What can teachers "get away with"

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by callmebob, Jun 30, 2011.

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  1. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    We all hear it, "educators are held to a higher standard." Where is the line for this though? What things should or should not be held against a teacher for doing them in their personal life. What events, decisions, or mistakes should either be forgiven or overlooked? If something has no bearing on ones ability to teach and it is not something that effects children, should it be held against a teacher?
     
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  3. old_School

    old_School Rookie

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    Depends, we reffering to something morally wrong to begain with or just something in general? For example: watching Two and Half Men, i'm reminded of the teacher turned stripper. Ahh yeah I think that would be morally and ethically bad. I would not want a stripper or former stripper teaching my kids.

    Now something innocent like publicly cursing, I could likely over look that issue. As long as the educator does not curse in the classroom around my kids. Basicly the question your asking is what is profesional and what is not profesional for a educator in the public eye.
     
  4. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Those are good examples. What if the girl was a stripper when she was younger, decided to turn her life around and go to college. She works hard, gets a degree and becomes qualified to be a teacher. Is her previous legal career relevant?

    As for the cursing, if it comes out in the classroom, I make sure its under my breath so students can't hear (haven't been heard yet, and we all know the kids would tell me).
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm sure there are activities and behaviors we could agree upon as black or white when it comes to 'drawing the line'. It's the 'gray zone' where it gets mucky. It's not about 'getting away' with the decisions we make. It's about being responsible. The best advice is to always remember that we are in positions of trust...err on the side of caution!
     
  6. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I didn't mean get away with in that sense, thus the quotations. More like, things that we do as a part of our life or things that happen that we regret. There are situations that can fit both.
    I also think some things are not as black and white when you get into moral issues for teachers. There is for sure a lot of grey.
     
  7. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    I have a feeling a LOT of kids could tell a LOT of stories about teachers cursing in the classroom- esp. in middle/high school :(
     
  8. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    We have a professional code of ethics in my state, and there are many things that could cost you your job, ranging from major offenses: child endangerment, being arrested, etc., to "minor" offenses: posting photos of yourself drinking on Facebook, etc. I think the "line" depends a lot on the culture of the area in which you teach.
     
  9. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    We've had a couple of threads regarding teachers that USED to be either strippers or porn stars, but got out of the industry and became teachers. Many members in their community and on our forum felt these women should NOT be teachers, even though they were no longer involved in their previous jobs.

    I, personally, would not have a problem with someone that USED to work in the industry, but no longer does. In fact, when I first went away to a big university, one of the dancers at the local strip club WAS a college student that was using that job to pay her way through college. I can only hope her college job did not impact her future career after she graduated.

    As for the shades of gray, it definitely depends on the community, social demographics and expectations of the general population and school officials.

    For instance, my hometown was "dry" for many, many years. We only got liquor-by-the-drink about two years ago, allowing local restaurants to serve alcohol. Most of these restaurants now have bars in them and are very popular, but I know there are some parents that would not like seeing a local teacher or school official drinking at the bar, even though the parent is probably having a beer themselves. That's just the way it is around here.

    There is also the chance I could get a DWI if I drink 3 or more drinks and drive home. That would mean the END of my bus-driver license forever and I would just have to see what impact it might or might not have on my teaching position.

    It is necessarily a career-killer, because our current superintendent admitted to a previous DWI charge in his interview with the school board for his position. The fact he didn't try to hide it apparently played in his favor.

    A few years ago, I interviewed for a job as a parole officer. The head of the department was a HS friend of mine. One of the questions he asked was "Let's say you have to work an evening shift one night and you stop at a restaurant to get some supper. That's perfectly fine, but what will you tell a customer who sees you and wants to know why you are driving around in a county car on your personal time?" I said "I will thank the customer for being concerned about their tax dollars being misused and I certainly understand why they would ask me about that, but I'm actually on company time rather than personal time at the moment."

    Anyway, we DO have to always keep in mind the perception our actions would create and also remember it doesn't matter if that perception is fair or not, it will still influence how the public feels about us.
     
  10. historynerd

    historynerd New Member

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    Teachers are held to a higher standard than anyone else as I've come to learn. A old dui arrest may prevent me from teaching in a public school but it was a non-factor in electing a President.
     
