Inappropriate comments

Discussion in 'General Education' started by lnm130, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. lnm130

    lnm130 Companion

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    Mar 17, 2011

    So this is the second time this has happened.

    Students at my school are making inappropriate comments about me. I have heard one, been told about another by a faculty member, and yet another by one of my students. (the students making the comments are older, 5-7 grades)

    They are commenting on my looks, and I really just don't understand it. I don't dress in an inappropriate way. I just don't know how to handle this. I have let my principal know, but don't know that there are other steps to be taken.

    Just looking to vent and possibly some advice...thanks for listening.
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Aficionado

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    Mar 17, 2011

    I'm sorry.

    Inappropriate is so subjective. I hope that the adults that are hearing this are speaking to the students at the time.

    Honestly, though, I think it is something that pretty, young teachers are going to have to expect, regardless of how they dress. You could wear a tent and you'd still get some comments. Boys that age are starting to get really attracted to women and once they get in a group they'll just bounce things off of each other.

    Doesn't make it right, but I would suspect it is normal.

    As long as your idea of inappropriate and mine are the same, of course.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Mar 17, 2011

    Your coworker shouldn't be telling you rude things that students say about you. Students say rude things about lots of their teachers. It's just what they do. Unless they're saying it to your or in your presence, I think you just need to let it go.
     
  5. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Mar 17, 2011

    You teach the 2nd grade but the comments are coming from 5th, 6th and 7th graders,right? You heard one comment yourself. What did you do to correct the boy?

    Just curious, are the inappropriate comments complimentary or uncomplimentary in nature (if that makes sense)?

    (BTW, I still remember "Mrs. Schultz" from when I was in the 4th grade...... She was one good looking teacher....I think I loved her..:lol:)
     
  6. lnm130

    lnm130 Companion

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    Mar 17, 2011

    The comments aren't rude, persay, just leave me unsettled and uncomfortable. I'm actually VERY self concious, especially in the neighborhood in which I teach.

    I told him that there are appropriate ways and inappropriate ways to tell a girl she is cute or pretty. He continued to make comments that just are not ok, after I spoke to him. I wrote him up for documentation purposes. (Principal was out)

    The boys have looked me up and down and done the whole 'mmm mmm mmmm' thing, one was talking to his sister (my student) and told her that I was sexy because of XYZ, and the third student has been making similar comments to other students.

    So I suppose they are complimentary, but these kids are as big as I am, and it is just uncomfortable I suppose to have the kids make the comments.

    I have a second grader ask me to marry him on a daily basis, and that's cute. But these comments are more crude. I'm also used to my 'little' kids.
     
  7. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Mar 17, 2011

    Sorry this is happening to you. Hopefully, teachers say something as they hear the kids' comments.

    Now, I don't want to just say, "Boys will be boys." They should definitely have respect for adults in authority over them who are teachers (or others) who are there to help them succeed. I don't really work w/ teenagers hardly, but I guess at that age, they'll comment more not just about their female classmates, but most female teachers who are young & probably pretty good-looking in their eyes.

    The real problem gets to be when it's all around the whole campus that you are known to be the "hot" teacher, etc. & none of the kids take you seriously. But, I totally agree that you should write up anyone not behaving the way they should. It concerns me w/ what kind of men these guys will grow up to be...crude & crass is what I worry about, like the world doesn't have enough problems.

    I hope this all dies down soon.
     
  8. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Mar 17, 2011

    I read your initial comments, but after having read these your experiences definitely fall into a sexual harassment area - not sure "legally" since they are kids, but if they are in the middle school age range, comments that are that specific and that public to me would warrant multiple day suspensions. Yes, boys will think that, but uttering the comments publically is totally different. I would probably make a fairly big deal out of it, if not for your sake for the purpose of helping the kids - if they continue to do things like that, they will end up in a lot more trouble.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Mar 17, 2011

    Agreed. When I posted earlier, it was based on your initial post which didn't make reference to any sort of sexual comments, at least not that I recall.
     
  10. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2011

    I am a younger teacher in a high school, and boys try to do similar things. I suppose you could be rougher on the older kids, but I definitely put them in their place. Occasionally, "low blows" have served me well and stopped the issue cold.

