Some of my students think it’s OK to interact with teachers the same way they interact with their friends or peers. These kids get into all kinds of trouble at school because of it. I try to teach my students there are boundaries that exist between students and teachers that need to be respected, and there are thing students can do at home that they can’t do in school. This week I was given that opportunity to teach those lessons again.
We’re two weeks into the new semester, and my students are really engaged by our class blog and have taken to it like those proverbial ducks to water. Even the most reluctant readers and writers enjoy being able to contribute to the blog and see their work published.
Students had lots of fun choosing and creating avatars to represent themselves. A few students chose avatars inappropriate for the school blog, and those students, after some discussion, got to choose another more appropriate avatar. Those were the same students who when they were creating Vokis to introduce themselves to the others in the class had their Vokis say inappropriate things. Once again, after some discussion, they got to create Vokis more appropriate for the classroom.
Last Thursday, my students were working on an assignment about multiple intelligences. They really liked taking the on-line quiz to determine their own multiple intelligence profile and then seeing the results displayed in a colourful pie chart. (I think this is the best site that I’ve come across for students.) My students wanted to post their results on the class blog so they could compare. No one objected having their results posted. Why? The results showed they were smart in lots of ways, and they needed to hear that. Most of the students in the class have been identified as having learning disablilities. It was wonderful for them to see that they had all these strengths.
We ran out of time in class, and I told my students that I would post their multiple intelligence profiles after school so that we could see them on the blog the next morning. While they were leaving, some of the students were talking about Valentines Day which was on Saturday. I didn’t think anymore about Valentine’s Day until I opened a student’s file to preview it before I posted it and saw that a student had left me a message. (I always preview before a student’s work before it gets posted) The message would have been be most appropriate for a sweet Valentine’s Day card, but not at all appropriate for me, the student’s teacher.
I was stunned by what the student had written. When I finally became “unstunned”, I decided I needed to talk to the student about student/teacher boundaries and what was appropriate and what wasn’t. If the student had been just joking, that wasn’t appropriate. If the student hadn’t been just joking, that wasn’t appropriate either. Either way the message the student wrote to me, a teacher wasn’t appropriate. The student needed to hear this.
I met with the student the next day and talked about the appropriate boundaries within a student/teacher relationship and that the message the student sent wasn’t appropriate. I told the student it was necessary that we both respect the boundaries that needed to exist between a student and a teacher. I hope the student understood.
(Sorry, I don’t have the name of the person who took the photo. It was a creative commons copyright photo. If you know the name of the person please tell me, and I’ll post it.)