Should I tell my students about my syndrome?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by riverdance85, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. riverdance85

    riverdance85 Rookie

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    Apr 22, 2013

    I am a male Spanish teacher. I have been teaching since the middle of last school year and never had a student mock the way I look, until now.

    I have goldenhar syndrome, which has affected almost everything in my body. Most noticeably my neck, which has limited movement and looks short. I also have scoliosis and I wear an in-the-canal hearing aid (which is so concealed, they haven't found out I have one in my ear).

    Students today began mocking my neck, which I always hated as a kid. I told them to stop and they did. Apart from teaching them to respect, should I tell them about my syndrome or keep it a secret like I've been doing? It is a life threatening condition and the kids do not know I have it.

    Thanks ahead of time,

    Riverdance85
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 22, 2013

    I probably would. I don't think you have to, nor should students need a reason to respect you. You are a teacher, and that's enough. Still, for the sake of building relationships I think it might be helpful.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Apr 22, 2013

    It really is your choice on whether to tell the students or not. If you do decide to tell your students, I would talk with your administration (make sure they know about your condition and are aware that you are telling the students). I would also draft a letter to the parents as many students will go home and inform mom and dad. I would rather the information come from me and not the students.
     
  5. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Apr 22, 2013

    Is you school year coming to an end? If so, I wouldn't say anything. For something like that I might slip it into the introductions at the beginning of the year. "Hello my name is so-and-so. I'm from here. Something interesting about me I have Goldenhar syndrome which is ___ and causes ___" That way they know, but I wouldn't make a big deal out of it. I think a letter to the parents is over the top. It's your personal business.
     
  6. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Apr 22, 2013

    :agreed:
     
  7. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Apr 22, 2013

    When I see students mocking anyone, I tend to be very direct. If I saw the students doing this, I may have said something along the lines of "If you really want to know how this feels, try holding your neck like that for the rest of the day. When it starts hurting, be grateful you can stop doing it. I don't have that option."
     
  8. Historic

    Historic New Member

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    May 14, 2013

    Share with students

    After the first couple of weeks of school, when I goof up something I am writing on the board, I share with my students that I am mildly dyslexic. I go on to explain that it is a learning disability and get responses like "how can you have a learning disability and be a teacher" or "but you're smart". It is a chance to discuss that any disability is just an obstacle to overcome, not a roadblock. My students look at the students with learning problems differently and with new respect, and I suddenly own any of them with problems because I am now one of them.
     
  9. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    May 15, 2013

    A perfect learning opportunity. BRAVO. You could not have done this any better.
     
  10. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    May 15, 2013

    I would tell them. I have the same issue with my psoriasis... I understand that kids just have no idea why my skin looks so weird, and so they ask (rather rudely, though I generally realize it's only coming from a place of ignorance, as opposed to intentionally being rude) and I just tell them what my issue is.
     

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