I am a new fifth grade teacher at a K-8 school and I have an embarrassing problem-- the middle school aged boys keep hitting on me. I will walk by a group of them in the hall and one of them will whistle, cat call, or make a semi-obsecene comment at me! I don't really know how to react because I rarely know which boy is guilty. When things like that happen outside of school I either play deaf, or sometimes answer with an equally obscene comment. However, as a teacher, I am at a loss. I know that I am young (easily the youngest teacher at the school) so I always dress very professionally and am so careful about how I present myself.
My questions is, how do I respond to this in a way that will end all of this and cause them to respect me as a teacher?
You can't ignore it. If you don't know who the student is, turn to the group and give them all a stern warning that doesn't leave any doubt in their minds that you don't welcome the inappropriate comments.
Walk the whole group up to admin. Say what you would normally say outside of school, minus any expletives and make it take a few mintues. (Hopefully this will make them late where they are going and force them to explain themselves.) Just rip into them about respect, proper "manly" behavior, the formality of the teacher/student relationship, the rudeness, the degradation, and the thousand ways that it's just plain wrong. Or follow them where they are going, if you have time, and report the behavior (in a stage whisper) to the teacher to whose room they are reporting. Be a stone cold witch, as needed!
Your screen name "Barbie Teacher" immediately conjures up an image... and it's not that of a professional, stern diciplinarian. I wonder if on some level you're projecting that same not-quite-an adult image to these kids?
Or your real name could be Barbie or you could collect them or something and I could be totally off base. If so, I apologize.
Don't be surprized if the kids do know your first name. At most schools I've been at I knew all my teachers's first and last name. If it wasn't posted above the door, it was on paperwork on the teacher's desk, or another adult staff member used first names within earshot of kids. I always remembered to call my teachers by first name, but that's just how I was raised.
But I would talk to the administration, and if possible the class and explain the inappropriate actions the students are taking....also you might want to avoid making semi-obsene comments back, being the adult it doesn't look good for you.