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University of South Florida | 1. Persistence is the key.
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| 2. DON'T PANIC
>I'm a student teacher in a second grade classroom and there are a few
>students that come up to me and hug me. Is this acceptable or should I
>stop them and tell them to not hug me? I always let them come up to me
As the parent of three young affectionate children, I find it very sad
indeed that a question like this must even be asked. :(
I could not tell from your post if you were male or female, but
regardless, I do not think my answer would change. HUG those kids
back!!!! (And if anyone gives you grief about hugging the
children........well :) just give them a hug too!)
I've been teaching for 21 years and have taught
children in 3rd grade. And when a child reaches out for a hug
I always return the hug. Because when a child takes a chance
to hug they shouldn't be rejected. They need to know that
there's love and caring in that room. As a matter of fact, I
have children who hug me after 4-5 years out of my class. What
(written by Judy)
What lies behind us
and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
> I'm a student teacher in a second grade classroom and there are a few
> students that come up to me and hug me. Is this acceptable or should I
> stop them and tell them to not hug me? I always let them come up to me
> The Eternal Student | Two Rules for Life:
> University of South Florida | 1. Persistence is the key.
> | (Don't give up your dreams)
> Home of Rocky the Billy Goat |
> | 2. DON'T PANIC
Check with your district on policy. Some districts allow touching at the
primary levels. I've even seen kids (especially the tactile/kinesthetics)
seek touching at the middle school level. H.S. is a no-no, though.
Lyelle Palmer, Ph.D.
Winona State University, Winona, MN 55987
>I'm a student teacher in a second grade classroom and there are a few
>students that come up to me and hug me. Is this acceptable or should I
>stop them and tell them to not hug me? I always let them come up to me
I was cautious as a student-teacher, also, (fearing unthinkable
accusations) but in watching long-time teachers, it seems the most
effective ones let, and even encourage, hugging by students. My first
student teaching experience was with a second grade teacher who
insisted on a hug from each student at least once a day! They loved
it. I now teach sixth grade and often receive hugs from my students,
both girls and boys. Follow your principal's example--ours believes
(judging by his actions) that hugging is beneficial; so many students
need genuine affection and appreciation for them as persons (we hug
the student, not the behavior!)
Just be sure to hug your students only in very public places, and make
it quick and casual, like a handshake.
DON'T TOUCH AT ALL. DON'T BE ALONE WITH A STUDENT AT ALL. DON'T GET
INVOLVED WOTH A STUDENT IN ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE CLASS THEY TAKE FROM
These are bad times. All who work with children are suspect.
I disagree totally!! You are talking about improper contact with a
child. A hug is far from improper. The poster was not asking
permission to touch a child improperly, they were asking opinions about
giving a child hugs.
Yes, people who work with children do have to be more 'careful' in their
behavior, but that applies to women as well as men.
Male or female, I would think it very sad if a teacher turned away from my
child. Especially when that child is doing what comes very
I'm going to be careful about where, how and when I touch of course. But
I am not going to reject a childs affection. Hey, I've changed careers
once I can do it again. If I can't teach with love what would be the
Alfred C Thompson II These opinions are mine and may not
Teacher, Hacker, Net Surfer be shared by organizations lucky enough
ac...@tiac.net to have me as a member or employee.
A male teacher in the 7th grade did the hand in the middle of the
back to a girl that got a bad grade from him. She went to the 7th grade
administrator and said that he was feeling for her bra strap. She was
moved the next day to my class. A letter was placed in his file over this
contact and an investigation has been started. I don't touch, I teach.
I know that children need the male influence. I wish things were
different. I just don't know how we are going to get to a better
I agree with you that the poster was just wanting to comfort a child in
need of emotional support. But you are a woman. Please try and see it
from a man's point of view.
Could you imagine a day care center were the staff were entirely made
up of single, never married men, ages 17 to 40 or so?? How many average
people would even consider placing their child in such a day care center.
You and I both know that answer without even having to ask. Zero. Now
Men are given the procto exam in the area of adult to child
contact--even for just doing something to help the child feel better.
