Creepy Ex-Cooperating Teacher

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teacherrunner, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. teacherrunner

    teacherrunner Rookie

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    I recently graduated with my MAT degree and am currently waiting on my teaching license to become official in my state that I reside in. I finished my student teaching two weeks ago and I had an odd cooperating teacher. He's an older teacher and has been in the teaching profession for over thirty years. He was very controlling; out of a twelve week experience I was only able to solo-teach for two weeks yet he gave me scores that ranked me as exemplary. In addition, he would always put his two cents into my personal life. On my last day he gave me a personal gift and spent probably over $100 on me. This felt very odd. He consistently talked down to me and would say things like "if you were my daughter..." when referring to job searching, giving me advice about finances, or telling me how he would force me to take self defense classes as I'm an avid runner.

    Yesterday, I receive an email in my inbox asking me if he could give my personal information to his nephew who is younger than I am I'm sure for dating purposes. I felt as if this went way over the line and I have no idea how even to respond to this email other than the fact that I'm feeling very offended. His behavior is completely bizarre and out of line. I'm just starting off in my career and do not want to burn any bridges but I can't tolerate having someone violate my boundaries. Since I've left, I've received emails from him every single day and I really would like for it to stop. I hope someone can give me some type of advice.
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Will you ever have contact with this person again? If you respond at all I would say that you thank him for his help when you were a student teacher but you were advised not to give out personal information. That is the last contact I would have with him.
     
  4. teacherrunner

    teacherrunner Rookie

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    I probably won't have to contact him anymore. I wanted to attend my kids Christmas Recital but it's becoming pretty creepy. I'm worried about using him as a reference and that it will hurt my job prospects.
     
  5. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Nov 28, 2014

    Is he a teacher at your child's school?

    If so, you might want to consider contacting the P as a concerned parent - as the lines have become a bit blurred in this instance.
     
  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I think she meant the "kids" she student taught.
     
  7. teacherrunner

    teacherrunner Rookie

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    Oh yeah I'm not a parent. I'm referring to my students.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Unfortunately, you need to stay on good terms for reference purposes. I would tell him that you enjoyed the experience working in his classroom, but would prefer that matters between you stay professional.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    This is good advice.
    I'd keep any further contact cordial and professional.
     
  10. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    I don't know. Nothing about the former CT sounds overly creepy to me. My former CT gave me gifts when I completed my student teaching, too. Between the gift certificate and the various items, she probably spent over $100.

    And she gave me tons of career advice and asked me questions and made comments about my personal life. And she continued to reach out to me after my student teaching was completed.

    Perhaps the OP's CT is acting in a way that he sees as being supportive? If he were a woman, and acted in the exact same way, would there be a "creepy" component to the behavior?
    Sheilah
     
  11. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    I agree with Sheilah. Ask him not to share your personal contact information with anyone and try to maintain a cordial professional relationship. If you are receiving too many emails from him, let him know how busy you are and that is why you can only respond occasionally. I would go to the recital.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I would suggest this as well.

    To some this might not seems creepy, but I'm sure the OP feels uncomfortable and 'creeped out'. I would listen to that inner voice.

    As TeacherNY suggested, you can stay professional.
     
  13. TamaraF

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    Listen to your inner voice. Tell him you are not comfortable giving out personal information. Then feel free to not answer any emails from him again, unless they are completely necessary to your professional life.
    I'd go to the concert....but avoid him. Smile, walk away.
     
  14. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I agree that he's going over the line here! In my day, I've had a total of 8 master teachers/supervisors/coop teachers (CT)/college prgrm mentors or whatever you want to call them. There was one who was starting to get out of line, but thankfully, it started happening during my very last week of working w/ him, so thank God for that or else that would have been a terrible amt of weeks that I would have had to endure!

    I personally haven't had to keep in contact w/ ANY of my CTs for ref purposes, so don't feel obligated to stay in his good graces, etc., just to get a letter of rec.

    At the end of ea student teaching term, my univ gave us students the opp to grade our CT, so hopefully you got to do that in which I would say the truth. Despite that the bad one I had gave me good comments, I still wrote the truth in my eval of him, including that I don't think he should be a CT in the future. That was a question they asked me on the eval.

