Spinoff: Can you be a bad person but a good teacher?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Another thread got me thinking about this. Is it possible to be a bad person ("bad" defined however you want; to me, it means intentionally making morally bad choices in one's personal life) outside of school but to also be a good teacher? At what point do the choices made in one's personal life affect one's job as a teacher? Should we take personal choices/lifestyle issues into account when determining whether a teacher should be hired or retained as a teacher?
     
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  3. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Since a large part of being a teacher is providing a proper role model for students - no.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If a teacher kept their bad choices out of the classroom (is that possible?) and the students were unaware of said bad choices, does the role model argument hold up?
     
  5. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yes, acting is a large part of teaching, however, as a parent I would still be concerned.
     
  6. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I think so. But if I am wrong it must mean most teachers are good people except that small minority we see splashed on the news for ___________fill in the blank.
     
  7. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Yes and no.

    A high school teacher in my district was recently arrested for having a relationship with a 16-year-old student. I don't know him personally, but his current and former students (and parents) were shocked. He was everyones favorite teacher. So, I'm thinking he must have been a "good teacher," but he obviously makes horrible life decisions.
     
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I think it is tough for a "bad" person to turn it off when they walk through the school doors. I would have to vote that they would not be a good teacher.
     
  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I live in a small town. Most people can't keep things quiet for long. A bad person might pull it off for awhile, but here it would end up catching up with you eventually.

    We had one volunteer who was excellent with our students. He was personable and volunteered with our students and Boy Scouts. He was arrested for taking nude photos of teenage boys at a nearby park. He's in prison now.
     
  10. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I don't think there are "bad" people. I think there are people who make poor choices, but (with very few exceptions) I do not think people are innately bad. I have known of several teachers with drug addictions, alcohol addictions, who text while driving, go to strip clubs, etc. As long as it does not impact their performance in the classroom, and they keep their private lives private, I don't think it matters.
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    There are people who have terrible vices or proclivities who might be able to keep it out of the classroom. I'm not sure I'd want to find out who they are, but I probably work with a few of them (there are almost 900 teachers on my faculty).
     
  12. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    "What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say." Yes, it matters what sort of person one is outside of the classroom.
     
  13. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Someone might consider me a bad person. I'm an atheist, I talk about people, I curse, I drink, I party, etc. At the same time, I'd do anything for my friends, I'm giving, I'm fun... I don't think I'm a bad person, other people might, and I do think I'm a pretty good teacher.

    I guess it's possible, it just depends on each person's definition of "good" and "bad".
     
  14. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I agree. I was also going to say that "bad" is very subjective. I doubt we all agree on what makes a person "bad."
     
  15. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Yes. Many "bad" people are good at their jobs and teaching is no different. I'm sure many of us would be shocked at the skeletons in our co-workers closets or what people do in their free/off time.

    A person's outside life/actions does not have to impact their job performance.
     
  16. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    possible in theory--yes, but I am guessing usually not. Sure there are exceptions though. It depends on what the vices are. Murder, child abuse, drug dealing, or other major items...too much to risk to let these people with children. Smaller items that are less immoral possibly.

    I am concerned though as I believe we want to teach and model to our students to be good people as well as knowing information. My best teachers were good people first and good teachers second.
     
  17. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    It depends on the "bad" I think. I knew a teacher who lived with a man before his divorce was final. Fifty years ago, that would be enough to get someone fired from a teaching position and might even be bad enough in some communities now.
     
  18. Mamacita

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    Living with a married man isn't behavior I want my students to emulate. I know my opinion isn't popular in this day and age of anything goes, but right is right and wrong is wrong. Behavior is a choice, and to choose to model adulterous actions just isn't a positive thing.
     
  19. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I agree with this. I'm sure this will prove to be an unpopular opinion (I have not read thriugh the ither posts yet) but I definitely agree.
     
  20. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    I don't believe that what a person does on his or her personal time has anything to do with ones profession. There are some exceptions such as child molesters and murderers. But generally speaking who a person lives with, and what they do off the clock has nothing to do with what happens during school hours.
     
  21. jojo808

    jojo808 Comrade

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    This is a difficult question to answer. I think it depends on the "bad". I don't think someone can be an effective teacher with a hangover, yet I think a person with a DUI conviction can be a good teacher.

    I used to work with a teacher who was very narcicistic. He would take credit for things he didn't create and blame others for mistakes he made--what I would consider a "bad" behavior. Still, i think he was an effective teacher. He threw adults under the bus but not the kids!
     
  22. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    This is also cultural. Down here in Mexico in the Mexican culture it is highly looked down upon. Although there are some couples who live together unmarried, it is rare. When a female goes to live with her boyfriend it is expressed as the boyfriend stole her. The Mexican culture highly looks down upon it. My sister-in-law and husband are only married civilly. They will not live together until they marry in a church (it's been over a year now that they married civilly).
     
  23. sarahwilla

    sarahwilla Rookie

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    Ya I agree, some times a bad person can be a good teacher.. this made me to remember my professor when i was in college. he is bad by heart but very awesome at teaching
     
  24. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Looking through this topic, at least one person would consider me to be a bad person, and I consider myself to be a good teacher, so I'll go with yes.
     
  25. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I agree with those posters that say it depends on what the 'bad' is.
     
  26. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Well, "good" people can be crappy teachers. :)
     
  27. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    you win the thread:)
     
  28. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    :thumb::thumb:
     
  29. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    You say they make bad moral choices. Everyone has different perceptions of morality. So since some people who I would view as good but others might view as bad can be good teachers, then yes, bad people can be good teachers.

    The fact that I'm openly gay, and would proudly support students who needed help working through their sexuality, probably makes me "bad" in the eyes of a few people on this forum.