  11. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    You are right, it probably does depend on the area you live and the culture there for what is acceptable for each teacher personally.

    You mentioned being arrested. Do you think an arrest should be an automatic loss of the ability to teach? What if found innocent or what if it is something smaller scale?
    As for the idea of drinking pictures on social sites like facebook; if you are 21 it is legal to drink. I don't see pictures of drinking any different than being seen out in public at a restaurant having a drink. I was seen once at a grocery store while purchasing alcohol.
    Can it be known that teachers drink, but should not be seen? This one is just very odd to me.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    If you have the time and the self control to moniter the volume then you have the time to find an alternate expression.

    I don't curse in front of my own children, I most certainly won't do it in front of someone else's.

    For me it's pretty easy. I do nothing in class or in public that I wouldn't do in front of my principal or the nastiest parent I know.
     
  13. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    They don't know that I am, and it is not in front of them. Usually when walking away from a student, or at my desk. Most of the time there is no volume at all or it is kept as a thought.
     
  14. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    I actually really like the idea of a professional code of ethics. There are so many great teachers out there however, it is a reality that we have bad, inappropriate teachers who are still in classrooms due to tenure and/or lack of adminstration desire to go through due process.
     
  15. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    You are still in front of students when you are walking away from them or at your desk... Just because you're not face to face with less than 2 feet of personal space between you doesn't mean that you're not in front of students.
     
  16. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    It doesn't happen often and a student has never noticed one of the rare occasions that it has.
     
  17. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Doesn't change the fact that you are swearing in front of your students... Just saying.
     
  18. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Does that make me awful, if they never know? I believe you will probably say yes, but to me it is nowhere near the same as them knowing.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Why do you feel the need to say it at all?
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Do you deliberately write these types of things to get a rise out of people?

    C'mon--do you really swear in the classroom (even if it's just under your breath)?

    If the answer is YES...well--I'll keep my comments to myself!
     
  21. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Actually no, this wasn't even meant to be about what happens in the classroom, more so what happens out.
    I know it is not a good thing that I do (mouthed to myself or kept in my head, I try to keep them just as thoughts). I try not to let it happen often, it is one of my faults, I admit that. But I don't believe it to be awful since the students never know.
     
  22. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I don't Need to say it, they are thoughts, that sometimes come out. I try not to, but they do slip on a RARE occasion. We all have faults, nobody is perfect.
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    to your knowledge....
     
  24. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Ok...so the thread got a little off track. I think we have addressed that one issue.
     
  25. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    One time I had imbibed a couple of cocktails and was feeling no pain. Wound up running into a former student (I had subbed in his English class a lot when when he was in 7th grade) with his parents. It was a little embarrassing to feel that off my game, but it was summer, I was teaching at another school and I'm WELL over 21.
     
  26. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I'm confused. "Teacher turned stripper" means she was a teacher and quit to become a stripper. I don't think the adult entertainment industry has a problem with that.
     
  27. old_School

    old_School Rookie

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    Teaching and Porn = bad situation. In middle school many moons ago, one of our head administrators made several "movies". Parents and student found/discovered these "movies". The outcome cost the staff member their self respect and almost their job.

    I understand when your young, you make mistakes. However, here is my standing on the situation. A educator to me is someone who sets the example and raises the bar. Publicaly your viewed as a extremely important person. Probably more important then the town Mayor by parents. So if you have a past, you better hide it the best you can or you will lose it all.

    When we think of educators; porn and anything sex related do not or should not come to mind. Well unless your a middle school/high school student with raging horomons lol Point is its not socialy accepted for a educator to have a past in certain industries. You can tell me I'm wrong but you know as a whole parents would not stand for it. Overall parents would not accept a porn star educating their child.

    This does not mean the parents our correct in casting judgment, I'm just implying socialy its not acceptable. If you were in the industry, I'd recomend a differnt career route. Probaly something out of the public eye would be best.
     
  28. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    The funny thing with me is I have a pretty foul mouth at home and around adults. But the moment the kids walk into the room, I don't even think swear words.
     
