A weird question/situation...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by 5-guy-7, May 16, 2015.

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  1. 5-guy-7

    5-guy-7 New Member

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    May 16, 2015

    This is my first year as a teacher in 5th grade. It has gone splendidly (I'm in my mid-twenties.) Anyway, that’s not even an issue.

    There is a student in my class who is exceptionally smart, determined, and charming. She is a role model in all areas of her life. She reminds me of myself at that age, the high-achiever. It's been great watching her grown and enjoy the year. I teach reading and writing, so she (among other students) participate in a lunchtime writer’s group for the higher-level kids, and it's been a blast. We swap stories, talk, laugh, etc. I care about all my students, of course, but she is just a fantastic person to be around.

    Now the end of the school year is fast approaching. I am incredibly nervous right now, borderline depressed, because I fear what will happen after it ends. I do NOT want her to go off to middle school and never talk to me again, because she is one of a kind and I’d like to continue being part of her life as more than just "the teacher." I have met and spoken with her parents many times over the year, but I don’t know how to proceed. Do I tell her that I want to keep in touch, that once she leaves my class she should try and consider me more a friend/mentor than teacher? Or talk to her parents and let them know I want to continue a dialogue after school ends? Ugh I’m seriously freaking out.

    I don’t even know what kind of advice anyone can give. I just needed to vent. Tell someone. Let it out. Okay.

    /rant.

    (Oh, and for anyone who wants to shoot their mind into the gutter, there is absolutely nothing--repeat NOTHING--inappropriate about our relationship. My feelings might come off a bit strong here, but trust me on that. She is a wonderful young woman and I guess I feel somewhat like a distant older brother.)
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    She's your student, not your friend. Don't do anything to try and keep in contact with her that you aren't going to do with every other student in your classroom. Give all of them a "standing invite" to come visit when they are in the building, and let them all know you'd be happy to receive invitations to sports games, concerts, etc. If she needs you as a mentor, she'll contact you, but based on your description, she will naturally move on to middle school, adjust beautifully, and never see you again except in passing... and that's a good thing. It means she's happy, well-adjusted, and doing well. If any of your kids need mentors, it will be the kids who were always kind of a pain in the butt in your class.
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Also... your final disclaimer aside... don't contact the parents about this. Like... ever. I believe you that your intentions are fully pure, but it comes across really creepy. The fact that you feel this strongly about keeping in contact with a student who, based on your description, is going to adjust beautifully without you... yeah...
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Yes, this. Exactly this.
     
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I thought it seemed a little odd (how strong your feelings are for this student) as I was reading your post, even thinking you were female the whole time... until I got to the last line. Knowing that you're male, I think it's way too risky. Even if your intentions are good, you never know what you might be accused of. Move on and be satisfied that you played an important role in her life this year.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Male teachers must be beyond careful with students, but especially with female students. This is a simple truth that you should lead your teacher life by. If you don't have children of your own yet, you may not realize that you do seem somewhat obsessive, and that is never a good thing.
     
  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    This is exactly right. One of the perks of this job is that we can truly care about our students, but we need to let them go. This is especially true for a male teacher and female student. You can't even send a friend request on FB.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Yeah... speaking as a father of a little girl, if I read something like this written about my daughter (particularly by a male teacher), I'd be in the principal's office the next day, demanding your access to my child be immediately and permanently cut off. The fact that she's a 5th grader makes it worse, since that's right around the time where somebody with impure intentions would start targeting a child.
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sounds like you clearly have a favorite student. You wish to keep in touch because you don't want it to end. It sounds like you are looking out more for your best interest than hers. The fact that you feel depressed that she is leaving is not a good sign. You sound too close to one individual student even if your intentions might be good.

    I agree that having something such as a group invite back to the class is fine. Singling her out is unprofessional. Get ready for your next class year and you'll find a whole new group of students to care about.
     
  11. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    The idea that this is leaving you "anxious" and "borderline depressed" is disturbing. Yes, I have been sad to see students that I've had for 3 years leave and go to high school, I've cried at graduations, etc. But it does not leave me stressed and depressed on a Saturday afternoon. I would see a counselor about this kind of feeling.
     
  12. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    May 16, 2015

    Wrong in so many ways.
     
  13. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    This, a thousand times this.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    She's 10. She does not need, or want, you as a friend.
     
