And We Have Another One

Last year, I penned an angry missive related to teachers engaging in inappropriate relationships with their students. Well, I literally can cut and paste that angry missive, as it’s akin to this week’s ridiculous and sad scandal. This time the players have changed, and it’s a first-year, female teacher who was caught having an inappropriate relationship with a 16 year-old student. So, because she chose to romp with the student, continued to sneak around even during the investigation, and lied to everyone, she is now going to prison and has lost her teaching permit–and her livelihood.

What is going on here!? Something in the water? Teachers gone wild? If you Google “Teachers having inappropriate relationships with their students,” I promise you will see so many stories pop up that it will have you sick to your stomach, and scratching your head in disbelief. Whatever happened to going to school to do your job—not your students? While most of us chose this noble profession to impart knowledge and share our strengths and talents with others while making our community a better place to be, it was NOT to use it as a mechanism for dating. Parents send their most precious gifts to us, trusting that while they are in our care we are protecting them. I am not a parent yet, but I cannot even imagine the horror of discovering such an atrocity. I am heated just thinking about it! Interestingly enough, if you poll the average male on this subject, there is an abject double standard. Male friends of mine have often said, “Oh, yeah. I had a crush on Miss So and So in school. She was SO fine! If she would have asked me, I would have totally done it!” or “What? A dude was dating his teacher in high school? Good for him!” As if there is some fraternal school rite of passage for getting it on (proverbially speaking) with a teacher.

Now here’s where some men flip the script: if the perpetrator happens to be a male teacher dating his female student, he’s a pedophile, a pervert, and he ought to be locked away forever. What’s going on here? Can we blame social media for facilitating some of these inappropriate relationships when it’s as easy as the click of a button to “Like” or “Friend” a student? How about Tweeting inappropriate pictures and messages to students? One female student shared that her relationship started on Facebook with her teacher because “He saw that I was a smart, unique, and goal-setting person.” Can you not find all of those qualities in someone closer to your age? Playing on the emotions of a not-quite-an adult, by using characteristically positive attributes in an adult-like, yet pervy way? To me this that also spells these additional five words– and let’s all say it together: LOSER!

It is our responsibility—ALL of us, to decry this rampant lapse of moral judgment that is making a mockery of all the hard working teachers who have apposite, respectful, school-supported relationships. The coaches who offer words of encouragement, the teachers who stay after school to tutor (doors open, witnesses nearby, of course)…those who serve as pseudo-parents, counselors, and nurturers of dreams and realities. None of us are completely infallible, but we owe it to our children to be honorable, wise, and modeling good choices that will follow us—and them, in life.

And so now, we have another one.

There’s a Lesson In Zumba For Us All: Just Give It All You Got!

So, I finally went and jumped on the Zumba bandwagon. Folks who were already attending the classes were right–I’m hooked! The music, the moves, and the attitude of not giving a darn who saw me getting my dance on, was inspiring. It was SO much fun! I especially loved the fact that there were men in the class (three to be exact), and one was so rhythmically challenged, he nearly took out an entire group of dancers while swinging his arms. But you know what? It didn’t matter. He was in there dancing, laughing, feeling the music, having a good time, and trying his best. When the instructor introduced a new step, he kept on going until he mastered it (or came close). Isn’t that what it’s about? Just give it all you got! It’s a lesson we can all appreciate. Do what you love, be in the moment, but just make sure you give it all you got.

“Don’t Let Him Play You!”

Today, I had the pleasure of conducting field visits with my alternative certification teachers. One particular classroom is always a joy because the students are always excited about learning, have lots of energy, and never cease to amaze me with their colorful stories…and their teacher.. Mr. L, we shall call him. Mr. L is an interesting teacher, not because he wows me with his instructional strategies, but oftentimes he makes remarks which I’ve had to stifle a “WHAT THE?” here and there. Well, today was no different. Mr. L was engaged in math instruction with a group of restless students. After one young fellow made a comment, I heard Mr. L yell, “He knows the answer! Don’t tell him! Don’t let him PLAY y’all!” Um, WHAT THE? Of course I smiled politely, called to speak with him in private, and shared that’s really not the most appropriate way to re-direct a student during instruction. Plus, as the teacher of record, there is academic language that he should model. Mr. L looked at me in bewilderment and said, “But, Dr. Walters, this is the kind of language they know!” I repeated the message, smiled, and left.

Driving home, I couldn’t help but wonder..If that’s how he speaks to the children when his supervisor is there, what on earth does he say when he’s alone with the students? As one of my dear friends said to me via Facebook, “ShamefulDisplaysofLearning.”

What say you, dear reader?