Question on teacher behavior

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sine Sinusoidal, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. Sine Sinusoidal

    Sine Sinusoidal Rookie

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    Is there a code of conduct for how teachers should act around teens? Not the typical code of conduct. I think things have changed since I was in school. However, where is the line drawn with teachers? What’s considered compassion and what’s considered too far?

    I had a teacher say she loved me when I was a student but I don’t think I’d be comfortable saying that.

    I had a teacher tell me I was special and that we had a special bond. Now days I think that could be considered grooming.

    What if a student is always in your class before or after school? Almost daily. How do you handle that?

    What gifts are you allowed to take from a student? How do you say no without hurting them?

    Also, I have seen some odd behavior with other teachers. I’m not sure if it’s normal or not and I don’t want to be a whistleblower if it’s innocent.

    I don’t want to be cold as a teacher but I don’t want to send the wrong message.
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I personally err toward professional. I'm not your friend, I'm not your parental figure anymore than the nature of 1st grade causes, I'm not your kindred mentor. I'm your teacher.

    That said, I think there are many close relationships that can still occur in that professional realm. I remember hanging out in a few teachers' classrooms before/afterschool. I wasn't even particularly close to them. They were just cool, nice teachers and we had fun hanging out in their classrooms. I'm not sure exactly where the line is, but I think many can spot when someone has crossed the line.

    I had a teacher in high school who was also my church leader's wife. She lived down the block, I knew her. She gave me a big hug at the beginning of class the day after my grandmother died. Maybe crossing a line? I don't know, but we had a relationship that existed outside of the teacher relationship.

    I think gifts is something that is overly fretted. Again, not sure where the line is but I know it when I see it, but teacher gifts seems to be one of those things that still happens without necessarily meaning anything not kosher.
     
  4. Sine Sinusoidal

    Sine Sinusoidal Rookie

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    How do we differentiate close teacher student relationships from grooming? I’ve noticed a teacher who is extremely close to a student but I don’t want to say anything because I’m not sure if they are close or if it something to report.

    For instance- the student told me that that the teacher told her she was attracted to her. I was shocked. But the student said the teacher clarified she meant that she likes being around her.... just not sure. Was it a slip up or testing the waters?
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Have you ran any of this past admin? They may have some guidance or strong feelings about what comes next. If in doubt, better to share and let someone else figure out what is OK, what is not. My rule is that if it makes me uncomfortable, it has probably crossed a boundary. Always err on the side of protecting the child.
     
  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I agree, if it doesn't seem right, pass it on to those above you.
     
  7. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I agree with the above two respondents because if you suspect something and don’t report it, then you can get into BIG legal trouble and potentially lose your teaching license as you are a mandated reporter.
     
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  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I was "eh" about your first post. But when you wrote "attracted," that got my attention. No way is that appropriate and you should mention your concerns to someone in admin.

    I tell my students I love them. Even the ones I don't. I will often have a student blurt out in class "I love you Ms. Second!" and I will return either an enthusiastic or sarcastic "I love you too." Tone depends on the student's behavior that day :)
     
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  9. Sine Sinusoidal

    Sine Sinusoidal Rookie

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    I think it’s ok when you tell all your students but not just one student. I spoke to this particular student further.

    She said the teacher tells her that they have a special bond and she goes in there every day and they spend a lot of time alone together. She’s the only student there and the only student this teacher has ever said I love you to. She started telling her she loves her when the girl was feeling vulnerable and shared a secret with the teacher.

    She said the teacher has made comments like everyone wants to feel wanted... out of the blue.

    She’s also written this teacher a poem, given her flowers, and made her an mp3 of all love songs. And the teacher hasn’t put a stop to it.

    It sounds like grooming to me. If anything it’s inappropriate favoritism.

    I don’t think this student realizes how inappropriate this is and she thinks it’s ok.

    I’m going to email the administrators tomorrow. I think I have enough to go by.
     
  10. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Companion

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    Email admin right now. Call admin now if you have their personal number and follow-up with an email. Don't wait until tomorrow. This is wildly inappropriate and if this is what your student shared with you, there is is a likelihood that a lot more is happening that you don't know about.

    Protect the student, and protect yourself and your career by not waiting until tomorrow.
     