  15. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    May 16, 2015

    I know of two male teachers; one first-year and young; other an ex-principal reassigned to the classroom. The first-year was fired the day after he gave two girls a ride home after school (missed bus). The ex-principal was arrested on campus - I happened to be in the office when sheriffs handcuffed him - because three girls, his favorites, made up a story he touched them after school as he was running a tutor session. I kept warning him not to have closed-door sessions after school in his room but he remarked, "I know what I'm doing." Later at trial the girls admitted fabricating the story because they didn't like him any more. He never came back to the district.

    As others have suggested your job is be "friendly" not their friend.
     
  16. El sol

    El sol Rookie

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    May 16, 2015

    Weird.

    I usually look forward to vacations away from students and they probably feel the same way, specially those transitioning to another school. Of course there will be nostalgic periods of time for both, which shouldn't last that long. Keeping in touch is a courtesy.

    Maybe because it is your first year you feel different emotions. But that obsession-like description of that particular student screams for help. Enjoy the Summer, away from anything school-related, delete this thread, seek professional help, talk to people close to you about those feelings.

    "She is a wonderful young woman..." Weird. :confused:

    Not to beat the dead horse here, but there were so many red flags in your post. For your benefit, I hope you don't act on those feelings and do seek the help that you need. Don't make the evening news please.
     
  17. 5-guy-7

    5-guy-7 New Member

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    Okay, it seems I need to clarify a few things. First, I know I won't single her out in any way that's creepy, nor do I ever have "closed door" meetings with her or any student. I know I sounded a bit obsessive, and I know that's not good. Perhaps I went a bit overboard in my first post. I'm not speaking about getting alone with this child and "hanging out."

    I do have to complain about one thing. If I had met this child's parents somewhere (sporting event, supermarket, whatever) and struck up a conversation, we might become friends. If we shared many same interests, we might become close so that I'd be considered a family friend. I know this because several of my own friends have done this. Heck, one of my own very good friends is a "friend of the family."

    This would be perfectly acceptable, but simply because my first introduction to this family was as a teacher that option is off the table? I can certainly understand DURING the school year, and I have maintained nothing but a teacher relationship heretofore. But now, I'm forbidden to interact with people I like simply because I met them first as a "teacher?"

    Sometimes society confuses me.
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This entire post came across as creepy. Please let it and her go.
     
  19. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    The problem is that you don't seem to want to maintain a relationship with the parents. You want to maintain a relationship with the child. That's the inappropriate part of it.
     
  20. 5-guy-7

    5-guy-7 New Member

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    Ah. I understand. No, the whole point is that I really have grown to like not only the child, but her parents as well. We have many similar interests. I can imagine what you're picturing--me stalking this girl like a pervert--and that's sooooo not what I'm talking about.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Your first post wasn't about becoming friends with the student's parents. It is as about continuing a relationship with a student and yes, it came off as a bit more intimate than is advisable.

    I'm sure you made a difference for your students this year and they,in turn, made a difference in your year. Be thankful for the time you shared. And move on-as they will.
     
  22. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If you and this girl's dad run into each other at a baseball game this summer, become regular drinking buddies, and occasionally go over to their house for dinner, nobody would bat an eye. If you and her mom happen to both be in a book club and become friends, nobody would bat an eye.

    If you try to make friends with a ten year old that you are feeling depressed over not seeing anymore, you'll get eyes batted. Lots of them.
     
  23. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    That wasn't made clear in your first post. In regards to her parents, you only mentioned that you had spoken to them a few times over the course of the year. The remainder of you post was all about the girl.

    If you really have a personal relationship with either parent, then I don't see it being a problem that you keep in touch with the girl as part of that relationship with the parent. I see a huge problem, though, if you try to force a relationship with the parents simply to maintain one with the girl.
     
  24. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nervous, depressed, freaking out and fearful? You are having some real issues here with boundaries :2cents:l
     
  25. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Our male family friends do not display this kind of interest in our daughter. Nor would they really be allowed a "mentor" relationship with her.
     
  26. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Uh, the very clear difference is that in your first question you expressed an interest in being friends with THE GIRL. In your second, you mention the PARENTS. You can be friends with adults, not children. I don't understand how you don't see the disparity. It is clear that your judgement in clouded, which indicates you need help.
     
