Gender Roles for Teachers (Double Standard?)

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by cornflakes, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. cornflakes

    cornflakes Rookie

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    I have noticed that if male (straight) teachers interact / play with the boys, nothing much is made of it.
    If the male (straight) teacher interacts / plays with the girls, there is more pressure of "inappropriateness" looming right around the corner. Why this double-standard?

    To answer my own question, I understand that it has to do with genders. There seems to be more risk or inappropriateness if a male teacher is seen touching (ie. hug, holding hands, patting/rubbing the back or head) a girl, but to a boy it would pass as healthy affection.

    A straight male is naturally attracted to females so that is the "risk"?

    Reverse the genders and would it be the same if a female teacher (straight) was interacting / playing with girls, nothing much said of it, but if she was doing that with the boys, would there complaints of inappropriateness? It hardly seems to be equal in this regard.

    Now let me take it to another level. What if the male teacher is gay? Would people be more comfortable with this gay male teacher playing with the girls since he has no chance of being attracted by that gender in a sexual way, but more uncomfortable if he plays with the boys since the risk factor is present?

    It would be really great if there was a gay teacher on this forum who could share their experiences and tell us if the pressures for them are the same or different? As a gay teacher, do you feel more pressure to be "appropriate" near the boys because of what people might think?
     
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  3. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I will start off by saying I’m not gay. Since you are, I think you should be careful around male students as your actions might be misconstrued as inappropriate considering that you are attracted to other males.

    With that said, I think a teacher should maintain a professional relationship with his or her students at all times. Otherwise, you can wind up in a heap of trouble that could jeopardize your career and freedom, so never you mind the gender differences.

    As a teacher in his mid-20’s, I look very young for my age and my students frequently comment how I look like a pre-teen/teenager aged anywhere from 12-16. I’ve had students say that I could be their older/younger brother, etc. Over the years, I’ve had students, mostly male, touch me inappropriately and say sexual comments to me. For each occurrence, I’ve involved administration and said students’ parents because I have to be very careful as innocuous things led from one thing to another. I suspect it is because students think that I, as a younger teacher, am one of “them” and so they feel as if they can get away with doing what they do.

    It’s quite frustrating, really.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I’ve never noticed any issues with the gay teachers I’ve worked with over the years. I do, however, teach middle school. Maybe that’s the difference?
     
  5. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    So I am a gay male teacher. I try to be very aware of how I interact with students, regardless of their gender or my sexual preferences. I think it's a respect thing. Students need role models who they can see what are appropriate levels of physical communication. I've never had any issues with anything I've done, but have had a few issues with how students have acted. In which case I've always gotten my admin team, our resource officer, and the students parents involved immediately.
     
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  6. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Excellent advice as always. Also explains why you were hired as a VP. :)
     
  7. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Heh thanks. This is one of those things I think society in general is guilty of going to extremes over. Because there is an appropriate level of physical contact in between two people. There's this stigma that you absolutely can't touch anyone ever..
     
  8. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Concerning your promotion, I guess you could say that “Aces is going places!” Lol.

    Regarding touching other people, I think there is a societal stigma because some people overreact and get accusatory, which has ruined many people’s lives. It’s best to just keep one’s hands to himself or herself as it’s not worth the potential fallout.
     
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  9. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Yup, that's pretty much exactly it. Then we wonder why we have a society of attention starved people.
     
  10. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Boundaries and respecting personal space is an important life skill to know and we should lead by example. I don’t think it really matters what genders or sexual orientation is interacting with each other. I teach 13 to 15 year olds and it’s important they know about their own personal space, how to act when someone is in their personal space and making them feel uncomfortable and also respecting others’ too.
     
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  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I second this. I really wish students would learn boundaries. For example, I currently have a student who walks up to me when I am not looking and whispers in my ear. I’ve asked him not to do that several times, but he just smirks and walks away. It’s quite unnerving.
     
  12. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I get hugged by high school students all the time and it is awkward... Ugh! I’ve even been ambushed into a hug by the entire football team almost simultaneously and I can’t do anything about it. Seriously. I tried walking away and my body would not budge because of the collective weight.

    Why are some students so touchy-feely?
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
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  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
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  15. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    I feel your pain. I got pulled into a band-senior hug at their finals competition....which turned into a massive band geek hug. Moving wasn't am option. At all.
     
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  16. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    I have to agree here. I'll be space cadet for a while and randomly get hugged, high fives, fist bumps, etc. They catch me by surprise and I'll be like oh we're doing this okay then. At least mentally.
     
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  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    This. Exactly this!
     
  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Lol!
     
  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Well, most of the students at my school have good home lives, so...
     
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  20. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Yeah our marching band is 400 strong.
     
  21. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
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  22. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    :eek:
     
  23. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Some of them, yes. Others, not so much. Being smacked on the behind by a rolled up magazine or having a student rub their hand all the way up your arm and across your chest as they walk by are totally different things.
     
