How Far Is Far Enough?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by tikibad, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. tikibad

    tikibad Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2008

    I know... second post for today... but it is something that I feel might be a good discussion topic.

    Just the other night, I was at McDonald's with my best friend who is also a teacher. We used to teach at the same school, but I was transfered to another school. The school that this friend of mine teaches at has been MY school, meaning that all of the students that have graduated from eighth grade as of 2005 have been under my watchful eye since they were in first grade. I know these students very well.

    This friend of mine goes the extra mile for his eighth grade students. I mean he got MY eighth grade students asking ME why don't we do the same things that the other eighth grade students from the other school (my old school) is doing? He also has such a personal connection with his students. Sometimes I wish I did, but then I think that it gets a little too much. For example: We are in his car at about 10:00pm driving into town. His cellphone rings. It's one of his students. "Where are you going? I saw your car pass by."

    Another example: We are in a restaurant. Cellphone again. "Hey! Can I get some food? I see your car parked outside..."

    As you can see, he has befriended his students so much that they call him as if he's another one of their teen friends. Okay... befriend your students fine... but How Far is Far Enough?

    Back at McDonalds. We are done eating, and we are just chatting now. One of his students storms into McDonalds and comes to sit with us. Then he has this sad look on his face saying that he saw his car parked outside, so he came inside. "I'm hungry" he says.

    My friend digs in his pocket and can only conjur up a dollar. He knows I have money, and then he looks at me and asks me for five dollars.

    It gets better I promise.

    The kid accepts the six dollars and then says... a meal cost six dollars and cents!

    OH MY GOSH! I was going to die of a heartattack!!! Then my friend asks me if I have any change in my purse... so I give another dollar.

    Then this kid gets up and leaves the restaurant after thanking his TEACHER. Nevermind the person who supplied the money.

    And then he looks at me because by then I had "that look" on my face.

    On the drive home, I say... "you give your all for these kids for the whole school year, and then when you meet them during the summer they think of you continue to give... and today, you didn't have anything to give so you outsource... how far is it going to go? It's getting to the point where it has passed ridiculous"

    Mind you... this is not the first time his ex-students have come up to him for money. This is just the first time that he has ever asked me to give my money.

    We had a quiet drive home and then he says that I hurt his feelings. He says that I don't know "these kids". They come from broken homes and blah blah blah blah drama drama drama.

    Am i just being a heartless HAG. I mean really. I love my students to the death, but I know when to call it quits.
     
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  3. apple25

    apple25 Comrade

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    Aug 11, 2008

    No - you are not heartless!! You are realistic - your friend, I believe is crossing a dangerous line. We are teachers and professionals . . . not friends.

    I understand that a lot of kids come from broken homes and my heart goes out to them. But I believe that you have to set clear boundaries otherwise students will walk all over you (like the student who asked for money did).

    I hope that your friend will see the difference between being a teacher and being a friend (or worse - used for money). I think that if kids are so hard up that they don't have any food, thats when you get Social Services involved - taking care of a child's basic needs is their mandate. Ours is to educate/inspire and protect.

    That's just my 2cents!
     
  4. tikibad

    tikibad Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2008

    thank you

    I thought I was going crazy!
     
  5. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Wow! Way too far. They shouldn't have his cell number and what is he doing giving them money? I few times students have asked me if I have a quarter, etc... I always say no - otherwise I would be setting a dangerous precedent. Not that the money is a big thing, but the manner in which the student asked, showed that the student viewed him as an equal which should not be the case. Same with calling, it's just not a good idea.
     
  6. Superteacher81

    Superteacher81 Comrade

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    Not to put your friend down, but that's really out of line! The fact that the student's have his cell # is out of line! I agree with the other poster. If the kid is starving that bad, your friend has a responsiblity to call Department of Child and Families (social services) and report abuse. It is not his job to feed the kids. And he is really putting himself in a bad position by being their "friend".
     
