to approach this.

I want to cry and scream and get angry. I can not be the only parent feeling this is not right.

What would you do if you were me? Am I over reacting?




  1. No you are not overreacting. I would be livid. As a mother of a daughter who has issues with ED, I know that comparisons are a HUGE part of what she lives with every day. I am so glad you followed this up with a discussion later that night. My daughter seemed healthy and happy…until she wasn’t. I found out through our therapy sessions that her issues began right around the time she was your daughter’s age and it was a complete shock to me.
    Now, if the teacher had followed up with a frank discussion about how everyone is the size they are and that’s completely okay, etc. maybe I wouldn’t be so angry.
    Keep those discussion lines open. Encourage and inspire a healthy lifestyle. Be there for those questions. You’re doing awesome.

  2. You aren’t overreacting. That’s completely inappropriate. Teachers should know better.

  3. Nope, not overreacting at all. Your title is what caught my attention and I was like… oh heck no. I wouldn’t be okay with it either, even with a “math lesson” comparison. It’s not appropriate and there are other ways that same “lesson” could be taught (ie. with the pumpkins).
    As the mom of 5 teenagers, all whom were various sizes when they were small, I don’t feel like any one of them would be okay with this or would have been happy to do it. Believe it or not, there are many 8 year olds who already have self-esteem and weight issues.
    I think I’m more bothered by the part that she wrote it on the board for everyone to see. I’m actually shocked that the school would even think that is appropriate which leads me to think they might not know.
    So happy you kept the lines of communication open, that your daughter was willing to talk about it and that you have the desire to speak to the teacher. I whole-heartedly agree. Good luck and hope you’ll update us.

  4. I’m a retired teacher. Is this a younger teacher without much experience? Is she thinks herself? Is she a parent?

    Those are the first questions that come to my mind. I’m not defending or making excuses for her, just some things I have experienced that may explain what she did. She may have used the weight yourself with the baby to determine the baby/pumpkin weight. She may have thought at their age that it would have no impact on them. Unfortunately, in today’s climate, very little is considered safe or innocent.

    As I said, not making excuses, just trying to explain what MAY have happened.

    • GingerMommy says

      Experienced teacher with great out of the box thinking. Mom to boys. I doubt she realized the impact thinking they were younger. Myself I was a bit surprised at my daughter’s response.

  5. Do you recall when this happened to my daughter in GRADE 5? Similar assignment kind of thing. I was very upset. My daughter was one of the heavier ones. She is a solid athletic child. She exercises a lot and acts and swims and skis and is a junior black belt. She is not overweight, nor is she a skinny girl. There was one girl who was 55 pounds in grade 5 and everyone made fun of her for weeks. She was the smallest of all the kids weight wise. She left the school due to bullying. This incident did not help. My daughter’s teacher was male and we had already had numerous issues at school with P being bullied over the years plus anxiety disorder. I was so mad. This is not appropriate EVER. I don’t care what age the kids are. Today’s Parent covered the story and then the radio called me and I did a radio interview as well. HANDS off my kid’s weight. There is no place for this in the school at all. This teacher did a lot of damage and he didn’t have a clue. I think sometimes teachers need more sensitivity training. I know most do a good job and most try but this kind of thing doesn’t work for me at all. It does damage and that’s the opposite of what a teacher should be doing.

    • GingerMommy says

      I do remember this now. Sucks they think it is innocent enough but the kids really stress over it. Now my daughter is upset she is too thin and why are the kids all so amazed one is 90lbs? What was said? Ugh I hate these kind of things with schools. But if we as parents do not tell them how we think it will keep happening.

  6. I would be unhappy with this as well. My girl is 7 and is underweight. She’s often taunted as a “baby” by one of the kids in her class. I am also tough on family members who joke about making her fat when she eats dessert. Eating disorders can start early. At age ten, a rude uncle embarrassed me at two family dinners and I spiraled into an eating disorder that lasted 20 years. We don’t have a scale at home, we get weighed at the doctor office and rarely talk about weight at home, only health

  7. Why are they still doing this???

    When my daughter was in that grade they weighed her and everyone in the glass found out how tiny she was weight wise and it followed her right through to grade 8!!!! She was bullied and sometimes I would find her in her closet crying because of the bullying. It had a lasting impact on her so much so that she chose to go to a school in grade 9 that only one other person in her school was going to – to get away from it all and have a fresh start.

    Then in high school my daughter went on a junk food diet to gain weight. You heard me. It didn’t work there was no way she could gain weight no matter what she tried.

    She is now a healthy and happy 25 year old but it took a lot of work of us building her up and her accepting how beautiful she was just the way she was.

  8. When kids are young they do NOT want to be different in any ways (one reason I think that school uniforms are a great thing ) BUTmyself, at age 51, had a health scare and weight DOES have an impact on my life. After two surgeries this year, I go scared enough to change everything I do. From the way I eat, to walking to work and after work (I do 18-22 km each day) , trying to stand properly (its easier to slouch I tell you!!) etc, etc.

    I doubt that the teacher was trying to embarrass any child about their weight. If they are, they really need to evaluate their job.

  9. Ask that the teacher talk about the very things you discussed with your daughter. The door was opened for unhealthy comparisons, the follow-up lesson in class would be helpful.

  10. You 100% are not over reacting! I have a friend whose child is recovering from anorexia and something that played into this was a (well meaning, Im sure) teacher who was pushing nutrition on the kids (10 years old) and insisting that certain foods were ‘bad’ verses encouraging moderation or hey – letting the family decide!

    Those numbers may mean nothing to some kids, but they can also mean too much to others – or a tool for bullying in some cases.

  11. Wow, I can see why you were so upset. That teacher clearly did not think about the impact this exercise could have on the kids. Sadly, weight is not a non-issue with people these days. Maybe we’ll get there one day. I think this teacher needs to understand how she impacted your daughter, and how she may have impacted the other kids. Not cool!

  12. nicolthepickle says

    I think the teacher made a mistake, and she probably didn’t mean anything bad by it, but I agree with you. There is so much emphasis on what size you are, what you look like, braces etc. And young children, even teenagers should not have to worry about that. They do, but I’m going to try and keep it from them as long as I can.

    Be careful that you don’t make a huge deal of this in front of your child. As that will make her notice it more. It’s better that it was just a blip and she forgets about it, and if you make a huge deal of it she might think something’s wrong.

  13. They could have weighed a myriad of things that do not have feelings to compare and contrast with their pumpkins. I can think of 23 right off the top of my head! (text books, computer equipment, desks, all the shoes in the room, everyones lunches, etc.)

    I have only one question: Did the teacher weigh herself to compare to a pumpkin, too? If not? Why not?

    Mmm hmm. EXACTLY!

    I have my own issues and this week my emotions (about so many things) are looming incredibly close to the surface, but I am really not feeling the warm fuzzies for this particular lesson plan and the short sighted decision to go ahead with it.

  14. Elva Roberts says

    I was a Primary School Teacher at one time and I think your teacher was out of line. Girls especially are having a difficult time with body image. One of my good friends told me that her granddaughter was a recovering from bulimia and would not eat in front of anyone.
    I would tell her gently how this impacted your daughter. If she does not know how seriously weight problems are, she should be told. One of granddaughters shared her apartment with three other girls and two of them had serious eating problems. You could begin with telling how much you appreciate her good qualities. Talk to her as if you were in her place and give her the benefit of the doubt. The most important thing a teacher may do to her children is to give them a sense of self worth and confidence. EVRYTHING else follows.

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