A persistent hugger

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Sep 10, 2014

    I have a female 6th grade student who hugs me after class every day. Even toward the end of the day, between 6th and 7th periods, as she passes my room and finds me standing in the hallway, she comes up to me and hugs me. I just accept the hug and go on. I never initiate it and don't look for them, but, if she says bye-bye and opens her arms up, it's a warm hug and that's it. Question is..... What should I make of this?

    Small edit here: I asked other teachers near me and she doesn't hug them (2 females and 1 male).
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I would stop it immediately.
     
  4. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Why is that and how do I do that without hurt feelings?
     
  5. a.guillermo

    a.guillermo Rookie

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    I would stop that because that could very very very easily turn into a sexual lawsuit. All she would need to say that that the teacher always hugs me....s/he always seems eager to touch me.... anything like that.

    How to avoid hurt feelings? Simply say that it is inappropriate for school, and there should be no physical contact between teacher and student. Perhaps honesty is the best policy here?
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    For the exact same reason a.guillermo gave. You're a male teacher. This is a female student. She doesn't do it to any other teacher. I would nip this in the bud before it comes back to bite you. Not saying that it will, but it's better to be on the safe side.
     
  7. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I don't let kids hug me or touch me. When they do without me being able to stop them in time, I let them know not to touch me. I had this same "policy" when I taught MS.
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 10, 2014

    I had a student (9th grader, immature, but very sweet, no behavioral issues) who always wanted to hug me. I allow shoulder to shoulder hugs, these are barely hugs, but usually I just open my arms and say "air hug". This kid would hug other teachers, as well, but when he snuk up to me, or hugged me so quickly I didn't have time to back off, I kinda freaked.
    I had to tell him on numerous occasions that I prefer him or anyone not to hug me at all, and when he still acted like he didn't get it, I had to very firmly tell him that it is inappropriate and I feel uncomfortable and he needs to respect it.
    He stopped, he understood and we still have a great relationship, and he never tries to hug me.

    It's better for the kid to have hurt feelings than someone accusing you of inappropriately touching a child. Especially if it's the opposite sex.
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Also since this is a 6th grader you can use that to your advantage. Tell her that while hugging may have been appropriate for teachers in Elementary, she is in Middle School now and there are different expectations of appropriate behavior. When you place the blame on the promotion process to Middle School and the new maturity level she should attain, it will result in less hurt feelings.

    You can tell her that you can't hug her anymore but you'd be glad to give her a high five or something.
     
  10. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    That's so sad to hear but I agree with what you say. To me, it's just a hug. But I can only imagine how much trouble I would get into if I don't stop it. I almost went to the AP for advice on this and I guess she would say the same thing?
     
  11. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    I think it depends on your demographic. A lot of the students in my school are low income and for many of them, the teacher is the only adult they see and interact with from the time they get up until the time they go to bed. We had a teacher at our school refuse to accept hugs her first year and we all thought it was bizarre. We never initiate, but if the kids initiate, all the teachers at my school accept. We try to make sure there is another adult within viewing distance when it happens (which isn't tough considering there's a 10 to 1 student to adult ratio in the building).
    If our demographic were different, and there were more kids with steady home lives, it might be different.

    Try to talk to her in a roundabout way and find out why. If it's she doesn't know it's inappropriate, stop it. If she's just needing some attention because there's nothing at home, do what feels right.
     
  12. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I teach in a low-income school system. High free/reduced lunch, a bunch of kids from broken homes..... The city is generally considered a high poverty town where the only thing happening is what goes on during school.

    I really love my school kids and want them to know they are safe with me. The teachers commented that, "maybe she just likes you." She has commented that she loves math and she is a high achiever.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    kellzy, thanks for raising a valid point; Pi, thanks for wanting to do right by your students.

    It sounds like other teachers at the school think that this isn't a big deal. I think I might confirm that with the AP - you could ask whether it's expected that teachers reciprocate students' hugs, or whether the AP thinks that unwise. If the latter, then you might try greeting your students at the door each day with a handshake - after explaining to them what a handshake is for (not just for introductions, a handshake among friends serves to reinforce a connection in settings where high-fiving and hugs aren't quite the done thing). A good handshake is a fine life skill to have, in my opinion.

    Another possibility is to teach a slightly offbeat hand signal either to this student or to the class. One that I quite like is "Toaster". Each of two participants makes a fist of the right hand, thumb on top, and bumping their right-hand knuckles together: so far this looks like a standard celebration gesture, but what makes it useful here is that, when one participant says, "Toaster!", both make a BING sound and pop their thumbs straight up. The little bit of silliness is part of the connection-making.
     
  14. MsMongoose

    MsMongoose Companion

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    I really like the "toaster" idea.
     
  15. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I teach in Baltimore - inner-city, high-poverty. I also teach older kids, secondary (grades 6-12), like the OP. No child is touching me in this day and age with everyone having a phone camera. Not to mention, children will lie.

    But someone else can take that chance if they want.
     
  16. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Well, I talked about this to the AP this morning. She gave me the "well... this really needs to stop" look. AP said that the student is still immature (wears the big hair bows while other 6th grade girls left them behind).

    One thing she told me to do was to create a "barrier" when the end of class occurs (i.e., go behind my desk as the class leaves and just shoo her along). Also, I'm in the process of changing seats (the hugging student sits in front and is the closest student to me where I stand). I guess I can portray this as putting her near students who need her help. That way, she is closer to the door and farther away from me. :D
     
  17. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    There are plenty of ways to bond without hugging. I like the idea of some "special" high five or other hand gesture.
     
  18. a.guillermo

    a.guillermo Rookie

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    Like I said before, I would get out of that situation. There are many non-blunt way of making that happen, naturally. I like the toaster idea; that seems unique.
     
  19. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    And another reason I love teaching k-5 children. Hugs are part of my life. Some need them, some don't. They hug me. I could no more refuse a 6 or 7 year old a hug they reach for than I could refuse to breathe for a day. AND I DON'T care what some lawyer or anyone else has to say. When I hear that daddy was mean to mommy and is in jail or mom took too many drugs and is in jail I realize children live lives many of us could not even imagine. And hugging is bad..........:dizzy:
     
  20. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I agree. I also agree it's a bit different with a male teacher and a middle school student, but I can't imagine telling my 3rd/4th graders they couldn't hug me. I don't have a big all the time huggers, but here and there they'll look for a hug, which many of them don't get at home. It's sad that the world has come to this, but I understand why most people here feel differently.
     
  21. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    You are so naive. STOP it now. If someone is going by your door, and she sees both of you in an embrace without anyone else around, she is going to notify the office or the counselor. I know I would. :eek:hmy:
     
  22. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    FYI, the girl who hugs me is the daughter of the principal's pastor at church. So would this affect how I should handle it? You bet! Even the AP said she would think about this herself before coming up with a solution.
     
  23. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Sep 15, 2014

    And another thing. I teach in a small district and have taught literally hundreds (easily over a thousand now) kids and when they come to visit me(male and female) whether middle school, HS age or even now married with kids I usually get/give a hug. It must be a cultural thing here.
     

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