  29. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    In my opinion, a teacher does need to realize his or her profession demands a great deal of conscious thought on how his or her actions are perceived. Because we work with students, we are held to a higher standard. This simply means that we should be cautious and discreet, and if something in our personal life negatively affects how we are perceived, those perceptions will likely have great consequences for our professional lives.
     
  30. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    I don't usually jump into these threads, but I would just like to say that the massive crusade against swearing baffles me. Sure, some words are certainly distasteful, but some folks are acting like a curse word is one of the most terrible sins a teacher can commit.

    I teach high school. I have occasionally sworn in class. Never AT or ABOUT a student, but every once in awhile I'll throw a "dam" or "crap" "@ss" or whatever, into a lecture when the class seems particularly zoned out or disinterested in a topic, and it has quite the amusing and effective effect. I know many of you will tell me that I can easily find other ways to grab their attention (and yep, I certainly can), but I just don't see this as terribly harmful. And neither has anyone else in my building frankly. Granted, I avoid the more extreme words, but still... seems like we get awfully worked up over something fairly minor.
     
  31. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I guess I missed the post that claimed swearing in class is the worst sin a teacher con commit, but I concur that foul language is not appropriate in the classroom. Period.
     
  32. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    I'm the same way.
     
  33. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Teachers are role models. Whether you like it or not, students look up to their teachers. It is hard for students to recognize teachers as regular people, which is why we have to be aware of our actions. I live and teach in a small town, that is technically dry, although recently a few places have recently been allowed to sell drinks by the glass. If I want to have an adult beverage, I will do so in the privacy of my own home, and I will not publish public photographs of it. It goes with the normes of where I live---was I aware of this before I entered the profession? Absolutely. Am I over 21 and legally allowed to drink? Absolutely, but I'm not going to risk my professional reputation over a glass of wine. (And yes, I live in the Bible Belt and I know it's not like this in other parts of the country.)

    If a teacher was arrested and found innocent, it could be a good life lesson for the students (as far as how to give second chances, the legal system, etc). However, in my area, it would be really difficult to come back from that and remain in a classroom.

    Common sense goes a long way.
     
  34. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure I see it as a massive crusade; more of a difference of opinon.

    But I do think there's a world of difference between throwing a word at high school students for shock value and trying to "get away with" a curse in front of 4th graders.

    Still, I'm not sure I see anyone terribly worked up, merely a lot of people who seem to share the same opinion.
     
  35. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The more I think about it, the more I have a deep divide in my language at home and outside. What's more, it carries over into my creative writing. The only time I've ever put even minor profanities into my writing was in my last play, and that was at the suggestion of my producer who wanted it to sound more realistic.
     
  36. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I'm not a fan of curse words, not even in my personal life. Only when I'm really stressed out I may use one or two. I believe all teachers should set an example by not using them in school. However, as a student I remember some teachers using them once in a while as shock factor and I didn't think it was that bad.
     
  37. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Speaking of foul language, what about movies that have bad words and are shown to students? I'm talking about some PG-13 students for middle school or high school students. These days it's hard to find any that don't contain one, two or more. If I didn't want students to be exposed to any foul language in school then any movie containing any of these words should be avoided. What about books? There are some books that also contain these words. Should we avoid them alltogether in school?
     
  38. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Language is important, even the more vulgar and base words. If the context is educational, I wouldn't bowdlerize the material. For example, if I'm teaching "The Miller's Tale by Chaucer", well, I'm going to have to talk about some extremely coarse behavior. It uses language I cannot bear to use in my own speech, and I can be pretty crude with friends. However, in the context of the lesson, it's there and it's a disservice if I cut it out.
     
  39. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Books are interesting. I know I have some books on my shelf that I encourage students to read that have swear words in them. Some kids ignore them, others point them out, all depends on the student.
     
  40. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Wow, I did not know there were still places that are considered dry, besides college campuses (which is a joke in itself).
     
  41. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Should it? Should simple perceptions have that great of an effect on our professional lives?
    Do you think about being cautious and discreet when you are out in public? If a situation comes up, do you (or anyone else) stop yourself simply because you are a teacher and if you werent you would continue on. To me, we should not have to, when I leave my school I try and forget my profession and just be me.
     
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