Teachers and "Morality"

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Sarge, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    As a spinoff to this post about tenure and this post about Facebook, I'd like to pose a few questions for teachers, especially ones who teach in small rural towns or in the "Bible Belt."

    I'm getting the impression that in some parts of the U.S., a teacher who is seen purchasing or consuming alcohol in public or wearing swim attire anyplace other than their own backyard, can be called to the carpet, so to speak, for engaging in behavior that is otherwise completely normal for adults in those communities to do. But just because you are a teacher and supposedly a "role model" you are never to drink or appear in public dressed in anything more revealing than shorts and a t-shirt.

    Is this true? Say a female teacher goes to a public swimming pool (in many small towns, the only one is at the local high school) and chooses to wear a bikini and is seen doing so by parents and students from her school (most of whom are dressed the same way). Would people have a problem? Are teachers in the Bible Belt essentially barred from participating in aquatics programs like I do here in California?

    Next question. Is there a double standard? Suppose I'm a teacher in a small Southern town. On Saturday afternoon, I need to mow my lawn. It's hot so I take my shirt off. And I have a beer as well. Don't tell me Southerners don't drink beer while mowing their lawns. Meanwhile, the teacher next door to me, is mowing her lawn. She doesn't want a "farmer tan" so she does so in a halter top. And has a beer as well. Who is more likely to be frowned upon? And in each case, assume that during the time that lawns were being mowed, several parents drove by and identified both persons as teachers at the school where their children attended.

    Now, it's one thing to drive by someone's house when they're mowing their lawn shirtless and later on gossip about it with your friends - "I can't believe she wears that outside." "Mr. Sarge needs to put a shirt on" etc. That kind of thing happens around here even.

    However, it's an entirely different thing to go to that person's principal and tell them about what they saw and expect the principal to "do something" about it. So my final question is does that ever happen? Does a parent ever actually go to a principal and complain that they say their child's teacher buying or purchasing alcohol, wearing a swimsuit in public, or anyone of a number of other things that are perfectly legal and acceptable for adults to do but somehow not Ok if the adult happens to be a teacher? And do those principals ever give in to the complaining parents and call in the teacher?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Thanks for posting this, Sarge. I have often had the same questions you are posing here.

    While I would never wear a bikini (no one needs to see that!), I do purchase and consume alcohol legally--sometimes where a student could see me. I know that I would not face any reprecussions and that no one would think twice about my right to do so.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sarge~I live in Texas in a somewhat conservative area. Though I would never wear a bikini where I think parents/students could see me, I have drank and purchased alcohol where parents/students have seen me. No one said anything to me, nor was I called to the carpet by my principals. I think a lot of has to do with the principal. Do they have soemthing against the teacher already? Do they have a backbone to stand up to the parent? How influencial is the parent? I think alot of factors go into it.
     
  5. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    My question wasn't so much about whether or not you would do these things. A lot of people don't drink or wear certain things for their own personal reasons.

    Rather, I'm wondering if teachers in your community are expected to avoid doing certain things that responsible, law abiding, respectable adults would otherwise have no problem doing.
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    We were told while in our program that we should refrain from doing anything that might put us in a negative light. To me, if a teacher is drinking or smoking, then that is fine with me...and if that teacher just happened to be my child's teacher, it wouldn't make any difference.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm in a fairly conservative Catholic school in New York.

    There would be absolutely no problem with me having a drink in public. In fact, I've gotten some pretty negative responses here when I've mentioned that my school hosts Parent Association cocktail parties and that teachers are encouraged to stop by. No one drinks to excess.

    If my husband were to mow the lawn without his shirt on, holding a beer, and some of his students passed by, it would be an absolute non-issue. (He's in another HS run by the same religous order.)

    Other local religious and public schools have hosted cocktail parties, and I think I saw an ad for a Vegas night recently.

    In other words, it's perfectly OK for adults to do things which are legal for adults.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Here as well.
     
  9. MrsTeacher2Be

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    I teach in a tiny town in the Bible Belt, and I was advised that if I want a drink with dinner or to purchase alcohol or to dress less than demure then I need to go to a nearby town where nobody recognizes me. Seriously. But, I work in a teeny-tiny town. It is so small that I went to lunch, in a very public place, with a male colleague the other day when we were taking a workshop at the school. We ran into two other teachers and a school board member. We stopped and chatted with each of them, and it was a very innocent, friendly lunch, but by the time his wife got home that night 3 people had called her at work to say that they saw him "out at the Mexican place with some woman!" I've worked there less than a year, don't live there, and didn't grow up there (unlike most every other teacher in the district), so not everybody knows me yet, but I still run into someone I know every where I go. I don't know of anyone personally who's been called in or had parents complain because of anything like you've mentioned, but in the town I live in (as equally small and conservative) the principal was let go midyear for having an affair with the secretary. Now, as far as I know, nothing happened at school, and none of the kids/parents found out until he was actually fired. The secretary confided in a teacher who told the superintendent.
     