  11. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    I can't speak to your particular school's rules of conduct, and know nothing about the legalities involved, but I can say that the way to deal with "improper" student interactions such as flirting is to downplay it. When students tell me that they would like to be my girlfriend, I say that I'm married. I guess you can say you're in a relationship.

    The worst situation I was in was at a junior high where I was surrounded by girls and one actually grabbed my junk. I put a textbook down there, and walked away.

    The point being that you really have to downplay that stuff. Teenage girls will be teenage girls (or maybe boys in your case), and you have to let them know as kindly and gently as possible that this isn't going to happen. Realize that to them, this is a big and bold move, and that rejection is going to hurt them. You don't want to hurt students, but you also have to keep things professional.

    The latest example is when a 14 year old girl came to ask me if I like her 14 year old friend's breasts because her friend has a crush on me. I said I haven't really noticed, and then pivoted by asking her if she had done her homework.

    That wall of professionalism is what you need to maintain.

    I am curious though. Many here have said to contact the administration. What's that going to do? It seems like that's making things worse. They're just kids who are discovering their sexuality, and teachers are oftentimes like boy band members. We're safe to flirt with because we can't actually do anything, but it is learning how to deal with those hormones in a safe relationship that isn't going to involve actual sex.
     
  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Your “I love you” comments could be misconstrued even though you mean no harm. I would be very careful if I were you.
     
  13. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    Yes, that's just asking for trouble.
     
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  14. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I suspect that you have misread the post. This isn't the student coming on to the teacher, but the teacher apparently playing the aggressor:
    Could the student be making this up? Of course. Is it good for either student or teacher for this story line to be spread around the school? Absolutely not.

    If the teacher is blameless, and the student has a fantasy in her head, the student needs help sooner rather than later, and the teacher deserves to be cleared of any suspicion of wrong-doing. However, one doesn't have to do much research to find cases where the teacher does isolate the student, create the fantasy, build the idea that teacher and student are destined for each other, when, in fact, the student is not mature enough to deal with such a situation. An investigation will find the facts, and help the student, if this is their fantasy. But should this be a predatory teacher, not a student's fantasy, the child needs protection.

    By taking it to admin, or by reporting annonomosly to Child Protective Services, the wheels have been put into motion to find the truth. Most administrators will be happy to support the person who is bringing the matter for investigation, since it is not easy to do. Some teacher peers will feel that a blind eye is the best course of action, mistakenly believing that teachers should protect teachers. However, there are enough accounts of teachers taking advantage of their students to prove that not all teachers have impeccable morals and the child's best interest at heart. Broken individuals exist in all professions, and teachers, one of the most trusted professionals, can be just as broken as anyone else.

    Child Protective Services seeks truth for the sake of the child. To ignore our duty to be a mandatory reporter speaks volumes about our own convictions that we are there to protect the children. This may be a child's fantasy, in which case the teacher will be vindicated. But if it isn't just a child's fantasy, there is nothing good that can come from turning a blind eye instead of seeking the truth. This isn't just my opinion - it is the law.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
  15. Belch

    Belch Companion

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    Ahh!!! Yes, well that is a different matter entirely.

    Report away!!!!
     
  16. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    If you suspect, then report!
     
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  17. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    The reason why what you do is okay, and why many others aren't, is the way you say it. You tell the entire group of students "I love you". That is much different than singling out a student privately and saying or writing "I love you". The first shows your love for your class, and the second...well..a bit scary.
     
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  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Remember, it is not enough just to contact your principal. You MUST contact CPS and file a report as soon as possible... If your claim turns out to be founded and an investigation reveals that you knew in advance, then you could potentialy go to prison for up to six months. Seriously, don’t wait.
     
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  19. Sine Sinusoidal

    Sine Sinusoidal Rookie

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    Thank you for your input. It’s been very helpful. I’ve contacted the administrators and we are meeting in the morning.
     
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  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Please keep us posted.
     
  21. Sine Sinusoidal

    Sine Sinusoidal Rookie

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    Just completed the discussion with the student and admin. She claims that nothing sexual has ever happened and that the relationship is platonic. However, a few more details emerged and it sounds like grooming. Admin is taking action immediately.

    Thanks for the help.
     

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