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Young female Teachers- and teenage boys

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by justme29, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. I think the best way to deal with this is to set clear boundaries early. I am young-looking, which is normally a gift in real life, but it can be a total curse in teaching.

    At my current school, a pupil attempted to lick my face in my very first week. I went ballistic at him, informed the class and him that this was sexual harrassment and therefore I would take it to my line manager (as this is what we do in the 'real' world). I did this, my line manager was very supportive and informed him of the consequences of his actions.

    No-one has dared do anything suggestive since. I think setting yourself up as totally off limits is the best way to be.

    Plus I also lie about my 6-foot boyfriend who will come and beat the **** out of them...
     
  2. eha

    eha

    I'm always a bit concerned when I see those 'just ignore it' or 'engage in banter with them' responses to this kind of problem-- not just the sexual harassment type of problem, but all types of inappropriate behaviour. That may work for SOME, but it definitely is not the definitive answer to the problem of inappropriate behaviour. This has to be tackled at the base: if the management is serious over school policy about bad manners, then the whole issue has to be discussed on a whole-school basis. And presumably the policy would apply to teachers too--- I think we sometimes assume too much about teacher behaviour. I had reason to observe -- informally--- a group of young trainee teachers a few years ago--- and I was utterly gobsmacked to see what they regarded as acceptable social behaviour. And this is what the kids pick up on --- Mr or Ms Suchnsuch sniggers at others to their face, or makes ugly personal comments; why shouldn't I? Actually the worst thing in the situation I've just referred to was that the programme director was himself a jock--- he encouraged inappropriate behaviour. Not much you can do in such circs, is there?
     
  3. headflower

    headflower New commenter

    I am 41 and just about to complete my GTP. One of my Yr 9 lads - well behaved, works hard, nice chap - is constantly commenting that I'm lovely & he'd like to take me to dinner. It's always in front of other people.
    I just laugh & say it's very sweet of him to try to cheer up old ladies.
    However, I have told colleagues and would never allow myself to be alone with him. I'd hate to be accused of anything inappropriate.
    Generally it's a good policy to tell colleagues about any similar comments - even if they seem harmless - and not to be in situations where you are alone with students. Sad but true & the most sensible thing to do.
     
  4. xtra

    xtra New commenter

    never make the mistake i did a few weeks ago of giving a year 11 male student a lift home when you're a young female teacher...
    it was 6pm and his parents couldnt pick him up, it was too far to walk and he had a lot of expensive music equipment with him, so his mum spoke to me over the phone and suggested that i give him a lift home so i did... the nextday rumours are all round the school and now the student is always asking me for a lift home (to which i refuse)! luckily SMT havent pulled me up on this and if they do i will explain the situation but i really dont think it did me any favours
     
  5. pizza

    pizza New commenter

    No-one regardless of looks, body etc. is immune. Take my word. At 29 I had male pupils comments upset me and female pupils nasty comments unsettling. Fast forward 3 years and I was groped from behind by a year 9 pupil. i was most shocked as I had gaind 3 st. and did not consider myself attractive to anyone much less young boys.
     
  6. If you are lucky enough to teach English (AQA) this is easy to deal with: just teach Duffy's poem Ann Hathaway which has some fantastic sexual imagery. Be explicit and confident in discussion... And the boys are terrified! I had the same issue in my first teaching job until I taught this poem and they A) felt like fools for not understanding the imagery in the first place when they thought they were the most sexually experienced boys on site and B)couldn't believe I would discuss this in class. They never tried to embarrass me in class again.
    Sadly I don't really know how to make this technique "cross-curricular" though. Sorry.
     
  7. Well later in your career the suggestive comments you now receive will be replaced by even more negative ones. They will be calling you an old bag with fat bum and all the rest of it. At least now you can use your youth to excert some influence on them . Of course at issue is the fact that so many men have been hounded out of the teaching profession at primary that young lads have no role models. As the profession becomes feminised why do female teachers wonder that young lads have no sense of appropiate behaviour towards famales. Because there are so few males teaching them at primary that by the time they get to secondary then have already been socialised in a predominately female environment. It may not be politically correct to state , but boys need male role models .We won`t even go to that place where all the sisters think that they do as good a job bringing up boys on their own as a male/ female partnership.
     
  8. I would say `ignore them` but sometimes that only seems to make it worse. Take a note of the boy or boys` names and simply enter them for the most severe detention you have available to you. get yourself the reputation of being a real hard piece of work who is crossed at her peril (just remember to drop the act at the pub afterwards)
     
  9. If we as teachers made those sort of comments we'd be strug up! It is totally inappropriate, it makes us so uncomfortable that there are 3 pages dedicated to this subjects. Should we just brush it off? It means pupils have a lack of respect and has chosen to put the teacher in a dificult postion. They know their comments are vile , they want a reaction.
    If someone spoke to a police officer like that they'd be arrested and cautioned. If someone spoke to a collegue like that it would be deemed offensive and a form of sexual harrasment. So why should we put up with it in our place of work. We have to work in these places every day and if this makes us uncofortable enough to write about it on the tes and talk about it to our friends then yes it is offensive. Some even say sexual harrasment!
    If it is not dealt with then the situation can exculate and it is a green light for others to start. It all comes down to how far you would like to take it and how managment deal with it. Alway get advice from the union. I use to work at a school where all teachers refused or hardly ever gave detentions after school because of false cases made against them.
     