    For example, I got a new kid. We were writing poems about our neighborhoods/places we've lived. I checked on him and asked him what his poem was about. He responded "Our house for when we get married." I said something to the effect of "First, you think that's REALLY an appropriate thing to say to me? And Second, you REALLY think that would ever happen??" Not a single problem with him since.

    You could also tell them it's sexual harassment and people get sent to jail for it. They'll never know :)
     
  11. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Mar 17, 2011

    I'm going to go the other way and say you should react to these comments -- at least outwardly. You are a model to high school girls on how they should react to similar unwanted comments. Do you want them to suffer in silence, or assert themselves confidently?

    At the same time, don't overreact. Don't let the crudeness of the statements actually affect your feelings personally. Remember that you're the adult, and you have far more experience both in the world and in controlling your own feelings and behavior.

    I agree with NCScienceTeacher that it's probably "normal", but that doesn't mean it shouldn't change.

    ETA: to the extent possible, I think you should deal with it without writing them up. The girls who might need to model your behavior won't have the threat of writing someone up or suspending them at their fingertips.
     
  12. lnm130

    lnm130 Companion

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    Mar 17, 2011

    This.

    It's not that the comments are made, its their nature. All I can do is notify my principal. Suspensions probably won't happen. It just makes me uncomfortable, more than anything. I just needed to vent. I have a...body type...that is favored among the demographic in which I teach. Lucky me.

    Thanks for listening, guys.
     
  13. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Mar 17, 2011

    My first thought was why are middle school students in the same area as elementary?? Even if you are in the same building, aren't there boundaries or limits as to where middle school students can go? If so, did you write them up for being in an unathorized place as well as writing them up for the comments?

    If this were me, I would actually schedule a meeting with the Dean/AP/P to not only discuss their inappropriate comments, but as other posters suggested, the fact that the comments ARE sexual harassment.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 17, 2011

    I would absolutely respond, and it woudln't be pretty.

    These young boys need to know that women are to be treated with respect. That everyone is to be treated with respect. And that what they're doing would be offensive if it were directed at their mom or their sister.

    A couple of years ago, one of my Juniors referred to one of the pregnant (married, not that it's the issue) teachers as having gotten "knocked up." Let's just say that I let him have it with both barrels. I seriously doubt that anyone in that class (or the one across the hall for that matter-- I wasn't exactly demure in my opionion) will EVER use that particular phrase to describe the miracle of life again.

    They may forget the math I teach. But if they learn nothing from me but how to treat people, then their time spent with me will have accomplished something incredibly important.
     
  15. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2011

    If these boys are making inappropriate comments about your body parts and it is making you uncomfortable, that is sexual harassment. It seems like this is really bothering you and interfering with your ability to do your job. I definitely think you should discuss this with your principal. Maybe the boys don't even know that they are wrong because this is just what they are surrounded by at home. Maybe your school can arrange a presentation on sexual harassment for the older students in your building?
     
  16. passionateacher

    passionateacher Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2011

    I have a 2nd grader who I think is starting to hit on me. Everyday for the last few weeks he says multiple times, "You look pretty today, Mrs. PassionateTeacher." Then as the days went on, he started adding, "You look pretty. I mean REALLY REALLY pretty today." Today he said, "Those glasses look so pretty on your face." At the end of the day he said, "Bye Mrs. PassionateTeacher, Cutie Pie. Soooo cute!"

    I know telling someone they look pretty is nice and I said "thank you" with a smile at first. But then I just started saying "thank you" very quickly or pretending I didn't hear him. Today I pretended I didn't hear him because I was talking to another student.

    Please don't take this the wrong way. I'm not neglecting to acknowledge a 7-year-old's compliments and sweetness, but from his tone I start to feel embarrassed and like I should say something. I don't want to hurt his feelings but I just want him to stop.

    I tell girls and boys they look pretty and handsome on picture day or when they dress up, stuff like that. So I feel like it's kind of hypocritical of me to say "you can't talk about how someone looks."

    I want to also point out he's not being crude or crass. It's just that he's a student and it's starting to seem inappropriate.

    What would you say to a nice, well-mannered 7-year-old...hopefully in a way that doesn't hurt his feelings?
     
  17. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Aficionado

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    Mar 17, 2011

    Yep, those comments and actions are definitely inappropriate. You do need to step in immediately when you hear something. Let those boys know that they are not to be talking about staff members that way, you will not put up with it being directed to you at all and that they should not treat ladies of any age that way ever.

