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'Don't TOUCH me!'

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by anon8315, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    More a rant than a dilemma but this is so irritating.

    Our school isn't the best design in the world, like many schools, which means corridors are narrow and staircases busy at lesson changeover. As such, it's really hard not to touch students - in the sense that you may put your arm out to steer a few of them around you or to prevent one knocking you over.

    There really seems to be an increase in the number of students who will yell and scream as if you are indecently assaulting them - and half the time it's them touching you (if you see what I mean!)

    I know it sounds like absolutely nothing but does anyone have any stock phrases that sound calm, professional and, I suppose, cutting!
  2. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    Perhaps something like 'Don't walk into me then' or 'Look where you're going then'. But I'm only primary, it's a lot different! I used to have a child who would push past me to get out of the classroom if I was blocking the door or something and I would always say, clearly, 'Ow! You're hurting my arm' or similar, to make it clear that he was the one pushing into me. Perhaps it'd be too OTT to reply with 'ow, you walked into me!' or something! I'd be interested to know what other people would say in the situation you've described.
  3. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Remind them that the DFE guidance does not actually forbid contact with students… It is a fear mongering myth that teachers are forbidden to 'touch' a student in any way shape or form.
  4. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Our much loved head of drama just used to announce his presence - and a great presence it was too with
    "let me through I'm a doctor!"

    and lo the ways parted for him.....
    Dragonlady30 and englishteach101 like this.
  5. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    Yikes! Your school must be small then considering it is as what you describe. You will get the immature teenagers who will try and do anything to get a member of staff into trouble. If the pupil complains there and then 'Mr X touched me in the corridor', go and tell the Headteacher IMMEDIATELY. This will cover your back. Is there CCTV in those areas, if not, there should be and it should be monitored.
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Raise the issue with your HT - perhaps via the unions - and ask what the school policy is to protect both staff and children. Maybe a one way system in some corridors?
  7. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    I used to move students out of the way by steering them using the loops on their backpacks which pretty much every one of them wore in the corridor. Didn't need to lay hands on the students themselves.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I would wear a hood and cape and wrap it around me so the students wouldn't be able to touch me!
  9. caress

    caress Occasional commenter

    I had the most embarrassing incident; going up the stairs at school I tripped and automatically grabbed at something to prevent me falling - turned out to be a teenage male pupil who just looked at me in shock. I was profuse in my apology and horror and he simply accepted my apology. I was very relieved but when stairwells & corridors are crowded during period changeover it is very hard to avoid bumping into pupils. :-/
    badger_girl likes this.
  10. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    use a white cane and hit the floor/students as you walk?

    Seriously, though, I am very petite (ok, short) and I hated my last school where I didn't have my own classroom (I had 10-15 rooms to go to throughout the week) and I would just raise my voice as I walked through: 'excuse me, excuse me.' It was very tiresome (a great word). I guess as a few others have suggested, there is no easy answer (but sometimes my 'excuse me' became 'move, please' and then a 'move, now....'

  11. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    We have a 'Keep to the Left' policy and there is a one way system.

    As a teacher I remember when being in a rush barging year 7s out of my way! :D

    I think in terms of 'accidental touching' a greater issue can be when trying to navigate around students in class when assisting when there is a lot of them and the classroom is small, obviously one tries to avoid it but occasionally it happens by accident and you wonder whether to apologise (and thus make an issue of it having occurred) or say nothing. Politeness dictates I normally do the former. Another issue is kids hands being 'in the way' when you are pointing something out on the page, again, one tries to avoid any physical contact whatsoever (bar the odd student initiated fist bump the safest way I believe) but again unavoidable at times.
  12. misstippytoes

    misstippytoes New commenter

    I remember a teacher when I first came in to teaching replying to a girl who'd screamed in her face "Don't touch me!"
    The teacher very calmly replied "Don't worry dear, I wouldn't dream of touching you!" I'm not sure whether the stroppy year 10 girl picked up on the sarcasm, but it definitely shut her up.
    hiyalove22, pepper5 and petenewton like this.
  13. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    I can only remember two situations occurring like this in my career, but when it did it was the most unpleasant and maybe even frightening experience for me.

    I think it is in part, the consequence of how our politicians with the help of our OFSTED, run the teaching profession down. They can say ten positive things about teaching but it only takes one negative thing to make teacher student relationships difficult. "Your rubbish, my Dad says so. He read about it in the newspaper."

    It is a constant battle to retain authority and control in the class (and corridors in this case) and this really needs to be considered by the politicians who control how the public and hence, in part, our students, see us. All teachers are happy to undergo quality control of some sort - indeed we have the normal quality control of most businesses with teacher to teacher observations and annual progress assessment meetings etc - but OFSTED is NOT quality control. It is merely "name, blame and shame".

    And to anybody who actually reads my posts, I know I have said this time and time again, but at present it seems to me that an awful lot of all education problems stem from this non-quality control of OFSTED. The falling recruitment, the poor retention , the poor mental health, the extremely low morale, to name but a few.

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