Monday, May 14, 2018

Teacher Actions Count

Recently a teacher resigned from her job after a snapchat video was seen where she is waking up a student with her hands and feet. There has been a big uproar in the community in support of the teacher. The student and the parents say she was just joking and didn’t do any harm. Students and parents say she had unconventional teaching tactics and was loved for that. The latest is that “Lawyers to work on compromise with Anderson Co. teacher, school board says”

I think that teachers need to remember that at any time, their actions could be recorded by someone’s phone whether you know it or not. I also think that teachers should not act in any way differently than they would if the student’s parents were in the room.

I believe the teacher acted unprofessionally and that if the parents were in the room, she would not have done this.

But I don’t think being fired from her job should have been the result of something like this and the administration overreacted. Sure, she shouldn’t have done it but a public and personal apology to the student was all that needed to be done.

Years ago, I used to joke with a student in a wheelchair. I didn’t mean anything disrespectful but thought I was acknowledging his disability instead of ignoring it. The student joked back with me. I mentioned that he should have a step on the back, so I could get on it and get a ride with him. Someone overheard this and I was called into the office. Looking back, I could have been in the same mess as this teacher! The parents and students were called in and I was asked to apologize, which I sincerely did! The student and the parents made sure I knew, in front of the administrators, that they were not the ones who made the complaint, and they appreciated that I had such a good rapport with the student. In fact, they said that I was only one who even talked about his wheelchair instead of pretending it didn’t exist. I promise you that I did not joke about it again after that though.

Maybe the “yardstick” we need to use with all of our actions is to ask the question, “Would I do this in front of the student’s parents?” As for my wheelchair joke, I believe I would. Maybe the teacher would have repeated her actions too.

I think we need to stop overreacting and putting teachers in a bad light so often. Teachers are encouraged to be innovative and creative in order to keep our students engaged. When we think outside the box and do things, we should not be so quick to stifle this.

How do you feel about this situation? Please share.

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