1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Staring Aggressively! is this OK?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by cillia, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. cillia

    cillia New commenter

    Is this OK for a learner to be aggressively staring someone out while working in a school / College / Academy environment?

    [see my other related posts] but i wanted to know what general policies that educational environments might have? if any?
    When I encounter aggressive staring I often let it go at first but if the behaviour continues then I challenge it. I inform young people that if they do that outside school or even inside then things could happen; people beleive you are threatening them. It is bad behaviour, offensive and I ask them to refrain from it. As adults we know what it may mean. In nature animals understand it as aggressive; dogs may attack you or if you go to the zoo an animal may charge towards you... I think we all understand it.

    Holding eye contact for longer than normal can send a powerful message. ... The eyes are piercing and intense, unblinking, and seem to want to penetrate the eyes of another. An aggressive stare is even more intense and happens by narrowing the eyes and creating a deep focus.

    Staring can be interpreted mostly as being either hostile, or possibly the result of intense concentration or affection.
    Staring behaviour can be considered a form of aggression, or an invasion of an individual's privacy.
  2. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I am not sure.
    Part of me agrees with you, but there is another part of me that says if you respond in this way, you are giving the student exactly what they want; they know you are rattled and they get attention. Playing into their hands, as it were.
    I've never found a policy anywhere about staring aggressively. It would be very hard to set one up, I'd think.
    On the other hand, this sort of staring between two puplis can be interpreted as bullying behaviour. In which case, I would remind myself that a victim is only a victim as long as he or she allows themselves to be.
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    "Liam/sugar plum/ luv/dear boy, you are positively glaring at me! What IS the problem? Is it your "I hate school" look? Or your "I hate maths" look? You look very grumpy indeed! Can I help?"

    Give them a chance to replace the stare with something less unpleasant or to talk about it or whatever else.

    But try de-escalating first. Don't put them on the naughty step. Not yet.
  4. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Easily avoided. How can you know it is happening if you don’t engage with the process. No eye contact!
    I give this advice to students who complain about same.
    rolysol, agathamorse, nomad and 2 others like this.
  5. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Perhaps I'm just too numb to notice but I've never even thought of this as a problem for anyone.

    Part of my current school's behaviour policy insists that all pupils look at me whilst I'm addressing them. I can cope with any pupil constantly looking at me but it's the looking away that I get wound up over.
  6. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    does your school have any SEN eg autistic pupils for whom making eye contact may be exceedingly uncomfortable??
    JohnJCazorla and grumpydogwoman like this.
  7. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    To play devils advocate what if the pupil is autistic/Aspergers and MAKING eye contact more is on their IEP and they have misjudged it...........normally pupils are berated on lack of eye contact (pardon the pun)
    Lara mfl 05 and rustyfeathers like this.
  8. Mermaid7

    Mermaid7 Occasional commenter

    They should never have that as an IEP target!
  9. annie2010

    annie2010 Occasional commenter

    Totally ignore it- better/more important things to worry about!
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    What I always do on those occasions when I find myself being aggressively out stared by some whipper snapper, is I casually walk over to my desk and open the top drawer,and then I reach inside and rustle together some papers in there; not even the most stalwart of out staring upstarts is able to resist a quick visual check of a split second to see if there is actual chocolate.
    And voila! The chink in the armour.
    caress, Lara mfl 05, Flanks and 2 others like this.
  11. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

  12. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    smile and say are you ok? is something wrong?
    Lara mfl 05 and History88 like this.
  13. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Or "your eyes'll stick like that, if yer not careful!"

    One of my faves to @rsey girls was "you look so much prettier when you smile"
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I recall a school trip involving several schools. One pupil from a special school was included as long as an AST from the school came along. This kid decided to stare down an armed security guard at a railway station (we were in the US). The AST declined to intervene. Afterwards he said that the kid would continue to do this until one day someone mean and nasty beat the s**t out of him and then on that day he would learn that it wasn't a clever thing to do.
  15. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    If that is what they choose to do, yes.


    Er, and...?

    Only if you choose to interpret it as hostile. You could always ignore it, or interpret it as intense affection. Up to you.


    This is now getting pathetic.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  16. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    If you choose to obsess about this you will start seeing all sorts of 'bad behaviour' and believe it is 'aimed at you' when in truth it was neither poor behaviour to start with nor aimed at you.

    I know you were given the run around by a school at the end of last year and beginning of this year in your supply role that was meant to become permanent, but every time you post I can't help but feel it is reflecting you being stressed more than anything else.

    Are you sure you don't just need a break to remember why you wanted to teach in the first place?
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  17. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Yes, the op is the person with the problem, quite evidently, but no it isn't "pathetic" to get your self into this sort of state as a teacher, it is the results of prolonged stress and unreasonable treatment.

    Obviously you can't object to ta child looking at you! or get rattled by a harmless, soundless attempt to be annoying, we all know that, the op is not thinking straight about this, but it isn't "pathetic".
    Lara mfl 05 and Flanks like this.
  18. cillia

    cillia New commenter

    Continuous staring I have read is intimidatory behaviour, when you say a victim is only a victimas longs they allow themselves to be then should a pupil tell a teacher? The teacher if you take your stance would say Ignore them but the behaviour is aggressive. In society should we behave that way someone is liable to challenge you asking why you are staring at them or attack you... In my view this is BAD behaviour. It is something and not nothing and pupils know what it means anyway. They are challenging your authority.
  19. cillia

    cillia New commenter

    I would be careful with that one!
    madcatlady likes this.
  20. cillia

    cillia New commenter

    I don't understand why you are addressing my psychology here... "Being stared at makes most people feel highly uncomfortable and force one to look away. The 'starer’ is showing a clear visual display of dominance. This has long been attributed to how evolution has conditioned us to respond to threats and also to how accustomed we've become, as a species, to inferring our place in a perceived social hierarchy: If someone is staring us down and we grow uncomfortable, we may, if we look away, infer as others witness the behaviour, that we concede or are of a lower status".

    A person in a learning environment needs to be chastised for rude behaviour and what we do with our facial expressions etc is very much a part of this. What for example do you do if you are chastising a learner and they roll their eyes? Is this OK? How about if many others witness their expression rolling the eyes and all burst out laughing?

    Eye rolling expresses disrespect. There you are making a reasonable request andyour child responds with an eye roll as if to say, "You are so annoying." It's close to expressing contempt for what you've said, if not for you personally. Rolling eyes can quickly become a habit.

Share This Page