  10. What an interesting read.

    I had some more comments today.

    I was helping out in a class today and the class Teacher asked if I would help out a group of boys. I went to them and I was talking to them and then I said right 'can you sort out how you are sitting, move up, so I can sit next you' and the response was 'but I we like being close to our Teachers'. Luckily a male Teacher heard and he said to the boys 'boys thats dodgy'.

    Some other stuff was said too, such as how old are you, where do you live etc.

    I think I'll just have to get used to it, and think of appropriate strategies to deal with such issues.

     
  11. HI JUSTME

    When i started teaching i was young and i nipped it in the bud straight away.During my first week a boy made an inappropriate comment so i made him my very first after school detention pupil.During detention he was so quiet away from his friends. I made him just sit at a desk for a whole hour after school contemplating the comment he made towards me,he did not make a comment after that.Have you tried the detention route??
     
  12. trebleklef

    trebleklef New commenter

    i think that when you're a young female teacher dealing with boys making comments of a sexual nature, putting them in an afterschool detention is the wrong decision... you're going to be on your own with them afterall and it opens up all sorts of opportunities for allegations should the boy decide on the revenge route.
    if you're going to put the boy in an afterschool detention inform senior mangagement and ask if he can be placed in a general afterschool detention if your school uses this system. the best thing to do is inform senior management and his parents... i'm sure they wont be too happy and the boy will be so humiliatedit will never happen again!
     
  13. Boundaries and limits - there's no getting away from them.

    I am the mother of two teenage boys and if they ever said s'thing inappropriate to ANY tchr they know they'd be in deep s**t.
    Your school must have a code of behaviour though. Find out what your back up would be.
    Reckon banter is great but not before VERY firm boundaries are establised. They are the kids; you are in the position of responsibility. You are there to teach not befriend.
    My boys go to a boys' shool and one HOD has the most amazing banter with them. BUT though many othre teachers try to emulate his style it never works. The kids see straight through the false 'pal'. They want you to keep a social/professional distance.

    Only if they really trust you will they confide in you. And you have to build that sort of relationship over time.
     
  14. Quite right Julia but you can only get there overm a period of time and usually by being a complete swine to begin with.
     
  15. justme,
    "I said right 'can you sort out how you are sitting, move up, so I can sit next you' "

    You're asking for trouble by asking to sit next to students and putting yourself in a dangerous position.
    NEVER sit next to a student, either sit opposite them, or sit on a corner. Keep a table between you.
    If neither of those are an option stand behind them.

    "Some other stuff was said too, such as how old are you, where do you live etc."

    The other questions they were asking are not sexual, everyone gets them, the kids are curious about you. A way around that is to do an introduction lesson where you start by telling them all the generic stuff they will want to know "I'm twenty something, I live in manchester, I enjoy drawing and table tennis" blah blah blah, then get the kids to tell you about them (i.e. name, interests, what they want to do when they leave school) etc...

     
  16. I've been having a similar experience, am a trainee teacher at a predominantly muslim school and I am white. I think that some pupils look down at the female teachers and today I had a group of year8 boys interupt the beginning of my lesson to drop their heads round and say I was looking sexy today. I immediatley picked it up with the student manager who has dealt with the pupils in question, but it does make me feel very uncomfortable.
     
  17. It is important to remember that they are only teenagers and are getting to grips with their sexuality. Some of the reactions of teenage boys to young female teachers are understandavle, and yes even excusable.

    I'd like to make it clear I'm not referring to explicit sexual comments made directly to the teacher or similar. However teenagers do tend to develop crushes on their teachers (male and female, and not always heterosexually) and it is something that we, as the mature adult, have to take responsibility for dealing with.

    personally I prefer not to know which kids have a crush on me and ignroe any gossip to that end. However if a student makes an innapropriate comment I come down on them like a tonne of brinks in a public manner, and generally only have to do this once a year.
     
  18. In response to the JUT1. I teach Business Studies, and the reason for asking to sit next to the student was to look at the computer screen, read the work and discuss changes.

    Also, of course I have done all the formal introduction stuff! I don't think you have the context right.

    Anyway, I have been given tips on the situation, and I will try and deal with the situation differently from now on.
     
  19. At my first school a pupil asked me to sit on his face, I was horrified. I think it's something that many female teachers get. If it's something silly I laugh it off, like some pupils always ask me on a date to Mcdonalds which is silly but a pupil did ask me if i'd ever slept with a black man and pupils did occasionally make sexual comments. I explained to them that I don't speak to them like that because I had more respect for them, put them in detention and told them they could go when they wrote me a letter explaining why they shouldn't speak to me like that, seems to have done the trick. Incidently the boy who asked about the black man was expelled. It's always worth writing down what was said and passing it to the head of year.
     
  20. You have to do three things:
    First, inform senior management, preferably your head teacher, that you consider this to be sexual harassment, which it is, and that you would like someone to deal with it straight away.
    Secondly, talk to the worst offender on his own, with another member of staff. Tell him that if his behaviour doesn't stop immediately, then you will be informing your teaching union and taking legal advice. Then work your way through the others. You could even draft a letter to the legal department of your union and show them a copy when you talk to them.
    Thirdly, get in touch with the students' parents and tell them exactly the same things.
    Remember - you have human rights to; you don't have to be sexually harassed by these boys.
    All the best.
     

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