  10. Canadian Gal

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    I work in a small city (by Canadian standards) and I have no problem purchasing alcohol or occaisionally (three times this year) going out with friends and getting, shall we say, a little tipsy.

    I personally will go out in skimpy clothes (its hot out), and have been seen by parents and students. Some parents have had negative reactions, others don't question it. It completely depends on the parent.
     
  11. Major

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    As far as I can tell teachers in Colorado do exactly what they want to do... I've been asked out numerous times by teachers for happy hour..... no big deal. Several teacher friends of mine have enjoyed my hot tub.... dressed in appropriate hot tub attire......:lol::lol:
     
  12. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Off-topic, but I've had beers with our parish priest before, too.
    Kim
     
  13. JustMe

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  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Funny story that I've told here before:

    When my school first opened in 1987, we had 2 days of faculty meetings followed by a faculty cocktail party. They opened the bar, and no one wanted to be the first to go order a drink--no one wanted to give the wrong impression.

    As it turns out, the "bartender" was one of the priests. He grew up in the same parish I did; I went to school with his kid brother and our sisters played CYO basketball together. But I really didn't know him as more than "Chris's older brother who became a priest."

    So, in an effort to get things rolling, he announced: "Come one, folks, the bar's open. Aliceacc, I KNOW you'll have a drink!"

    Ummm, thanks Father!!! Now my new coworkers have a wonderful impression of me!!

    I told him the story years later and he laughed until he cried!
     
  15. iheart5thgrade

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    To answer your topic question, I do teach in the Bible Belt in a very rural town and drinking would definitely be frowned upon. I have never drank and do not plan to start, so it doesn't bother me that we are expected to not drink.....I like that teachers are expected to refrain because it fits in with my own personal values.
     
  16. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    I work in a large district in Phoenix. It would be a non-issue with me drinking in public. I once ran into a girl and her family while I was outside (at a restaurant happy hour) and I was smoking with another teacher. I threw it down really quick and was really embarrassed. This happened with the same family twice and every time the dad laughed. Not to say that it is a good example to have any student see you drinking or smoking, but I personally don't think it's enough to have you fired!!
     
  17. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    So is drinking by non-teaching adults frowned upon as well? I don't mean excessive either. A few beers watching a game or wine with dinner.
     
  18. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    I think probably in a few professions. My dad is a pastor and I know it would be a big deal if he drank in public. But as far as the majority goes, I don't think it's a big deal. I personally don't think it's a big deal for teachers, either.
     
  19. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    I have to agree with Sarge. I tend to drink when watching my sexy ex-man, man, whatever he is, play hockey. I catch every game I can, all season long. I'm not out in public, but still, I do have to go buy the booze somewhere.
     
  20. Samothrace

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    On a random note this reminds me of a girl I went to college with that did her student teaching in Germany and her telling us about the teachers drinking in the lounge at lunch and finding it weird that she didnt (and she drinks...it was just a culture shock to her! lol)
     
  21. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Well Do you know why People in the Bible Belt don't make love standing up?


    They don't want people to think they are Dancing
     
  22. Proud2BATeacher

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    I wish some parents would complain about some of the clothing worn by some of the female staff at my school;p.
     
  23. INteacher

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    I graduated high school in North Carolina and most all of my family still lives there. In that town, yes, drinking is frowned upon by a lot of people. When some of my classmates began planning our 20th high school reunion, about 3/4 of class planned to boycott the reunion if it was held in a place were alcohol would be served. My teacher friends who teach in that area would never been seen in public drinking.

    Now, where I live now it is a non issue. However, if you remember my post on the tenure thread, it does become an issue if you show up to teach drunk :whistle:
     
  24. Jem

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    My husband has never had a drink in his life, and he gets ribbed at work functions for not drinking. They pull out six packs at brainstorming meetings. When I worked at the property management office, I found it so odd that I could order a drink at lunch and it was considered normal.

    Teachers really do live and work in a bubble. Very few professions are held to the same standards, yet people working in those professions still have children and are around their children while drinking and smoking, etc. And those are the same people who judge the teachers! It really boggles my mind.

    Any why are we held to these 'standards'?? If a child sees us drinking in public, they will think it's ok to grab a wine cooler from the fridge when they get home? They've seen their parents drink a hundred times-if they don't drink because of their parents, I doubt a TEACHER is going to be the tipping point. Is it because people think we won't be sober on Monday morning if we have a few drinks on Friday or Saturday?? Absurd.
     