  7. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Aug 11, 2008

    I agree with the other posters. I worked at a rough school this year, and a student found my cell number. She texted me, and I didn't put a stop to it. HUGE mistake. She was way clingy, and treated me like these students are treating your friend. She wasn't using me as a safe adult, she was taking advantage of me. It's sad to say, but students in rough situations learn to survive, and they will push you and push you to see how much they can get. That student may not have really needed the money, but he knew your friend would give it to him, so why not? Dangerous.
     
  8. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    Your friend has gone way past the bounds of a teacher. I don't think his students respect him,they just take advantage of him. I have no idea how he is able to get the respect needed to actually teach these children.I just think they would not listen to him in the classroom,but would constantly fool around as they might with their friends.I care about my students,but I would never give them my phone number or treat them as a friend. I think you friend is heading for a terrible disappointment.
     
  9. tikibad

    tikibad Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2008

    Canadian Teacher: I know the students have his cell number because they always have extracurricular stuff going on, and his students usually use his cellphone to call parents to parents call him and so on and so forth. Like I said before, he is one teacher who goes the extra mile for the students.

    SuperTeacher and Apple25: I agree with you about calling social services.

    I agree with you all totally on this issue. I am just so glad that I am not just being a heartless being.
     
  10. tikibad

    tikibad Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2008

    Jem... sad to hear about that.. I hope all is better now.

    Yank... i totally agree... thanks for the input.

    We did actually discuss it, and he knows where I am coming from and it was really a deep discussion. I hope this coming school year he will be able to keep that teacher/friend thing OUT. I will be keeping tabs though.
     
  11. CanadianTeacher

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    tikibad, that makes sense then, but he should really give them guidelines on just when to use the number. I am one who goes the extra mile also, but there needs to be a line there as well. Students are not equals and when they are treated as such, we become less effective as teachers/mentors.
     
  12. tikibad

    tikibad Rookie

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    Alright... so now that we have OUR side clear and out in the open... is there anyone out there that may have something to say in my friends defense?

    Maybe another teacher that may be the same way? Don't be afraid... come out... reveal yourself.
     
  13. Missy99

    Missy99 Connoisseur

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    Aug 11, 2008

    Right now, they are just treating him disrespectfully and taking money from him.

    I predict that if he doesn't stop this now, something far worse will occur -- I would not be surprised if he were to inevitably be (falsely, I presume) charged with something based on "reports" from these junior thugs.

    He needs to protect himself.
     
  14. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    Aug 11, 2008

    I agree with the others, I think it is too far. And I agree with Missy, the first thing I thought of was that things like this get blown out of proportion and someone ends up in big trouble...even if they shouldn't. I like to think that I got the extra mile, but I get nervous about giving some parents my cell number...but I guess when the kids get as old as 8th grade, it's a different situation. And no, you're not heartless!! Your heart is right where it should be!
     
  15. Chevygirl97

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    Aug 11, 2008

    There's a teacher at my school who is the same way (she's in the middle school.) Texting, lending money, etc. It makes me unconfortable and I have mentioned it to her but she says I'm "not a nice person" and "don't care about my students." Some people don't know when to draw a line. I understand that your friend and my coworker probably have their hearts in the right place, but it's not safe or professional. No one has my cell number--and I don't think having boundaries is heartless. It's part of our job. There...threw my hat in for what it's worth!
     
  16. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Aug 11, 2008

    I'm not sure you will find anyone to take his side. As far as you being involved, if you are faced with this situation again, just plead poverty and say "sorry, I don't have any money to spare"
     
  17. SouperTeach

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    Aug 11, 2008

    Teachers, along with parents,are not meant to be the students' friend. Just as when a parent is more focused on being their child's friend than parenting, it can mess up the child's life because they don't give boundaries, teachers have to give boundaries so that they can effectively teach. I didn't phrase that well, but I'm tired.:eek:
     
  18. TemperanceFaith

    TemperanceFaith Comrade

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    I observed a HS teacher this past year who I believed crossed similar boundaries. The school itself had a cellphone ban, but she would let her students charge their phones in her room stealthily. She told me she gave all of them her number and talked to them frequently and texted as well. She is young, just out of college and not much older than some of the kids she teaches, but to me, she was trying too hard to be their friend or like a big sister, not their teacher.