    The thing is, IME, members of a certain demographic sometimes find those comments very flattering. It is hard for a young boy to be taught in the neighborhood that he is more of a man when he comments sexually about a female, that he is more of a man when he fathers many children and that women are turned on by the "mmmmm mmmmms" and "baby got BAAAACCCKKKK!" and end up NOT taking it to heart. It is difficult to hear one thing all day for years but be told the complete opposite at school.

    Not saying it works that way across the board, but in my experience, it happens a lot.
     
  18. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Mar 17, 2011

    I think that being open, direct, and instructive would probably be appropriate - maybe taking 5 minutes 1:1 and talking about appropriate ways of complimenting adults, including how often it would be appropriate to say that someone is pretty, or in what way, or with what facial expressions.

    There's definitely a difference between a lack of social skills, and doing something knowingly wrong to impress friends or some other motivation. I think your situation sounds much different than the original situation, because of age and specificity of comments.

    Do you get the sense that its innocent?
     
  19. lnm130

    lnm130 Companion

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    Mar 17, 2011

    The problem is, I have only heard one student, the first one. The other two have been reported to me. I did address the first one and that student has not repeated the incident.

    I have told my principal, but I don't know how seriously I'm being taken.

    My school is a charter school, k-7. I am next door to a 5/6 split. I see the 7/6 split at lunch and in the morning. I do see some of the students in the hallway, obviously.

    I feel better now. I did go talk to my principal and the students were talked to, so I guess I'll just see if it happens again.
     
  20. passionateacher

    passionateacher Comrade

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    Mar 17, 2011

    Yes, I know he is innocent. He's only 7. He does not realize how any of it sounds because he is too young, IMO. But I feel like I need to let him know because he says it out loud for anybody listening to hear, including my student teacher. He is saying it to be nice but he's just adding on more than an occasional, "you look pretty" or "I like your hair." (I was JOKING about the "hitting on me" comment BTW. He doesn't even know what hitting on means, and he doesn't even hit on girls in class.) I just feel uncomfortable when I catch him looking at me because I know he's probably going to say that and he says it more than 3 times a day. He's so sweet and caring and he is also the kid who says "you're the best teacher ever" 20 times a day. But it's just something about when this little boy starts saying "You're soooooo cute" that it gets kind of weird. How do I respond to that? I don't want to keep saying "thank you." I feel like he's almost spoiling me. Especially when he said "Bye Mrs. PassionateTeacher, Mrs. Cutey Pie!" as my student teacher was taking them out to the buses this afternoon.

    I realize this is not a big deal like the OP's issue. Those teens were being disrespectful and they needed a talk about in/appropriate ways to talk in public, especially regarding an adult. I also agree maybe they think of it as a compliment. I remember being a teen, in "that" type of neighborhood and school...being influenced by the media...and thinking it was a compliment when a guy said you were "fine" or "thick." But as an adult, it's not cute and I'm glad I grew up. Although it was more like I wanted to be called "thick" because that trait was the coveted trait and I was only 90 pounds! :blush:

    EdEd, I know what I should communicate with this little boy, but I don't know how to word it in a way that he won't get sad. He has no idea how this makes me, as an adult, feel. Do I ask just him to not say it so much and leave it at that? I don't know how appropriate it would be to even try explaining to a 7 year old WHY it's inappropriate. He won't even understand why it makes me feel embarrassed!
     
  21. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Mar 17, 2011

    I would teach him other compliments, then reinforce those comments, and then redirect the "you're so cute" comment. So, sit down and say, "You are such a nice boy! I want to let you know some other things you can say that really make people feel good when they hear them." And then come up with some compliments that are more appropriate, like, "You really help me a lot." When he then uses those in class, make a big deal of saying "Thank you!"

    If he says, "You're sooooo cute!" then I would redirect by whispering to him, "You are trying to be really nice! Do you remember some of those nice things you can say when you are trying to be nice?" Hopefully he'll jump right on the other compliments - if not, remind him.

    If he says too many compliments, you may want to talk let him know that sometimes when you don't compliment all the time, when you really do compliment it means a lot more! So, see if you can challenge him to say one really nice thing during a particular lesson (or whatever would be appropriate).

    Basically, you're setting the expectation and reinforcing (through your appreciation) a smaller number of compliments, and specifically more appropriate compliments.

    Do you think that would work?
     

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