When I was in seventh or eighth grade there was a teacher in my school everyone called “Barbie”. She was tall, slender and had blonde hair. She was pretty as far as I remember, but not drop-dead gorgeous and not promiscuous in any way. Of course the boys always tried to get her attention.
When I was in high school I don’t honestly remember crushing on any of my teachers. There was a Government teacher who was also a coach that creeped-out me and the other girls. He once made a friend stay for detention and she told me he removed his wedding band when she walked into the room. I was furious and wanted to cuss him out. She talked me out of it and as far as I remember nothing else ever happened.
Now I have my own children, four daughters to be exact, and I’m pretty damn protective of them. I’m also honest about sex and the possible threats around them. They know what a teacher behaving inappropriately looks like…unfortunately it keeps freaking happening.
Last week teen #2 came home with news that the Senior Coordinator had been caught with a student. Now, I’ve met this man, had whole conversations with him, and even joked around a bit. Nothing inappropriate at all or even borderline. However, I wasn’t shocked. Unfortunately teen #1 was shocked and heartbroken. She’s a Senior this year and has known this teacher since she was a Freshman. He’s someone she has respected and looked up to for years. Now, that image has been shattered because he decided to have sex with one of his students.
I’m furious that my child’s trust has been broken over sex, but I know it’s an inevitable lesson she had to learn someday. I’m just glad she isn’t a victim here. The worst part in my mind is how this will effect his family (of course, he’s married with children), how it will effect his students, and how it effects the parent/teacher relationships as a whole. Those are precarious at best and now one bad decision has fucked it up even more. Yeah, I’m pretty damn angry.
In yesterday’s newspaper I saw reports of two other teachers in the general Houston are with accusations. Come on now people. This is getting out of hand. So what’s wrong? What’s the problem and the cause of this? Why are teachers looking at their students as sexual beings? In my opinion it starts with them forgetting about the line between them and the students where they are supposed to be the ones in charge. This might not always be the case. For some it might be something darker, like a power trip to over use their authority. But for many I see it as a blurred line.
Teachers seem to be younger now than when I was in high school and I think too many of them are trying to be “cool” with the kids. They are trying to “relate” by talking on the teens’ level and sharing parts of themselves. Some might think that’s a good thing. I disagree. I’ve always told my kids I’m a mom first. I’m not their “friend”, or their “buddy”. I’m a mom. I’m in charge. And what I say goes. End of story. Sometimes I do listen to them as a friend would. Sometimes I share parts of myself as a buddy might. But they all know I’m always a “mom” first.
I think that’s where these teachers are failing our children. Not all teachers of course, just the ones who forget that they’re in a position of authority that they shouldn’t take for granted. The line blurs because they’re less than a decade older than the kids they teach. They share the same taste in music, movies, books, whatever. They start to see these kids on an even level instead of as their wards. In essence, they are fucking up the very basic concept of being a “teacher” rather than a pal.
So, what can/should be done about this? Hell, I don’t know. I would never have the patience to teach. I commend anyone who does, but I also implore you to remember YOUR JOB. You’re not there to “connect” with the students on a social level. You’re there to teach them and guide them onto the next level of their education. I don’t want you to be my kids’ friend. I want you to be their teacher. They have enough damn friends.