This is why males are almost non-existent in the k-6, start showing up in
7-8, about 1/3 to 1/2 in 9-12, and are the majority in the colleges.
> Last year I taught in a K-6 school. The kids loved having a man in the
> building. Kids being kids I recieved a lot of hugs. I still do when I
> visit. I worried a lot about giving hugs in return. I opted to return
> them with a single hand clearly in the middle of the upper back. I can't
> see not returning a hug with some physical touch.
> I'm going to be careful about where, how and when I touch of course. But
> I am not going to reject a childs affection. Hey, I've changed careers
> once I can do it again. If I can't teach with love what would be the
I totally agree with you. I can't imagine anything worse than an adult that
would *not* return a child's affection. As the father of two wonderful
children, I never objected or suspected a teacher touching my child in a
loving and friendly way. People that can't tell the difference between a
caring human touch and fondling are the making of a sick, sad society.
These are the same people that yell sexual harassment if you smile and say
"you look nice today" Give me a break.
: >If you are a man---forget it!! Don't touch a child under any
: >circumstances!! Just a report--even if totally false, will distroy a
: >man's teaching career. In many states to apply for a job one must report
: >on the application any REPORTS of improper cantact with a child. It
: >doesn't matter if there was nothing going on, you MUST report the report.
: >If you don't report the report you get fired if and when your new
: >find out and if you do report the report on your application yu don't get
: >DON'T TOUCH AT ALL. DON'T BE ALONE WITH A STUDENT AT ALL. DON'T GET
: >INVOLVED WOTH A STUDENT IN ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE CLASS THEY TAKE FROM
: >These are bad times. All who work with children are suspect.
That is a truly horrible attitude. The result will
inevitably be rejecting students who need that extra guidance
and protection. I've never experienced anything close to this in
my careere, and I work with a staff that works very closely with
the students. Our paranoia, in this country, is getting the best
: I disagree totally!! You are talking about improper contact with a
: child. A hug is far from improper.
And I agree with this dissent 100%. People can file a lawsuit
about virtually anything, but that is no reason to live in fear, nor
is it any reason to avoid doing our jobs well. Avoidance of such
attention, at the proper time, will result in the rejection of
such students -- which can have a longer-term impact than many of
our academic strides.
Maybe my experiences have more to do with how things are handled in
my school system. I have seen too many teacher's careers go sown in
flames over as little as a pat on the head. In my county you would be
dead meat. It's not fair or right but that's the way it is.
I got into teaching because I like to teach my subject and transfer
knowledge and skills to others. I, personally, am not emotionally equiped
or professionally trained to properly handle the mental anguish of a
child. My county has paid and trained in school staff and psychologist
whose job it is to help these children. I get the child to them as fast
as I can. Maybe I'm cold. I've been told otherwise. But I can't bring
myself to give out affection to a child like others I see.
On the other hand I have ended up with a reputation among admin and
teachers as some one who does not touch. I have had students who have
made charges against othe teachers placed in my room because I am a very
low liability risk. The admin likes it that I can take the high risk
cases due to my rep.
I would appreciate some analysis from those of you about this. How
can we, as a profession, change the dynamic and reduce the fear. I hate
to hurt people's feelings but a "give a child a hug" policy has left too
many dead bodies in the road for me to ignor.
Respectfully to all, Miller
I like to teach my subject and transfer knowledge and skills too. But I
could have stayed in industry if that was all I was interested in. More
then my subject (I could be happy teaching almost anything) I love kids.
I went into teaching to help kids. To help them learn interesting things.
To help them grow as individuals. To help them learn to learn. This is
what good teachers did for me and this is what I want to do for others.
I'm sure you like kids. Most people do. But kids are my reason for
(In my classroom its hugs and kisses.)
> I got into teaching because I like to teach my subject and transfer
>knowledge and skills to others. I, personally, am not emotionally
>or professionally trained to properly handle the mental anguish of a
But, unfortuneately our profession requires more of us! Teaching is not
a nine to five job that you punch a clock on. And no where is there a job
description that will prepare you for what you are going to face in the
classroom. Teachers must take responsibility and be prepared to deal
with emotional and physical and whatever other needs our students have.