  25. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    This is priceless! I can think of a lot of people around here that it fits, though! I teach in a rural school in a rural setting, in the heart of the Bible Belt. If I was out partying every night there would be issues, but a group of us always go to see Wayne Toups at the one and only club in our area. When we go, we go with other teachers and parents from our school. We all have a drink or two, unless we are the driver. We all dance, we all have fun. Nobody frowns on us for it.

     
  26. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    While I probably would not be called on the carpet for wearing a bikini, I would be prayed for on Sunday. I would never purchase alcohol in the town I teach in or near. I would be "talked to about my behavior" if someone said anything to my principal. She would just tell me to be more discreet.

    I was at a function with other teachers on a Saturday afternoon. A mother of a classmate of my son had bad mouth one of the teachers the previous day. I mentioned to the teacher because she and I are friends and I knew that the child lied to his parents. I was called in on the carpet because the woman who bad mouthed the teacher told my principal that we were discussing students and that it was breaking confidentiality. I felt that since she verbally assaulted my friend in not only my presence, but several other people, I could share. My principal and I had words. I told her that she could not censor me off the school grounds and if the parent (who also works at our school) had a problem, she should keep her mouth close in the school hallway and not to gossip about fellow staff.

    I was shunned for a few days.

    I would be talked about if I was seen mowing in a halter top. That is why my husband and I live 16 miles from our school. We don't drink, but if we wanted to it would be ok. But being seen in places other than a restaurant or my home with alcohol are frowned on by our district. I would not lose my job for this behavior.
     
  27. Canadian Gal

    Canadian Gal Habitué

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    If I wore it to school I'd understand! I was in Walmart on Saturday!
     
  28. Ima Teacher

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    As far as I know, teachers here are free to engage in any legal adult activities . . . but I would expect ANY professional to behave professionally.

    I don't have to worry about being seen buying or drinking alcohol or wearing a bathing suit. We're a dry county, and there is no public pool.

    I did, however, mow the yard wearing a tank top, and I went to the mailbox in my pajamas this morning. :lol:
     
  29. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    What exactly is a "dry county"? And if that indeed means no drinking within the county, how did that ever come to be? :huh:

    Sorry, I definitely do not have these issues where I live. While I would not intentionally get wasted in front of parents/staff, I certainly drink. Just this weekend I have run into three students, one while at a resturant (halter top and drink), one at a dance recital (low cut dress), and another in my front yard (pjs). We live away from where I currently teach for a reason, but not because we engage in illegal behavior, simply for our privacy.
     
  30. Ima Teacher

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    A "dry" county (or city) prohibits the sale of alcohol. It's not all that uncommon in the south, although a lot of them have voted to become "wet" in recent years.

    The county to the west of us is wet. They have liquor stores and sell beer at the stores, although there is no alcohol sold on Sunday. In another nearby county, the county itself is dry, but within the city limits drinks can be bought at restaurants or bars.
     
  31. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I'm living in the wrong country.
     
  32. JustMe

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    Oh my goodness...I can't believe you don't know what a dry county is. That's for some reason funny to me. :)

    I live in a dry county...after prohibition I suppose some counties just chose to continue not selling alcohol. I'm so glad I live in a dry county. I remember when I was on vacation once, after high school, I went into a grocery and saw they were selling beer...I was stunned!
     
  33. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Alice~I think that is an excellent way to break the ice! I bet parents and teachers both relax a little bit during the party..making it easier to talk to everyone.
     
  34. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    How in the world have I never heard of a "dry county?" You mean you can't buy alcohol in the whole county? Not even at a grocery store?:eek:
     
  35. Proud2BATeacher

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    I worked in a dry county when I taught in Georgia. The only places that you could get an alcoholic beverage were in restaurants.
     
  36. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    When I joined the Air Force, I spent 8 weeks in Altus Oklahoma.

    It was a dry county. Didn't seem to curtail drinking that much, though.
     
  37. ms.defelice

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    I am glad someone asked, because I also have not heard of a dry county before. Where I live, alcohol is not sold in grocery stores, only at package stores (liquor stores). It is only in recent years that they are allowed to sell it on a Sunday.
     
  38. TeacherShelly

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    I went to an outdoor movie night for kids and spent the evening there tonight. I had a glass of pear cider, which was delicious. Most of the families there were from my school, and the host's daughter will be in my class next year. No Big Deal.

    I think if a teacher smoked, that would be another story. That is a big deal, since the smoke hurts others and is generally seen as a dirty bad habit.
     
  39. TeacherGroupie

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    Sarge, was the base dry, too?
     
  40. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Shelly, we still have the odd 1 or 2 teachers at our school that go out past the parking lot to smoke. They aren't on school grounds there, so there's not much that can be done.
     
  41. TeacherShelly

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    ChristyF, it's a hard habit to break. I think it's more looked-down-upon than drinking, though, at least around here. And the smell, of course, is really strong and travels with the smoker into the classroom. Ugh.
     

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