  24. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  25. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Oh, I have. You would not believe most of what has happened over the years...
     
  26. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    I mean....we're a regional high school that was created after two fairly big school districts were combined into one.
     
  27. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Oh gotcha. What is the student population? My private school is a few thousand and that’s just enough for me.
     
  28. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    1900/2000, I believe. It's right around that marker. (So yes, roughly 21% participate in band)
     
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  29. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Some of our middle school kids forget that they look almost like grownups. We try to teach them handshaking. Some prefer a fist bump or high five. For those who insist on hugs, we do the “side hug only” discusssion.
     
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  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Even those kids need to feel connected. Even in high SES districts, school can be the best 7 hours in some kids’ day. You never know.
     
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  31. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I never turn away a hug. Ever.

    I also get a lot of kids who tell me they love me. Especially K-2 students. When I first became an educator, I wouldn’t know what to say. Now, I say thing such as “What a nice thing to say” or “You’re so sweet”.

    Kids need warmth and affection.
     
  32. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This. If one of my grade 7 students needs a hug, they get one. Never in private, but it's always there.
     
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  33. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
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  34. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I think it’s different when it’s middle and high school students, especially ones who make it weird by holding on too long or try to hug you whenever they see you in the halls.

    I’d rather they just kept their distance. They can get affection from their friends, family members, and significant others, not from me.
     
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  35. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  36. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I'm not going to pretend like I'm the expert on middle and/or high school because I'm definitely not. I was strictly speaking to elementary school.
     
  37. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Understood.
     
  38. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    I am a straight male Elementary School teacher. I pretty much just don't touch students at all. Then I don't have to worry about it. I do have a few signature handshakes with older elementary School boys in 5th grade.
     
  39. cornflakes

    cornflakes Rookie

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    Sorry have been away for a long time. I can't reply to everything but I liked this one. I, too, don't initiate things. Most of the time, the kids themselves might suddenly hold your hand or give you a hug or anything affectionate and for me, I always think it's healthy affection but then quickly realize that perception is a dangerous game and if someone else were to see that, they might think it much worse because of how it looked....especially if you were a male teacher and the student was a female. That's why I was asking if that is such a big deal, then do they also make it a big deal if you are say a male gay teacher and you interacted with a boy student like that. I know everyone says, regardless of gender all conduct should be professional/appropriate etc but in reality, you and I both know that there is a difference. If a boy scores a goal and the male teacher rubs his hair as if to congratulate or encourage him, that is seen almost as no big deal and a sweet gesture. But the moment you touch a girls hair, it looks inappropriate and people might think you are some pervert or creep. That's what bugs me. Why the double-standard? If it's solely based on your sexual orientation, then we should also cringe if we see a male gay teacher rub a boys head to congratulate, but think nothing of it if he rubs a girls head because we know he can't be sexually attracted to her so there is no danger. This double-standard bugs me a lot. As Leaborb192 said, sometimes the healthy physical affection you give to that child may be the ONLY one they get for the whole day or week. I feel sad when we have to live in such strict times that we now have to remove healthy physical affection for the sake of being overly concerned of the potential dangers of touching a student/child.

    I feel that we are living in pre-crime days. You can be gulity before even having done anything wrong for simply putting yourself at "potential" risk. That could apply to everything in life. If we are so afraid that we can't be humans anymore and must be cold robotic machines, I think we are only losing this battle more than winning. Yes, we want to prevent accidents and bad things from happening, but at what cost? It's like saying, to stop parents from abusing their children at home, parents should no longer be allowed to raise their children in the privacy of their own home and lives. Every parent now must be supervised in the home 24/7. This is the only way to ensure 0% chance of child abuse.
     
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  40. cornflakes

    cornflakes Rookie

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    Following on my thought about parenting, I often call "parenting" as one of the last bastions of freedom. Think about it. In everything else in this world, security has increased, surveillance has increased, accountability has increased. You can't go anywhere, do anything, without certification, credentials, training, approval, etc. But parenting, nobody had to pass a course for that. No requirements of any kind, no credentials or evaluation of any kind. You are allowed to simply become a parent any time you want and you can pretty much have 100% of your way in the house until of course you do something really wrong that gets you targeted. Parenting is arguably the most important "job" in this world....and yet it has the least amount or ZERO requirements to get accepted into that "job". It seems so contradictory and ironic that in schools billions policies are now in affect that put you under the microscope and scrutiny at all times which is why the overreaction for everyone to just be squeaky clean and say no to any kind of touch...just play it safe, don't touch ever! That's a great philosophy (sarcasm). But at home, parents have no policies, no rules, they are fit to run their home anyway they see fit (until they've crossed the line and by that time its too late).
     
  41. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019

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