Hugging them to calm emotional needs can be harry scarry bussiness. But
turning a cold shoulder to teach the curriculum denies the humanity
involved in teaching. Be compassionate, but be careful!!!!!!!
As for kids that run up and hug me, I stop them. I say, "I'm sorry, but
I don't like to be hugged. It makes me sleepy." Diffusing surprise
with a little humor usually does the trick, and it avoids a situation
which I am not comfortable with.
"Always go to the bathroom when you have a chance"
--King George V
This space for rent. http://www.nyiq.net/~ted
> Men are given the procto exam in the area of adult to child
>contact--even for just doing something to help the child feel better.
>This is why males are almost non-existent in the k-6, start showing up in
>7-8, about 1/3 to 1/2 in 9-12, and are the majority in the colleges.
Please, get serious. The reason for the lack of male teachers in the k-6 area
is not due to the social fear of harassment charges! Men and women alike have
been and continue to be socialized to believe that elementary is the care
taking years. This incredible social fear that we have with regards to men
and younger children has not been around long, not as long as the school
system which began with female teachers only. In fact community rules for
teachers were written for women. It was not until the 1850s when the male
pronoun was even added to school aged rules for teachers.
I am a male elementary teacher and believe very much in hugs and physical
reassurance. A simple touch can mean a lot to a child, the reassurance that
you are near, there to help and will not let them down. A simple touch or hug
in public and without fear is just that nothing to fear. Sure, a male teacher
needs to be more aware of their hands. Keep them on the shoulders. I do not
believe children can learn without emotional reassurance, this includes touch.
I am a teacher to teach and to care and I will not give up a part of the job
with out giving it all up. Just be aware!
I feel that my role is to be there for my students for what they need. The
No. 1 priority is learning (I teach mostly high school juniors U.S.
History), and that's where we start.
But if a student needs a smile -- or a hug -- I am there for that. If we
need to joke around at the begining of class, or show a couple minutes of
tape of a school play or a state championship wrestling match, we'll do
If a student looks really depressed, I am going to call him/her into
hallway for to stay after class and find out why. If it's something beyond
my scope, I immediately contact guidance or the school psychologist or
I had one student commit suicide earlier this year, and while I am not
second-guessing myself on that one (I had no clue), I am not going to
chance wondering if I could have done something. I've intervened on kids
who got through the crisis and became class leaders and honor society
members, and I have worked hard on kids who went on to drop out, wind up
in trouble with the law or wind up as a single mother. But I know I tried.
I am also there for the good kids. I go to as many sporting events, plays,
concerts and the like as I can. I moved to this town because I teach here
and because it's a terrific school system for my kids. I do whatever I can
for the kids and the school.
Oh, and if it's not obvious, I am also the warm, fuzzy teacher who's
pretty quick to give kids a break when homework is late or tests aren't
But, I am cognizant that not every teacher is like me. That would be
terrible. We need the efificient, business-minded, no-nonsense teachers
and those in between as well. One of my colleagues, perhaps the best
teacher in our building, is a very strict, upper-thinking skill type
teacher who does care about her kids but in a different way from me. I
think the kids who have me for U.S. History and her for English are the
best-off in the school.
If nothing else, I feel a whole lot better having written this.
Ledyard (Conn.) H.S.
Bill makes an excellent point about faculty diversity. The bottom line
is whether or not a teacher is truly dedicated to the "good". The beauty
of teaching is that each of us can communicate that we care about the
"good" in our own way to our students. To me "the good" means
communicating to the student that you believe in his/her abilities and
that the subject you teach is a means by which those abilities can be
displayed. (see the SCANS report)
Yes there are "touchy feely " teachers who never teach their subject
and the kids love em. These are the same teachers who "live through" their
kids by attending parties with them and getting personally involved.I
suppose they argue that building the esteem and confidence of the students
is "the good." We are seeing a reaction to that approach.