  27. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I can understand how and why you feel "close" to a particular female student. You kinda feel like a "big brother." You want to protect her. You don't want to let her go somewhere where she could be hurt and you won't be there to shield her from it. While these sentiments are noble, what is lost here is that you have been her teacher. Could you have had friendly conversations with her? Sure! Can you be friends with her? NO! There is a professional line that you just cannot cross unless you're willing to sacrifice your career over your infatuation. What also bothered me about your initial post was the depression and anxiety. You should consider talking to a professional about that.
     
  28. Switch

    Switch Rookie

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    Outrageous. Are you serious? i am so disturbed by this post and I think you need to resign, get distance and reexamine your motive for working with kids. As a parent I would call the police if a teacher was trying to be friends with my 11 year old daughter.
     
  29. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    You really should not make posts like this, and you need to let your fascination with this girl go. It sounds very unhealthy and honestly makes me a little worried for the kids in your class. Please seek help.
     
  30. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    The title is correct. This is a weird situation.

    Please distance yourself from this child and her family. Perhaps the distance will allow you to see what the readers of this thread see.

    Please seek help. I think it's warranted here.
     
  31. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    The feelings that you expressed about your female student in your initial post are inappropriate and disturbing. Based on what I read in post #1, I would not recommend that you try to befriend her parents. Also, your second post did not ease my mind and make me think "oh misunderstood original post."

    If I could, I would send this thread to your principal and the police. Please seek help.

    For the record, I would feel the same if you were a female teacher, and regardless if student was a male / female.
     
  32. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    May 17, 2015

    I have been teaching 40+ years. I have had my share of children that I have been fond of. I have had some students (and parents) keep in touch with me over the years. I have been invited to graduations, concerts, sporting events, birthday parties, etc. Some students have come back to the school to say hi.

    I have NEVER initiated the contact. Eventually, all the children moved on, to be replaced by others. Other posters are telling you that it is wrong for you to initiate further contact with this child. She does not share your infatuation. Please be VERY careful.
     
  33. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    :yeahthat:

    I'm on year 22, and I do often click more with some kids than others. However, I absolutely never initiate any kind of non-school contact with them outside of school. I also live in the same small town where I grew up, so I even know most of the parents.

    Sometimes they do return and visit. Sometimes I become friends with them on Facebook years later. (They still initiate that, by the way.). I have become good friends with several former students over the years, but it's after they are adults and we have reasons to be around one another. Keep in mind that we are all between 30-45 now.

    You're still young. Set boundaries. Learn the professional distance. Don't risk your career.
     
  34. 5-guy-7

    5-guy-7 New Member

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    Okay. Woa. Time for a breather. It's a new day and as I reread my first post, yes, I come across way too strongly. I admit that and I apologize. Obviously the posts in this thread make it clear to me that I need to step back and gain some perspective, which I will attempt to do, and not pursue further contact, which I will not. But don't for a second think that my intentions are anything but positive here.

    I also apologize if I've offended anyone.

    Just for the record:
    *my students' reading test scores improved more than any 5th grade class in the school; I was second in language; my statewide scores were among the top 3 in our building;
    *at least four parents have requested me as their child's teacher next year;
    *nearly half a dozen students (and three parents--including the family in question) have told me I'm the best teacher they've ever had;
    *My classroom was used as a model to other first-year teachers.

    I am a darn good teacher. I am not going to jeopardize anything; I was simply asking a question. Just calm down, people. It's sad that this is the kind of society we live in, where the worst is always assumed.
     
  35. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I don't think anyone is thinking the worst about you. They are just cautioning you about how today's society is. Gone are the days when teachers could cultivate relationships outside the classroom.

    Congratulations on a successful school year!
     
