Two Teachers– Too Far?

(via: http://www.babble.com/CS/blogs/strollerderby/2008/08/23-End%20of%20Month/teacher.jpg)

I actually first heard about this a while ago, but I wasn’t writing much at the time so I read it, ranted to the Hubster about how much it bothered me, then forgot about it.

Yesterday I found it again, and still felt the uncontrollable urge to rant and vent after seeing it (again) so I thought I’d share it with you and get your take on it.

I am a teacher. I love teaching. I like to think that this profession chose me instead of the other way around which makes me feel just a little less dismal about the whole there-are-absolutely-no-jobs-in-the-greater-Toronto-area bit. Because I mean really, what choice did I have in the matter? It picked me, and you can’t stop love.

Anyway.

Teaching is a wonderful, wonderful vocation. It certainly has its challenges and comes with an unbelievable amount of work and stress of every variety, but despite it all it sucks you in and makes you love it. Being a secondary teacher, I’m quite partial to working with teenagers as I’ve always found that you can give them more responsibilities, freedoms and challenges as they begin to shape themselves into the adults they will one day be. That’s not to say that elementary teachers don’t do this as well, we simply get to build on the foundations they’ve worked so hard to build. Having taught both streams, in many ways I believe that secondary teachers have a bit of an easier job. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still incredibly hard work, but as students get older we are able to treat them more and more like young adults and step out of the “parent-ish” role.

As fun as this can be, it’s also very dangerous territory. Being around teenagers all day can bring out your youthful, funny side and it can be easy to forget that these people are not your friends or peers. They are your students and should be treated and respected as such. My behaviour in the classroom with students is not the same as when I am out with my friends. There are boundaries.

And sometimes teachers forget.

A month or so I saw an article come up on my Twitter entitled “Two Teachers, One Chair”. I realize now that it’s a “play” on another video that I have absolutely no desire to watch, but I did watch this video. As I watched this poor quality, student-taped video of two teachers at a pep rally my jaw slowly dropped. I’ll admit, I might be a bit of a prude, but I think their behaviour is way over the line.

The video takes place at a school pep rally where, granted, spirits are high and teachers have an opportunity to “let loose” a bit to pump up their student body. Everyone gets caught up in a moment from time to time, but these two teachers seem to mistake the school gym for a strip club as a male teacher performs a graphic lap dance for a female staff member,who responds by throwing her head back and gyrating her hips on a chair. The students in the crowd begin cheering and laughing, but as it continues for nearly a minute the reactions change and you can even hear one student say, “Now that’s just wrong.”

**Note: It took me FOREVER to find the video again as it has been removed from nearly every site. I don’t know how long this one will remain up so watch it while you can!

Okay. Let’s be clear–I was a high school student once and I know that kids are exposed to things every day both at school and all over the internet. My issue is that this video wasn’t taped by a couple of kids who snuck into a bar and filmed their teachers behaving this way on their own time in a venue where it might be more appropriate, this was at a school. During school hours. In front of hundreds of students.

I mean, really? What does that even have to do with a pep rally? (I’m not even sure I want to know what the pep rally was for… haha) Ugh.

So, am I overreacting on this one, or were these teachers over the line? Because students are exposed to graphic sexual content online, on TV and in movies every day, should we stop trying to filter it out of schools? Why should a teacher’s professional behaviour even matter?

I mean really, who cares, right?

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8 Comments

  • Raendrop

    Completely inappropriate I think. We teachers should be role models. And yes, kids see that kind of stuff everywhere else, but I don't think we should present it to them like that in a school environment. Maybe I put all of my teachers up on a pedestal, but no way would that have ever happened at my high school (yes it was Catholic too). We owe it to our students to show them better behaviours than that. IMHO.

  • Cindy

    I am in agreement with you that this totally crossed the line. In my opinion, many young people in today's society do not have instilled in them the desire to do things just because it is the “right” thing to do. I see this in the school where I teach. For example, we have a dress code like many schools (dress-down Friday's where blue jeans can be worn, etc.). However, I've seen staff wear jeans on other days because the admin are out of the school at meetings. I wonder why many of this generation (those in their 20's and 30's) have such a difference in belief of what is “right”. Is it because religion, which was a backbone of our society in the past, is no longer the norm?

  • Red

    Yeah….that kind of thing is why I am becoming more and more ANTI public schooling. Sorry dearie, and FULLY hope you find a job SOON buuuuuuuut I have no intention of sending my kid to an institution for hours a day where some union will assign goodness knows WHO to have such an incredibly influential role on her. It's just not going to happen. The standards we hold teachers to have come WAY WAY down as we become more 'tolerant' and 'accepting' – I'm ALL for tolerance and equality, but there are some people I just don't want teaching my children. 'Nuff said. ;)

  • Faith

    I'm adding my vote to the “totally inappropriate” side. Even setting aside issues of morality and modesty, this is simply unprofessional and affects the way those students look at their teachers. If you want kids to learn anything at all from you, you have to be respected by them, and that's an extremely difficult job with teenagers. Hard enough as it is, without making it worse like this. And those two are ruining it for the rest.

  • KristinaP

    I am totally going to teach pole dancing to the kids in my anger management class. They will love it!!

    I saw this video a few weeks ago and was shocked! They seriously thought this was a good idea?

  • Kandace

    Definitely Not cool in my opinion. I really don't see how that would be seen as a good idea, but Let's Say they decided a fake lap dance was ok, but that part where he puts his face down like in her lap??? Seriously??? I'm all disapproving that way. If my husband saw those he'd try to talk me into homeschooling.

    Wow.

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