    Re: his daily emails, say you cannot respond &/or change your email if it's not too much trouble...simple as that.
     
  15. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Maybe it's just me, but I really don't see how this guy has done anything "over the line." You didn't say the nature of his daily emails. If he is being sexually suggestive or badgering you with very personal questions, than I will have to agree with you. If he's emailing you to see how you are doing with your job search, then he sounds like a nice man who's taking a genuine interest in your career.

    Why is it so terrible that he's thinking of setting you up with his nephew? If I was single and someone wanted to set me up with a guy, I don't know that I think of the person as "creepy." It's not like he's asking you out himself, right?

    Also, my CT got me an expensive gift and took me out to lunch on a Saturday. I never felt the least bit creeped out by it, but I understand that things can be different when it's male/female as opposed to two women. That's not necessarily the man's fault, though, if he's just trying to be kind.

    As for the emails, I would just ignore them. I can understand why don't want to tell him to leave you alone since you feel you need him as a reference, so ignoring them should allow him to take a hint.

    I'm not trying to discount your feelings and I agree about listening to your inner voice and avoiding contact with him if he makes you uncomfortable. I'm just saying that I didn't read anything in your post that screams "creepy" from my POV.
     
  16. Ms.Blank

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    It might not be creepy in the sense of being sexually forward, but it's weird...OP didn't ask to be set up with anyone. I HATE when people try to set me up...the whole situation is awkward (feeling obligated to give information, trying to politely decline, all of it!). If the OP isn't looking to date AND didn't ever mention wanting help finding a date, then it is unwanted, bottom line.

    I agree with some posters above. Just tell him that you were advised to decline personal information requests, and leave it at that.
     
  17. KinderCowgirl

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    I think that definitely crosses the line of professional-especially because he's someone who evaluates her. I would be uncomfortable with someone in a supervisory position asking that question. What if she took him up on it and it didn't work out-that could be held against her.

    OP the way you feel is the way you feel. Just because it wouldn't bother other people doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to your instincts. I would be honest and just say thanks but no thanks and stop replying in the future.
     
  18. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    But he's not her CT anymore. I honestly think if it were a woman suggesting a fix up with a nephew, not many people here would think anything of it. Because it's a man, it's different. Since he's older, he might not realize this.

    I agree with you, though, about the OP avoiding contact with him if it makes her uncomfortable. Absolutely. I'm just giving the guy the benefit of the doubt in terms of his intentions.
     
  19. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    He's not her CT anymore. He isn't an evaluater. Now he's just a colleague that probably thinks he's being friendly.
     
  20. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Even if the CT thinks he's just being friendly, OP's feelings toward the situation are still 100% valid. Just because he isn't trying to be creepy doesn't mean he isn't.
     
  21. mathteachertobe

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    I want to acknowledge that I think the OP should trust her instincts. Women are often encouraged to allow people to cross boundaries in an effort to seem "nice". If you are uncomfortable, by all means take steps to cut off all communication. I just wanted to suggest that what was described did not cross over into creepiness by my own standards.

    I have found the lack of connection with other adults to be one of my unexpected difficulties with teaching. As a new-ish teacher with decades of experience in other fields, I miss interacting with adults. I often seek out interactions with my colleagues over the course of the workday. That was the perspective I was thinking about the CT's behavior through.
     
  22. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I'm pretty sure that none of the responses here discounted the OPs feelings, and everyone pretty much unanomously agreed that she should trust her instincts.
     
  23. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    I agree about trusting your instincts. At this point, you're only tied to him as a professional contact. But I'm sure you know other teachers and administrators who could help you with a reference letter. What I would do is cut off your contact with him until you need him to be your reference -- at which point, ask him if he will be a professional reference for your application at such-and-such school.

    It's NOT normal to be in daily contact with someone who's your professional reference, so don't worry about "maintaining" a relationship. If anything, email him on holidays as a one-way conversation and leave it at that.

    When you get your first job, you won't need him anymore. You will make new professional contacts.
     
  24. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    No real advice. Only wanted to say that I understand how it is to have a CT be kind of weird after you leave.

