Don’t Be Their Friend. Seriously.

I used to ignore that advice. I believed that we, as teachers, should be cordial and friendly to our students so that they stay motivated and engaged. Sure, teaching is the first priority, but shouldn’t being fair, courteous and friendly take a close second, especially in the parts of town where our students may not see a fair, courteous or friendly face?

Then I read the latest teacher-as-statutory-rapist story, and I was reminded why friendliness isn’t the teaching priority.

A former middle school teacher was sent to prison for six years Tuesday for having sexual encounters with five teenage boys. Authorities said Allenna Ward, 24, met 14- and 15-year-old boys at the school where she taught as well as at a motel, a park and behind a restaurant.

“I apologize from the depths of my heart,” Ward said in court.

Some people take it to an extreme, even if only due to serious mental issues.

That part about picking up middle school and freshmen boys behind a restaurant — ugh. It’s hard to stay positive about committing myself to a low-paying, entry-level seasonal job when stories like this come out every few months.

I swear I’m not being crude, but from looking at her mugshot, she isn’t a poor-looking young lady. How divorced from reality do you have to be to think that teenage boys are the only ones you could empathize with? Some don’t even wear deodorant.

That isn’t supposed to be flippant. It just comes out that way when I’m frustrated.

Moral of the story? I don’t have one because I can’t be pithy about this. Stupid people frustrate me.

  1. how divorced from reality?
    And the sad part is, these stories cast a shadow on every teacher everywhere, you know?
    A friend of mine who was part of a collaborative school project now has dropped out because a teacher in their school district was found luring some kids using a social networking site and so the entire district is now in complete techno lock-down mode, the community is up in arms and my friend fears any excursion into the Web 2.0 world will bring nothing but the wrath of officials.


  2. I really just want a T-shirt that says “People are Stupid.” I shall wear it daily until it falls off from rot, mothballs and mildew.

    Well, not quite that often.

  3. There is a not-at-all fine line between being friendly and sleeping with our students!!

    That’s the thing I don’t understand about all these teacher/student relationships: they’re always female teacher, male student. Now, logically, I guess I can see the appeal for an adult male looking at a room full of cute 16-year-old girls. But why on earth would any woman want an adolescent boy? Ewwwwww… 😛

    Hi, Scarfman. 🙂

  4. Figures that you’d have a student teaching blog of your own, Cap’n.

    There is a not-at-all fine line between being friendly and being “friendly.” Thing is, all it takes is an accusation, especially because I’m a guy. That’s where I’m coming from.

    It’s funny that you mention that these trysts are “always” woman-on-boy. As far as I can remember, that’s only been a recent trend.

    I dunno. Maybe there’s a club or something.

  5. dkzody

    These young women who have affairs with teenage boys have some emotional problems that need serious psychological assistance. I wish there was some test we could give these young women before they ever get a teaching credential. It is a blackeye on the whole profession.

  6. I agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, there isn’t a reliable beyond-a-doubt test, to my knowledge. If there were, they’d already be compulsory, wouldn’t they?

    Therefore, unions would — and rightly — never agree to it.

  7. Your last line? Yeah. It pretty much sums up so much of what I’m thinking right now.

  8. Stupid people aren’t worth wallowing over, though. Just to clarify.

  9. JT

    Those stories always freak me out. I generally agree with what you have written. I had a high school teacher (male) who everyone thought was cool because he cursed in class. We were his last class before retirement, and so he didn’t really care as much as he used to I guess, but if that’s what makes a teacher cool there’s something wrong. High school students are not mature enough in my opinion to make that type of judgment–who is cool, who is friendly, etc. And I’m speaking from experience. Looking back, some of my best teachers were also the strictest. I didn’t think so at the time, but their rigidity taught me a lot that I have used in post-school life. A lot more than how to measure circumference or memorizing the atomic table.

  10. I very much agree, JT.

    I was about to make that a link when I realized that I don’t have a good single post on that, yet. Inspiration!

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