Teachers know who the good teachers are and they certainly know that
they aren't "like them." Teachers also know who is out to rape the system
and steal a paycheck, and who is there in spite of their hatred for kids,
and who is there 'just to get 3 more years'. One strong indicator is when
a teacher, after 6 months, does not know the names of the students before
I often wonder what would happen if the teachers who truly affect "the
good" were given the opportunity to impact the debate about education in
this country rather than delegate that power to the unions, the
educrats,and the politicians.
Saugus (MA) HS
When I decided to be an elementary school teacher, and I ended up
teaching my first class of grade 1 kids, I got hugs all the time. I did
not ask for them (still don't), most of the time I didn't even know they
were coming. My first reaction was fear. But when I talked with
parents, they seemed OK. I always try and talk with the parents about
this and they understand. I may end up being a dead body on the road of
male teachers someday (knock on wood) but it is a chance I'm willing to
When did hugging and being a pervert become the same?
Stephen A. Martin
Sunnyside Elementary School
While I complement you on your bravery and dedication I wonder just how long
you will be teaching. I hope for a long long time as I agree with you it is
important. However, as you must know you do not actually have to do anything
to be charged with doing it. Even if you are cleared by a court you probably
will never be cleared by the public.
February 28, 1996
I am as relieved to see teachers returning hugs, as I am to see many of
these posts are from men! I am glad there are still some out there in
I also think this hugging business becomes less of a 'consideration' after
about 4th grade. In K,1st & 2nd grades, the children are still pretty
dependent on the 'adult' in their lives at the time.
As a result, the local NEA union will not support a teacher in such a
situation. The union issues flyers to teachers that outline that teachrs
should not touch. We are told by our union to not even hold anything in
our hands (ruler, chalk, etc) if we are near a student. If students are
in a fight we are to attempt to break it up via verbal interaction ONLY.
If we touch to stop a fight and are injured our union and medical
insurance and workman's comp WILL NOT COVER US. If a child is hit while
we are pulling them away from a fight we are legally libel for the injury
given them by the student that hit them while we were touchin them. All
teachers that have touched a student during a fight and have been charged
with assault by angery parents have been fired without hearing by the
board. We now just let the kids fight till they hurt too much to
continue. We call the admin or security to break it up. We don't touch
This is not the way I or the other teachers want things to be--but the
legal climate in our area--Washington DC metro area--makes it impossible
to ignor what happens to teachers who "do the right thing."
I shudder just to read this posting. I could never teach in that system.
I could never let my son attend schools in that system. And based on
other things you said, I could never hire a graduate of that system. What
are they trying to do, become the "Bad School System Poster Child?"
>In my county, Prince george's County, MD, touching is forbidden. The
>schools board will suspend or fire a teacher accused of improper touching
>without a hearing. The board has NEVER backed up the actions of a
>who has done nothing wrong. They always force the teacher into
>litigation. They don't want teachers touching students at all and have
>made their position clear.
>As a result, the local NEA union will not support a teacher in such a
>situation. The union issues flyers to teachers that outline that teachrs
>should not touch. We are told by our union to not even hold anything in
>our hands (ruler, chalk, etc) if we are near a student. If students are
>in a fight we are to attempt to break it up via verbal interaction ONLY.
>If we touch to stop a fight and are injured our union and medical
>insurance and workman's comp WILL NOT COVER US. If a child is hit while
>we are pulling them away from a fight we are legally libel for the injury
>given them by the student that hit them while we were touchin them. All
>teachers that have touched a student during a fight and have been charged
>with assault by angery parents have been fired without hearing by the
>board. We now just let the kids fight till they hurt too much to
>continue. We call the admin or security to break it up. We don't touch
This is an extremely harsh situation, and I feel for your position. From
a legal standpoint, the district really doesn't have a leg to stand on,
although pursuing that
would be costly to the teacher.
There is a difference between touching and improper touching.
