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Treating students as adults - finding the balance

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by Urbanfaerie, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. Urbanfaerie

    Urbanfaerie Occasional commenter

    I work in an SEN further education establishment with students aged 16-25, meaning that at 29 I'm only a few years older than some of them right now.
    I always try to treat my students like adults (since they are), but sometimes this leads to our students thinking they are 'friends' with us, and they then become upset when you have to explain why you won't add them on Facebook.
    How do you strike the balance between treating students like adults but also making the teacher student roles clear to students?
     
  2. Apple101

    Apple101 Occasional commenter

    It may be tricky especially with them having SEN.

    Maybe you can just say ' The school or college doesn't allow it'. You don't have to get into personal reasons as to why you won't add them. I have said this before and usually you can't argue with rules like that.
     
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. gogogulliver

    gogogulliver New commenter

    I work in a similar role. I've had students try to friend me on facebook and had to not go to a mate's party because they were friends with someone in my tutor group and yes it is awkward at times.

    I've found the best thing for this is to literally treat them like adults and say "as part of my job, I need to make sure I keep a professional boundary". Don't pussyfoot around it. We ended up doing a tutorial lesson about what that means and how you're a different "you" at home and at work and at college.

    I've used examples of facebook posts that have got people fired (most are quite funny) and we've talked about being professional any why it's important.
     
  4. serendippy

    serendippy New commenter

    Too many teachers are immature themselves and this unfortunately manifests in regrettable social media posts, inappropriate dress, appropriate language and over-familiar relationships with students. If you are a teacher you have an obligation to remain professional at all times. You are, whether you like it or not, a role model for young people and an ambassador for your college/school or other institution. If we want a society that values respect for others as well as tolerance and equality. We are often the first adults who 'model' this for our students. Whiney, childish teachers who lack self-discipline themselves are not helping the students they teach, only preside over the continued race to the bottom in morality, discipline and ultimately social cohesion.
     
  5. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Theses students may have adult bodies but they do not have adult brains academically. They may only have the academic ability of a 12 year old. They may also have the emotional maturity of a 12 year old.
    You are playing with fire by treating them as 'friends'. Be pleasant, be chatty, be interested but don't get too close to them. You need to be able to assert authority if its needed. It is easy to maintain distance than to get too friendly and then have to try and distance yourself
     

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