  36. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    If you think it is brutal here, you should see what parents and the public at large can create. You are defensive, but you are missing the REALLY big picture - teachers DO cross lines, and they do it more frequently than any of us would care to admit. When you are a parent, you may see this through different eyes. The first bit of advice you received was to back off and never give anyone any reason to come after you or your license. Words have meanings, and if you don't use them wisely, people will get the wrong idea, or, recognize something that you may not see yet. You are a male teacher - accept that in some matters you will always be under closer scrutiny. While I am happy for your success, I would suggest that you write questions like the one you posted on a piece of paper, put it away for the night, and read it in the light of day a day later, and see if you come across as inappropriate. Had you done that, you would not have an entire thread that you are assuming is bashing. Honestly, I consider it some of the best advice you will ever receive. :2cents:
     
  37. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    May 17, 2015

    I'm gonna play devil's advocate a little bit here. While I agree, I read the post and my first impression was that it was very strongly felt and was questionable, I also have had students that I wanted to stay in touch with (although I will not be initiating it). I even had a student this year that I was feeling a little bummed about leaving because I had invested so much time into his success and I just hoped he would stay in touch and let me know how he was doing in school. However, I know better than to make any attempts on my side, and I know that all my kiddos will move on and I'll have a new batch of them to put my efforts into. This is my first year too, so these kids I have now are extra special to me anyway. And now that this is the end of the year, I am ready for them to go (although I will miss them)!

    So if that is how you are feeling, I can understand and relate. What concerns me a bit is being upset about it to the point where you feel depressed. That you want to be in touch as more than "just the teacher". Just remember this is a student/teacher relationship, and while your intentions may be good, others won't see them as that. Don't ask this student to stay in touch with you.

    I have asked all my kids to come back and visit me. But....in my classroom, in a school setting, so that I can simply give them a pat on the back and ask them how it's going. And that is it.

    :2cents: :
     
  38. Switch

    Switch Rookie

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    May 17, 2015

    I think you need to quit blaming society for why it doesn't support your bad judgment. There are countless reasons why even in so called perfect situations. You sound lonely and like you need adult friendships. There are boundaries and they exist to protect everyone involved, including you. You have been putting your needs before everyone by encroaching on this little girls privacy and personal Right to space.

    It is unfair to her to have to make that call about what is appropriate or not given that you are an adult and she is not. There is a power differential as soon as you assume the front of the classroom. Just like there are in many other teacher student situations that sadly you are unfamiliar with. It troubles me that being a good teacher is based only on test scores and not on your own ability to instinctually know what is best for your student- their emotional safety and well being is the only factor to consider. I am shocked. You knew it was a weird situation and you are conflicted because you know what you were doing is wrong- end of story. Refer back to your teacher handbook.
     
  39. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    May 17, 2015

    It was a blessing in disguise that you came into the forums and asked those questions. Notice how many of us responded by suggesting you keep a professional distance from your students. Now, that doesn't mean you have to become a robot and show no emotions. Love and care for all your students. Next year, you will have a brand new set of kids to care for and love.

    And just as an aside, I have had former students friend-request me and I have declined them all. For me, there is a boundary broken when a teacher becomes "friends" on social media. Our "relationship" toward students, if one should call it that, is the teacher-student relationship. You are their teacher. You can know things about them and get to know even more about them as the year goes by. Bond with them but you're not gonna be friends with them......

    I've had a female student tell me in front of class that I was her friend. I immediately shot back, "I'm not your friend." Then, I said, "By definition, your friends are cool. However, I am a teacher and that makes me not cool. That means, since I'm not cool, I'm not your friend." :lol:
     
  40. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    May 17, 2015

    As a teacher that belongs to a specific minority group, I develop special relationships with some of my students who belong to the same minority group. So I completely understand the bond that can develop between teacher and student that nobody else understands.

    One of the things I'll mention is to make sure that you have plenty of adult relationships as well. None of the teachers on my campus are a member of the minority group, so that bond can't be developed with them. As a result, I get a lot of satisfaction from developing those relationships with students. But when I rely on students for that, it's time for me to seek out adults who I can form those relationships with.
     
  41. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    May 17, 2015

    Sorry (notsorry) but if you were to even mention in real life how you were really going to miss "Susie", or how you wished "Susie" wasn't going to middle school, or you wished you could see "Susie" again, even ONCE off-handedly and completely innocently, in passing, or as fondly remembering her, ALL IT WOULD TAKE is for ONE person to raise one eyebrow and start whispering to someone else. Rumors fly, and all of a sudden you are the creepy guy NO ONE wants for a teacher.

    Test scores be damned.

    Completely innocent people are vilified in the court of public opinion every day. Social media makes this VERY easy.

    It's not time for US to take a breather. It's time for you to examine what made you post the original post in the first place. No amount of "wait, that's not what I meant" can take it back-not here and ESPECIALLY not in real life.

    Not when you're dealing with young children. :2cents:
     
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