    For me, my CT bought me a present as well, and that threw me off. It was a hugely nice gesture but I felt I didn't really deserve it and it was odd to me.

    Also after I left she attempted to sign up up for this pyramid scheme of selling some questionable product. I didn't appreciate that. Mostly I just let communication between her and me dissolve over time. I got much better recommendation at my next school anyway as I was the sole teacher and also from my methods professor.
     
  25. GTB4GT

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    although I have nothing to add to the original topic, this comment resonated with me. Like you, I came into the teaching profession later in life. My interaction with other adults is limited to a few short greetings before school starts and maybe 15 minutes in the teacher's lounge at lunch. It was/is quite the adjustment.

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.;)
     
  26. teacherrunner

    teacherrunner Rookie

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    I just wanted to say thank you all for the advice. I should have mentioned that I'm pretty fresh out of a break up from a long term relationship. Thanksgiving was incredibly challenging for me. I can't stand when people try to set me up with someone and find it quite offensive; it's almost like saying I can't find anyone and need help to do so. Obviously I'm choosing to be single at this point in my life. I have no idea where I will be living or teaching within the next several months. The entire experience was pretty awkward as he treated me like a child instead of a fellow educator. I'm so grateful to be done with this experience and have a job interview on Tuesday for a subbing position in my dream school district.
     
  27. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Honestly, what you have said here would probably shut down your former cooperating teacher. You've had a bad breakup and the mere thought of a blind or ANY kind of date turns your stomach. I hope you're faring much better and do well on that interview.
     
  28. Nate

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    If he's creeping you out, he's creeping you out, and that's all you need to know. However, it sounds more like a guy with no sense of boundaries than a guy who's trying to make you uncomfortable or threaten you. In my first year of teaching, my principal, who was usually grade-A professional, told me, "I know you're engaged, but let me know if you ever want me to set you up with my daughter". WAY over the line. People go into teaching because they love supporting young people, and as they reach the end of their career, young teachers start to fall into that category.

    Also, don't teachers get a stipend for taking on a student teacher? When I was student teaching (10-15 years ago now), it wasn't unusual for the CT to spend a portion of that stipend on a gift for the student teacher.
     
  29. tiki7719

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    Did you bring this to the attention of your teacher education field placement services? I think that may be a good idea just to give them a heads up so others aren't placed with him.
     
  30. teacherrunner

    teacherrunner Rookie

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    I haven't brought it up to them yet. I may fly off an email. I wish they allowed us to review cooperating teachers! I'm so glad I had prior teaching experience going into this program, otherwise I would be completely ill prepared to enter my own classroom.
     
  31. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Really? Is it that 'creepy'? Could you possibly be misreading his good intentions (maybe somewhat overly involved)?
     
  32. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I really hope there's more than is being presented in this topic, if you're thinking of taking steps to keep future student teachers out of that teacher's classroom. From what I can see... there's a teacher who handed reins over to a student teacher slowly, gave them two weeks of solo teaching time, and gave her a good rating (all normal... most teachers I know only got one solo week in a student teaching placement), there's a teacher that bought a gift for a student teacher (normal), an older adult trying to arrange a blind date for a young, single person with another young, single person (obnoxious, yet normal), and somebody who sees himself as a mentor keeping in touch with a mentee (normal).

    Your feelings are your feelings, and obviously there may be issues you aren't comfortable airing on this forum. If what you've presented in this topic is everything though, I'd consider contacting your university to be a step too far.
     
  33. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :yeahthat:
     
  34. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I agree 100%. There was nothing presented that is out of the normal.

    There are many things I wish others gave me advice about before I had to experience it on my own.

    Honestly, if you were my daughter, I would sign you up for self-defense classes, too! Hope you don't think that is creepy or are offended for reiterating the advice, but the world is dangerous and there are some REALLY creepy people out there like the guy in my area who is exposing people who are out walking. Surely, self-defense would be a good thing if he decided to take it to the next level.

    It really sounds like this is a caring person who wants the best for you. He is your mentor. He is mentoring.