As for the fighting situation, we had a similar problem here a few years
One boy was severely beaten by two others, while the teachers stood aside
and watched. Policy or no policy I thought the teachers behavior to be
extremely inhumane. Such are the lessons we are passing on to our
You know, I've heard the same policy about fighting while
subbing in New York City. Apparently the union won't stand
by a teacher who physically intervenes in a fight. Yeah,
that's AFT, local 2. There are times when teachers really
have no place using physical force, especially when the
children involved are bigger than the teacher. But, to
have a union that won't even stand by teachers seems pretty
I agree with LindaP that it's inhumane to allow children to
continue fighting, when there are other options. This
teacher could've blown a whistle (everyone should have one,
IMHO), could've thrown a book on the floor, could've put a
clipboard between the combatants (so that they can't see
each other and are forced to back off a bit), could've
yelled, could've done a lot of things. There's a
psychology to fights, and if you watch them, you know that
there's a period in a fight when you can stop it before it
escalates, and that there's a period in a fight when the
combatants both want to stop and just need help stopping it.
Picture it as a normal distribution curve, or bell curve,
graphed with a y-axis for intensity and an x-axis for time.
Boys undergo certain posturing and ritualistic movements,
while girls usually just flip out all of a sudden and begin
the fight. But, there's almost always a chance to stop it
before any blows are landed.
Anyway, I think if I was in a situation where my judgement
dictated that I use physical force, I would assess my
level of safety first and then go ahead and use force. I
don't think I could just sit back and watch. That's
"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
Bob Madewell Email:made...@spacelink.msfc.nasa.gov
> If you can't touch a student to break up a fight, then your
> administration is goofy. Surely, at a hearing, they could have
> witnesses and determine that it was acceptable touching. Al willis
I agree that NO touching of students is ridiculous. However, I never
intervene in a fight. You never know when a kid might have a weapon. Best
bet is to immediately call or have someone call for help. You can't afford
to put your life at risk. You have the rest of your students and your own
family to think about. Don't think it happens? Tell that to a 5th grade
teacher I know of who can no longer teach due to injuries received when
she tried to break up a fight. I love my students, but not enough to risk
my own life for them.
Tory Klementsen () () A Dream is a Wish
To...@Eskimo.Com ( ) Your Heart Makes...
Disney on the IRC
>I agree that NO touching of students is ridiculous. However, I never
>intervene in a fight. You never know when a kid might have a weapon. Best
>bet is to immediately call or have someone call for help. You can't
>to put your life at risk. You have the rest of your students and your own
>family to think about. Don't think it happens? Tell that to a 5th grade
>teacher I know of who can no longer teach due to injuries received when
>she tried to break up a fight. I love my students, but not enough to risk
>my own life for them.
Well, maybe you could summon the energy to turn a waterhose on them, or at
least call for backup help? I cannot believe any human being could sit
back and watch another human being beat to pieces and not intervene.
But that is exactly what has happened in my own district.
My kids deserve a level of safety when they are in the care of other
Heaven help me if those adults refuse to lift a hand to help them.
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>Teach Mr T wrote:
> The day that my involvement with me students ends in the classroom is the
> day I walk out the door and go back into the newspaper business.
> I feel that my role is to be there for my students for what they need. The
> No. 1 priority is learning (I teach mostly high school juniors U.S.
> History), and that's where we start.
> <deleted for brevity>
A very well and honest message. I feel the same as you, but being from
Ontario, Canada, I have much more legal protection than you. We can touch to
prevent injury, but, of course, we are limited. Here, the judge will look at
the circumstances. Of course, it the board does have a "no touch" rule, being
found innocent in court won't help you when your fired. But, as you, I feel
that I would rather not be teaching at all than to watch someone get hurt.
That's the biggest crime of all for me, but I do NOT blame anyone for being
paranoid. Best of luck. P.S. I taught college for six years, and now I'm 1
1/2 months away from my OTC for high school. I've done some placements in
high schools during my schooling at Queen's, but I don't have near the
experience you do. I hope I can keep my dignity as you have.
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