A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Boundary issues

One thing you must learn in education, kids, is that you have to have some logical, common-sense boundaries.

Have the kids call you by your last name or last initial if you have an unpronounceable name. Try to not be alone in a room with a student with the door shut. Do NOT NOT NOT become friends with your students on Facebook or MySpace. But here's a new one I learned this week:

Don't sit down. Because some kid may come over and just randomly sit on your lap. And what do you do? Raise your hands so it doesn't look like you are touching or holding that kid there and STAND UP while saying, "I am not comfortable with you doing that."


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At 3/4/09, 5:51 PM, Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Thanks for the warning, Ms. Cornelius. I haven't had any lap-dancers, er, sitters yet--and I don't intend to!

At 3/4/09, 8:33 PM, Blogger Mister Teacher said...

Yikes indeed! Though Amen to the first point. I have a colleague that insists on walking down the hall saying, "JOHNNY BOY!!! WHATS UP??" when he sees me. This wouldn't bug me so much except that both of our classes are standing right there!!! Unprofessional!

At 3/5/09, 10:29 PM, Blogger Polski3 said...

Does this tie in with the issues/problems I read about recently about too many "young adults" having problems in the work world with their boss telling them what to do, being at work on time, dressing in a manner appropriate for a job with the public, showing up for work, being expected to work and not text/chat with your friends on the phone at work, etc. ?

Mrs. Polski3 prefers subbing with second and third graders, in part because they often want to please their teacher and they have, on occasion, given her hugs when they see her again on campus. From what she tells me, it almost sounds like many of them don't get many hugs at home.....once in awhile she'll get a "clinger" that she has to gently disengage from a leg, but what do you do, at least with the little kids, totally reject them? Now, JHS and HS kids, thats another issue, especially in today's weird world. As a male teacher, no hugs, NEVER a student sitting on my lap....thats never happened in my 25 years of teaching and I don't plan on it in the next ten or so years either....

So, Ms. Cornelia, WHAT prompted this post?

At 3/6/09, 9:29 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Polski, I think you can guess.

At 3/6/09, 9:38 AM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

"...kid may come over and just randomly sit on your lap"

Thanks for the warning. That would never have occurred to me.

At 3/6/09, 8:11 PM, Blogger Lking4truth said...

Yes I taught in a k-3 elementary school, and I would often have students come up to me for a hug before leaving school while I was on bus duty. To me, this was appropriate. (now these weren’t hugs that you would give to your family or own kids, just kind of like those “side-hugs”) I agree with everything you said about boundaries, safe guards. In the elementary school when a kid goes to give a teacher a hug at an appropriate time in an appropriate manner, this should be considered okay.

At 3/7/09, 4:10 AM, Blogger sexy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3/7/09, 1:09 PM, Blogger teachergirl said...

WTH? As a friend often says, could Judgment Day be any closer?

At 3/7/09, 1:36 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Listen, we can't behave as if we are never going to touch a student. Fist bumps, complex handshakes, side to side hugs, the soft slug to the shoulder-- all okay if it doesn't make anyone feel uncomfortable.

I have had students cry on my shoulder, but I don't SEEK OUT students crying on my shoulder nor do I openly invite it, because that, my friends, is the sign of someone grooming someone vulnerable for inappropriate contact.

I have had little kids hug me often, and sometimes the older kids do too. But hugs should not be teacher initiated. And laps are off limits!!!!!

I know that this kid likes me, since he tells me so. I like him too. But stay the heck off my lap!

You know, when I was fatter, I don't think they coulda found my lap. That must be it.


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