When do you touch a student?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Bella2010, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Dec 10, 2014

    Just curious. There's a teacher who holds a student's face when they're in trouble so that they'll look her in the eye. I don't mean like a two handed coddle kind of hold, and I don't mean a fingertips digging into the skin kind of hold, just like a firm hold where the kid can't move his or her head. I've seen her grab them by the arm and not let go so they have to walk beside her. Again, I don't mean an intense grabbing and dragging, it's firm enough where the kid can't squirm away.

    In college, and it's also my personal philosophy, we were told not to touch a kid in an authoritative manner unless they are about to hurt you or someone else.

    I was just curious. I'm trying not to judge, she may have 100 good reasons why she does this, IDK. These are 2nd graders, BTW.

    On a motherly, personal level, I'd been a little irritated if she did this to my kiddo.

    Beth
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 10, 2014

    I don't know I would not do this. I was told to never ever touch a student when we're upset, or the student is upset, or any of us SEEM upset, and not to do that during discipline.
    What this teacher is doing can go either way, I guess I'd have to see it, but to be safe, I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't want someone holding my child's face, and grabbing their arm.

    Yesterday I was standing in the doorway telling students (for the 100th time) that they can't bring food inside, they must put it in the trash, or give it to me to hold it. This severe ADHD student (yesterday unmedicated) who also has major issues with boundaries walked into me. We were chest to chest, I said "boundaries!", 'back off please' but I also as a reflex held up my hands in front of me, of course she walked into them. My hands touched her shoulders. She started screaming profanities and how I touched her, and because she wouldn't stop, I had to send her out. Wrote her up and wrote exactly what happened, and I'm glad my P believed me. In these situations if the student makes a complaint they'd have to investigate, and even if they find that I wasn't wrong, it's still an investigation and it doesn't sound good.
    Of course i wasn't wrong, she's the one who walked into me, but reasons like this is not good to touch students in general.
     
  4. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Dec 10, 2014

    I will give a nudge on the back to point them in a direction I need them to go. I also will put my arm out to block them from going in a direction I don't want them to go.

    I will jokingly grab the top of their head when they are standing too close to me after I say "If I can grab the top of your head you are too close and need to back up."

    I would do neither of the things your colleague does. Especially the latter. If the kid were to go limp, an injury could easily result.
     
  5. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Dec 10, 2014

    I teach first grade, and the only time I really touch students is to remind them to behave appropriately. For example, tapping their shoulder to remind them to sit down or be quiet. They hug me a lot, which I guess is also touching.

    I would never touch a child aggressively, although there have been occasions when I've tugged on an arm or walked next to a student with my arm around them to "steer" them where they need to go (such as when they're causing a disruption and they need to move elsewhere).

    Grabbing a child firmly by the arm to move them... I've seen that in some situations that I considered appropriate. For example, while I student taught, my mentor teacher and I had morning recess duty and constantly struggled with a girl who would sit and swing on the tetherballs and run around after recess ended throwing things at us to avoid going to class (she had known behavior issues). My mentor teacher and I followed the rules diligently and didn't physically drag her to class -- we would chase her around until she finally gave in and went to class with us. The principal came around once, physically pulled her to her feet, and forced her to walk with her. I think the girl needed to see actual authority and consequences happening. But I don't think it's "safe" for a teacher to do this, with the scrutiny we face. And it can really create a power struggle if the kid refuses and fights back.

    I would *never* grab a child by the face... even gently. If I want a kid to look at me, sometimes I'll put my hand on top of their head gently, and remind them to look at my eyes. In first grade, sometimes kids "drift away" from you and get distracted, so this isn't just for bad behavior. But grabbing someone *on* the face... that's a bit much. I don't see the point, and it sounds demeaning.
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Dec 10, 2014

    Occasionally I tap a student on the shoulder or head, but that's about it.
     
  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Holding a student's face is old school, and I don't believe it is appropriate for any teacher to do this any more. I know where I teach, a teacher would get in trouble for this. I am guessing other schools, it could be the same.

    The only time for touch for me is a high five or a gentle occasional tap on the shoulder. Some students still give side-hugs, but that is their initiative not mine.
     
  8. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Dec 10, 2014

    I do things like this, too.
     
  9. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    ETA: this is teacher #3 I'm talking about. :| I'm really tired of seeing her get away with all the crap she's pulled this year. She got her knickers in a knot again today over something admin told her to do but she didn't agree with. :rolleyes:
     
  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I like to err on the side of caution. There are generally only two circumstances that lead me to touch a kid: restraining them when they're harming themselves/others or returning a hug when they reach for one.

    There was a time when a kindergartener tried to kiss me! Thankfully, I backed up quickly and said, "Save those kisses for your family!" Scared the **** out of me!
     
  11. miss-m

    miss-m Groupie

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    Dec 11, 2014

    I limit contact to light taps/nudges to redirect, a hug if the kid hugs me, and high fives. It makes me really angry when I see teachers manhandling students though -- gripping an arm or face isn't ok if it's not for restraint to prevent someone from getting hurt. Physically FORCING a student to do something (look you in the face, move to another spot) isn't something to be done lightly and is disrespectful to the student, imo.
    I saw a teacher leader do that to a first grader in my internship once, and I was so mad it took every ounce of self control to not yell at her. She grabbed him and physically tried to drag him to his seat -- he went limp and she literally dragged him across the floor. I was in shock.
     
  12. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I'm the type that if they're going the wrong direction, I'm not going to direct them as I already had given instructions on where to go/what to do and if they didn't listen/didn't obey, they'll simply get a consequence later. This, of course, applies to big moves. I'll touch on the arm/shoulder for minor misdirection.

    But if you think it warrants a big physical touch, too much has already happened. Simpler and I feel more effective to let it play out and give consequence.

    I suppose I'm saying "No, that kind of touch is far too much and does no good".
     
  13. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 27, 2014

    I rarely ever touch students. I feel like this would be more necessary with little ones- i.e. hand holding- I see a lot of K, 1 and 2 teacher holding hands of unruly students in line. I definitely wouldn't risk touching students in the way you're describing. The only time I think I ever touch students is to guide them in a direction. (IE I tell the girls' line to walk in the classroom and a boy starts walking and I gently touch his shoulder and remind him I called the girls.) Even that rarely ever happens.
     
  14. TamaraF

    TamaraF Companion

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    Dec 27, 2014

    My first reaction to the "face holding" idea is that if someone did that to ME, I would not deal well. Therefore I would never do it to a student.
     
  15. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Dec 27, 2014

    I never made it a practice of touching a student in any way for any reason. (I'm not even the type to give a high 5.) In my opinion, it's just not good & I'm not risking the kid misinterpreting what I did.
     
  16. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Dec 28, 2014

    I never ever touch them in a disciplinary way, but I also teach middle school. I imagine in primary I did more shoulder tapping, hand holding, etc. But I've never touched anyone's face...that seems weird to me.
     

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