    Now the date thing... he probably thinks highly of you which is why he would consider asking you if you might be interested in a date with his relative. As gr3 said, a bit obnoxious, but normal, especially considering his age.
     
  35. teacherrunner

    teacherrunner Rookie

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    It's not about even him in my opinion giving me bad vibes that I would let the university know. He barely let me teach at all for the 12 weeks that I was there. I had probably 1/4 of the time most people do. My supervisor even mentioned that his behavior was odd.
     
  36. teacherrunner

    teacherrunner Rookie

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    I also mentioned above that I just ended a serious relationship so the last thing I needed was unprofessionalism on Thanksgiving. My supervisor asked me if I wanted him to discuss the control issues with my CT and yes talking to me as if I'm his daughter is wrong. I have a dad and more importantly a dad who isn't a complete control freak! I'm an adult, not a child.
     
  37. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I wish you luck, OP, because if these issues ruffled your feathers, you are in for one heck of a ride. There will be many more and much worse issues than someone giving unwanted advice and controlling how you do your job.
     
  38. teacherrunner

    teacherrunner Rookie

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    I probably wouldn't like unprofessionalism in any sense because I've never acted like that in any environment. I don't mind people telling me what to do if it is work related not about my personal life. I taught in a very unhealthy environment for awhile and was in physical therapy for what a child decided to do to me when they were angry. I also had bosses who were unsupportive. You don't know my background or what I've been through professionally or personally.
     
  39. ShortTeach

    ShortTeach Rookie

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    I thought it was customary to give student teachers small gifts at the time of their completion. My teacher has bought me a couple small things like a school t-shirt and tickets to our school tailgate for football. I never saw this as creepy, but just that he was trying to make me feel included in the school. I'm planning on getting him a small gift to thank him for everything he's done for me these past 16 weeks. I've also given small gifts like candles to teachers I've observed over the years and I hope it's never been interpreted as creepy.

    I do think two weeks of solo teaching is little. I think I've done about 10 weeks, but we do 16 weeks and I know a lot of schools only do 12. My teacher also had zero problems letting me take the reigns and some people may see it as too much freedom.

    Trying to fix you up on a date is a little inappropriate, but you could just politely decline and move on. I'm sure he'll understand and it won't be an issue again. I doubt he was trying to make you uncomfortable.
     
  40. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    I agree that it's a big deal to report his behavior, and it's something you should think carefully about. He may be prevented from having another student teacher/possible stipend in the future.

    But if you truly feel uncomfortable and upset, preventing him from making another student teacher feel that way may be a good thing.

    Coming from personal experience, I had a mentor teacher who was very unprofessional, tried to get me to side with her against the school's administration, and just did strange things in the classroom that I didn't agree with. It was a very uncomfortable situation. I didn't learn much from her except how not to behave as a teacher. Ultimately, I didn't report her because I felt bad (later found out she was bipolar, don't think she teaches anymore), but I would have also felt bad knowing she subjected any other student teacher to the same ridiculousness.

    You know better than any of us what your experience was like. It's a shame you can't just rate him as a mentor without making it a "report"... at least that's what it sounds like. If you did report this, the university would probably look into his record of working with other student teachers, and look into how he helped you academically. Your issues, since they arguably weren't outright offensive behaviors, might be categorized as "personality differences" and tossed aside. But if he had more than one person complaining about him, including your supervisor, that's another story. (I used to be part of a university committee that dealt with student complaints, and they tended to side with mentor teachers.)
     
  41. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Many, many, many cooperating teachers struggle when it comes to handing their classrooms over to inexperienced, untested student teachers. It's probably the number one complaint about cooperating teachers, at least from what I've seen and read here. I even experienced some of that when I student taught; I was allowed to teach more than many of my university classmates, but I didn't have any freedom to do "housekeeping" type tasks like taking attendance or entering grades.

    I think that this type of behavior is unfortunate and common. I don't find it creepy.

    I think that you should ignore his email if it makes you uncomfortable. If he persists and escalates, then you can report him to your university supervisor. Based on what you've written here, however, I think that a report at this point is premature.

    Is it that you just don't like the guy so you're assigning bad intentions to his actions?
     

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