    I think even though it is hard, you have to have boundaries. You have to keep your personal life personal, and you have to be careful how much you give of yourself to students in the sense of privacy. In my opinion, text messaging them, having them as your friends on Facebook or Myspace and other similar things are boundary crossing issues I personally would not do.

    You can be a well loved teacher and a confidante and be there for your students without text messaging or spending time with them out of school...we did it years before cellphones and computers; I am still very close to several of my HS teachers, but I did not ever think about calling them or even calling them by their proper names until YEARS after I graduated. Even now, I am close friends with one of my college professors and it is a huge struggle to call her by her first name and not Dr. _____. We laugh about it, but its the way it is for me.
     
  19. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Aug 11, 2008

    My husband's students have his cell phone number. They don't treat him as a friend, but if they need him or me they know to call. We have had phone calls during emergencies. We don't lend money on a regular basis, but my husband has been known to loan money on school sponsored trips when a child runs out. We are not their friends, but a safe person. We both have been called when things go wrong at college and they are afraid to call their parents. We never bail them out, we only listen.


    My son texts his 2nd grade teacher. They are friends. My son is going into the 9th grade. They share music on their ipods, they play playstation, and they go to the movies together. His old teacher and I worked together for over 5 years. We are very close.
     
  20. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Did the kid order the food at McDonald's, or did he take the money and walk out?

    I can see the headlines now. "Teacher gives student money to purchase drugs."

    Your friend is not thinking straight. Buy the kid a hamburger while he visits if your friend insists. Never give that much money to a child who isn't yours.
     
  21. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Aug 11, 2008

    My students have my cell phone number. I give it to them on the first day of school, as do several other teachers in my building. As a matter of fact, our prinicpal encourages it.

    I think you just have to do what makes you comfortable and what you believe to be ethical and professional. I don't think it's fair to insinuate that this man (or anyone else) is crossing lines just because others disagree with it or because it's outside of their comfort zone.

    As for the McDonald's incident, honestly, I would have done the same thing as your friend (and have in the past) minus the part where he asked you for money--because that's just being rude to you. I also would not ever tell you that you weren't "nice" or "didn't care" about your students because you have a different relationship with them from what I may have. It doesn't make either of us a good or bad teacher; it's just who we are.:2cents:
     
  22. tikibad

    tikibad Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2008

    When I read your post, I said OH MY GOSH!!! He took the money and left. I really don't want to be responsible for this kid taking the money to buy drugs or beer or cigarettes. I was such an idiot!
     
  23. Hedgehog

    Hedgehog Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2008

    Or the kid could be using the money to buy food for his younger siblings because his Dad left when he was two and his Mother is strung out on the back porch on heroin and is in no position to look after anyone; but the kid is too proud to admit it and Tikibad's friend knows it.

    Why do we (teachers, adults, humans) always jump directly into the worst possible scenario? What happened to benefit of the doubt or presumed innocence. If our reactions to things were appropriate, we'd all have been stabbed and everyone with a camera would be a pedophile. It's ridiculous and alarmist and if we want the world to be a less hostile place, we firstly need to stop just assuming everyone out there is doing the worst thing imaginable.

    We can all say he's "crossed a dangerous line" but I know several teachers (one of whom is a close friend) who chat on MSN with students they currently teach, text, email and so forth.

    As much as we can disagree with it (I don't like the idea of all that with current students but once they are no longer my student then I don't see the problem. I do lend students money though, like a dollar here and there) it's their choice. Some people are just like that, as my friend is. There's nothing untoward about it and she isn't being walked on - she's just that kind of person and from my experience she has ebtter behaved classes, more respect from the students and more respect from the parents than most other teachers at that school.