    I know at least one person on these forums that seems to view me as the epitome of all evil, but I consider myself to be a good teacher, so they can suck eggs.
     
  30. pinkrobots27

    pinkrobots27 Rookie

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    Interesting topic. My gut reaction is no.

    Of course, the definition of bad differs from person to person. I don't see one of my superiors as a good person because she focuses mostly on appearance and money. Not having values as an educator is disturbing to me. However, many people like her and don't see things the way I do.

    Interestingly enough, we have a new guy on staff that a lot of teachers dislike. He's in his mid-thirties but has obviously lived a wild life based on his stories. Appearance wise, he looks rough with a large tattoo on his neck that looks like the devil or some mutant? I don't know. He also takes frequent smoke breaks just a few feet from the school and smells of cigarettes often. He drinks coca-cola all day as well and is missing some teeth. I think it's a little cruel when teachers comment on his teeth because I don't think he's in the financial state to do much about it.

    Personally, I don't have a problem with him. His social skills aren't the best but he seems to really enjoy teaching and the kids like him. I don't think smelling like cigarettes is considerate but it's not my place to say.

    Some teachers absolutely can NOT stand him and think he's a poor role model.
     
  31. TeacherNY

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    This is the only issue I see with him. If he kept his stories to himself people would probably think of him differently. Most people get themselves into trouble because they talk about their personal lives too much.
     
  32. pinkrobots27

    pinkrobots27 Rookie

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    Exactly. It's part of his problem with social cues. There are some things you share at work and some things you don't. It's a small school and there are always people eager to gossip.
     
  33. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :thumb:
     
  34. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Yes. Truly "bad" people are rare -- most people fall somewhere in a gray area between the two extremes. I would venture to say that most teacher make a conscious effort to be "good" in front of their students, their students' parents, admin, and coworkers.

    Should you be a good role model? Yes. Is it possible to be considered a "good" person and still be a terrible role model? I think so. There have been time periods in history when "good" people had slaves, beat their spouses/children, and did other things we would frown upon today. Socially acceptable behavior is fluid and changing, but being a good -- or rather, an EFFECTIVE -- teacher is pretty objective.
     
  35. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    I don't really know what a bad person is.

    I would really only consider someone bad if they are just outright manipulative and use people for financial benefits, sexual favors, and other egotistical desires. I don't know if these people usually would be teachers.

    I realize there have been cases of teacher predators before, but I generally have a hard time seeing someone going through college with all the academic content and training if that was their intention. They usually would try more informal volunteer positions if they were a bad person with bad intentions working with youth.

    So basically, I would only consider someone a bad person if they were completely self destructive and were purposely going down a path which they knew would lead to others getting hurt for only their own manipulative desires.

    Some people might consider me a bad person, and many people on this forum probably already do because I have a habit of taking aggression out on other people in the form of instigating confrontations as part of my coping mechanism with major depression disorder. My psychologist is already aware of this and long term treatment is being done and I've made some basic progress over the last few months.

    However, I still teach pretty well and have gotten good to excellent ratings these last couple semesters, and have even had an Algebra teacher last semester use one of my lessons that I designed because it was very engaging. So yes, I guess in a way I might be a bad person and a good teacher.
     
  36. Cerek

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    The definitions of "bad person" and "good teacher" are both very subjective.

    I would consider a "bad person" to be someone who habitually and consistently treated others badly or acted in a mean, hateful, nasty or evil manner towards other people with no regard for how their actions affect others.

    Could that type of person be a good teacher? I doubt it. Then again, I doubt they would do very well in ANY job that required them to work with and/or interact with others.

    On the other hand, how to we define what makes a "good teacher"?

    There was a case in my home district a few yeas ago of a veteran teacher who was well-loved by the school and community and (supposedly) by the students as well. By all accounts, most people would likely have considered him a "good teacher"...until it was discovered he had molested a number of female students over his years as an educator. WHY it took so long for this issue to surface in a small, rural district where gossip runs rampant is hard to say, but it did.

    So, yes, this was a "bad person" that - on the surface anyway - was also a good and effective teacher.

    But knowing how many lives he scarred over the years and understanding the long term effects those scars probably continue having, I have to wonder if he really WAS as good a teacher as everyone seemed to think. Surely some of the kids had to know what this man was doing to their friends - or at least suspect it.

    I had a teacher in high school myself who was openly flirtatious to students and even ended up having an affair with a student (who he later married). Other students came forward and accused him of various offenses too, but the several others came to his defense and insisted the allegations were all false.

    I do know many students and parents considered the second guy a "good teacher".

    So my answer is - YES - a person can be a "bad person" and still be considered a "good teacher", but eventually, the "bad" part is going to come through and catch up to them because they can't keep the act up forever.
     
  37. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

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    Of course, it all depends how you define "teacher," as well as "good teacher."
    Oh yeah, and bad person... :dizzy:

    You can be a "bad" person and still teach skills, facts, and concepts very well. Another question is if they are the "right" skills, facts, and concepts.
     
  38. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Sure they can. People can act different at work versus how they act in their personal life.

    I have a friend that is wild, has pretty loose morals (by most's standards) and just few months ago slept with a married man in the bathroom stall of a bar and snorted coke off his keys. She's one crazy chick.

    But she's the greatest friend and also an excellent pediatric nurse who gets flowers and cards and kind FB messages galore from grateful families galore who think she's an angel because of how sweet she is and how she takes terrific care of her patients. She's nuts outside of work but she takes her career seriously.

    I believe we are more complex than just good or bad.
     
  39. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I would not let such a person take care of my kids - no matter how many people liked her on FB.
     
  40. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Oh, I would. I love her to death.
     
  41. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Snorting coke and she is a pediatric nurse?! Not someone I would want around my child.
     

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