    *shrug*

    I wouldn't go and give my number or details to any kid I was currently teaching but that is just me. If your friend thinks it's ok then he obviously has his reasons.
     
  24. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Oh wow. That's all I can say.
     
  25. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Aug 11, 2008

    I know of two teachers (male) who were fired (one arrested) for getting too close to students. Yes, the students sucked up to these two and they liked the attention (affirmation?).

    Teacher 1 was giving rides home to girls in his class. He didn't seem to see anything wrong. He was fired when administration found out.

    Teacher 2 was an ex-principal back in the classroom due to school closure. He had not taught in years. He had a bad habit of letting four girls stay after school and do homework in his class. One day the girls didn't like him any more and fabricated a story he made advances during after school. This teacher found out when two sheriff deputies showed up at the school, handcuffed him in the office, and took him to jail. Months later at trial the girls spilled the truth but his career was ruined.
     
  26. TemperanceFaith

    TemperanceFaith Comrade

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    I know I am going to be the type to lend money, have extra snacks, etc... I am that way now.

    I just have a hard time with the cell phone issue, strictly because of the liability issue. It is sad, but we live in a way too litigious society. Innocent, common decency and kindness can be misconstrued and manipulated by people, and I have seen it happen to people too many times. For that reason, as hard as it is going to be for me, being a super empathetic person, I am going to have some boundaries. That does not mean I will not always be there to listen and give advice, but it does mean protecting my personal space and not feeling like I am crossing into my student's personal space unless its necessary, like in an emergency situation. Certainly then it is warranted, but I think I would be more comfortable taking it on an individual, as needed basis.
     
  27. tikibad

    tikibad Rookie

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    We had a long chat today about the post and the replies from today, and my friend did respond in such a way that Hedgehog has presented.

    I just told him that I was worried. Being that I am a teacher, I am always the pusher for fairness, and I just don't think it's fair that he gives his all for these students, but they show no respect towards him.

    When I mentioned this he was taken aback. I then replayed the McDonald's scene for him. I said that this kid came in and wanted something to eat, when told that his "teacher friend" had only a dollar he was discouraged. When I gave my $5... he pushed for more. Where is the respect there? I was told that beggars can't be choosers. This kid changed the whole saying around. And he did this in the presence of another individual. What respect was there for ME? :eek:

    My friend saw where I was coming from and apologized for it. I told him that I was not looking for an apology, I want him to be careful. All in all, I seen a friend being treated unfairly and it hurt my feelings, and I wanted it to stop.

    He understood me well. He was glad that we discussed this because he says that he has never had a friend that would be able to say anything like that to him, and he knows that I care dearly about him. :hugs:

    All in all, it needs a little marinating time before anything can be done about this. Thank you all for your comments. It has really put things in perspective. :2up:
     
  28. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    tikibad, you are a true friend. Only a true friend will dare to say what someone may not want to hear. Your friend is a lucky person.
     
  29. tikibad

    tikibad Rookie

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    Thanks... this does mean a lot to me. Based on a lot of other people, I am always the bearer of negativity, but I feel that it is just truth that I always want to convey.
     
  30. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I get the same thing sometimes. Tell them that you are not being negative, you are being realistic. Negative is when you KNOW something bad will happen no matter what. Realistic is when you take every scenario into consideration. Big difference. :))
     
  31. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    It's hard for me to not respond when told that my reaction is inappropriate, ridiculous, and alarmist.

    So let me state the simple fact. The kid said he was hungry; he took money from his teacher and the friend, he left without getting anything to eat.

    You can see that as "Oh, he took the money home to feed his younger siblings because his dad left and his mom is strung out on drugs."

    How is that a better view of the events?

    Truthfully, it's pretty hard to go in either direction without knowing the kid and his situation. For that, I apologize. He may have simply felt uncomfortable horning in anymore on the conversation.

    I think that each teacher has their idea of where the line is. It wavers from person to person. Unfortunately, the line wavers for district attorneys also.

    I'll stand my ground and say that it is a dangerous thing to give that much money to a young person who is out and about.

    Texting and calling? Not nearly the same as giving money.
     
  32. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    My opinion...if the kid is in that much need, a few dollars here and there is not a solution to his problems. Authorities need to get involved, even if the kids doesn't think it's best at the time. Handing out money is a band aid approach and what he needs is a more solid, long-term solution. But...if he is being manipulative, your friend is just contributing to the creation of a monster and his efforts will not be appreciated. IMO, going the extra mile and being appreciated should come more in the form of moral support and mentorship. What I sense is codependence. Your friend needs to feel needed or feeds off the feeling he gets from having the students depend on him - it's not really helping as in solving any problems. Just my two cents though.
     
  33. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I like your :2cents: CanadianTeacher!
     
  34. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Well thank you! :haha: I know my opinions aren't always popular...
     
  35. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I agree that it seems to be behind it, but I hesitate now to make that assessment.

    I have seen a lot of new teachers make the mistake of trying to be buddies or friends in the classroom.
     
  36. adventuresofJ

    adventuresofJ Comrade

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    Aug 14, 2008

    As a student teacher... I don't need anymore friends. Not students. Colleagues and teacher friends i will gladly take, but students? I can't imagine... no... not a part of my job description.
     
  37. momof6

    momof6 Rookie

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    I give my cell phone number out to all my students/parents. Never has this been abused. This situation probably reads differently depending on whether you are elementary or secondary. A quick solution next time would be to go up to the counter and pay for his order :) I wonder if people thought Ron Clark was crossing the line...
     
  38. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Tikibad,
    Maybe your friend/teacher can join us here at AtoZ! We love giving advice! :D And receiving advice as well! :D
    Also, you did the right thing! You are a true friend. Have a great day!
     
  39. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    I am a little late in responding to this thread. I have never given students money. I honestly don't think I have been asked for money either. At least, not that I recall. I have a former student, that corresponds with me regularly via email. She is a senior this year and is no longer a student in the district where I teach. we had to sit in on a meeting today where the "legal" people were talking about how it is fine to email students if it relates to curriculum, classwork, but that is it. I was not about to raise my hand and ask about former students. What am I supposed to tell my former student, "don't email me because I could lose my job, or wait until after you graduate? Again, this student is not a current student of mine, but still in 12th grade.
     
  40. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Aug 27, 2008

    I agree!
     
  41. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Aug 27, 2008

    This may twist the thread...:rolleyes: but let me ask anyway...

    How many teachers feel that nothing is too good for their students, and especially their classroom?

    Since this is the beginning of the year, how many people spend thousands of dollars getting your room together? (and... never expect to get reimbursed??)

    How many of you have tons of stuff you have saved over the years, and don't mind lending or giving stuff out to others.

    Or, are you a paranoid, tightwad person like me, with your name on everthing in your room... ESPECIALLY your stapler?!

    I have this question because, as you all know.. I just landed a new job, but I am torn because I see the other teachers decorating their rooms like crazy. I don't have a dime to call my own. I am literally doing what I can on one saved credit card.

    Just last week, I was at the church food pantry. :unsure:

    I've got an aide who makes faces at me whenever I say I don't have this or that, or I am not planning to buy anything else for the bulletin boards. If I say I may make something, she really frowns!

    I don't get it! Has anyone been to the store lately? Are some people just made of money, and really enjoy spending it on their classroom?

    And what's wrong with being creative and saving money by making things for your class?

    When a classroom looks like the Little Red School House, I think they went too far. I can't come close to that. It looks like a musem... or a page of Discount School Supply.

    :help:
     

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