Month: March 2010

The Tale of the Overly Horny Teenagers

This isn’t my first time teaching high school. My first teaching gig was high school, I taught seniors and freshman and for the most part liked it enough to decide that teaching was the right career choice for me. The right choice to enable me time to write and still have meaningful, and stimulating conversation almost regularly.

While, I love teaching college, unfortunately I need to graduate with my MFA in order to get a permanent teaching job. I’m hoping that I get to do this in the fall. This past week has been a reminder to me about my goals, my ambitions, and what is right for me as both a writer and teacher.

Don’t get me wrong, I have good kids, and I’m teaching American Literature which means I’m teaching some really really great stuff. The teacher I took over for, I believe, did not have her whole heart in teaching which would explain why she left in the middle of the year. I teach three classes, one of the classes is great. The students are well-behaved and quiet. They let me teach, rarely talk over me–they are a teacher’s dream. My other two classes are not so lovely, and while it is partly because the students all seem to be friends both classes have one student who are such distractions that I’m not quite sure what to do with them.

Now, I’m a young female teacher. I’m in my mid twenties and while I’m not super thin, I’m not fat either. I dress professionally and I’m a goof. For some reason, these two boy students think I’m some gorgeous goddess and are constantly hitting on me while I’m trying to teach. It’s not flattering, it’s annoying. They are rude, and I’m concerned their behavior will get me into trouble.

Yes, yes, yes I’ve told them about how inappropriate they are being and have told them how unethical and unprofessional it is for students and teachers to have romantic relationships. I’ve also told them that hell could freeze over, and the Pope could come visit me in his fabulous Prada shoes and I still would not date them.  Never, not in a million years. Never ever ever, so stop asking.

I will admit, it was slightly comical on the first day. I tried knocking them down which resulted in other students reminding these rude students that their teacher had “burned” them and “oh snap! our teacher don’t play!” Day two, I reminded them that they were being inappropriate and rude. “No, I will not be your facebook friend. I’m not your friend I’m your teacher. Also, I don’t like you.” After THREE friend requests from the same student I changed my privacy settings so that only my friends could find me and subsequently blocked this student and reported them to facebook.

Days three and four I thought ignoring them would end the problem. It did not. By Friday, I reminded them of the ethical issues, called and emailed their parents and alerted adminstration.

There are a few things that bother me about this situation. The first is that I’m being sexually harassed by seventeen year old boys. I refuse to be a victim to this. I do not dress inappropriately, and do not discuss topics in my classroom that would warrant any advances from my students. This is flat-out abuse and I will not tolerate it. I have no problem asking adminstration to switch them out of my classroom.

The second thing that bothers me is that they are disrupting the learning of the other students. This is also unacceptable. The students are there to learn, and I am there to teach them. This rude harassment is preventing me from doing my job at one hundred percent. This is not acceptable.

Finally, this behavior is not acceptable for boys who wish to contribute to society and eventually date–if they aren’t already–girls. No woman should be treated like this, regardless of if they are the teacher, or an innocent girl at a bar. The constant pushing by these boys is not okay. If a girl says, “no I don’t want to be with you,” the boy shouldn’t keep asking over and over again. They must move on. In the instance with the facebook friending–it is flat-out stalking which is illegal. High school is the age when boys and girls are supposed to learn how to treat each other when it comes to dating and things like that, and these boys are tormentors, abusers, and it should not and will not be tolerated.

I discussed this issue I was having in my classroom with my best friend, who is a high school teacher as well. She was shocked by the consistent behavior and was surprised the other students in the class were letting it go on. She said it was one thing for it to happen for two days but the fact that it was blatant and continuing was a red flag. 

Her saying this made me think of being in high school, while my class never had a young good-looking female teacher, I know the boys in my class would not have allowed any boys to be so rude to a woman. It would have been an issue that would have been self-regulated by the students. It makes me wonder if young boys have become too aggressive when it comes to advances towards girls. If this is the case, I’m pretty sure the crap kids watch on tv is partly to blame.

I may use this situation as a teaching moment to show the boys that treating women like objects and harassing them is not the way to get a girl to like you; sexual harassment is illegal.

One of my deepest concerns is that these boys will start some horrible rumor that insinuates some kind of inappropriate relationship between the teacher (me) and the student. While, of course, this is not going on, students can be cruel and I’m concerned for my career. I’ve worked too hard and long to have my professional reputation put at risk because of two horny seventeen year olds.

I’m hoping the harassment stops once the parents and adminstration get involved.

I will say this week has been eye-opening, and has given me a lot of motivation to graduate this summer. Can’t wait!

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I’m Back!

I know, I know. I’m a terrible person. I haven’t written in ages and I would understand if you all stopped reading because my posting has been inconsistent. I blame this inconsistency on the current lack of structure in my life. I’m not good at life when I have nowhere to be. I slack off on everything, my writing, my workouts, my diet, and anything else that it’s important.

This however will change soon. I have been looking for a teaching job since I moved to this new city and have finally landed one. While I know I’m more than qualified to teach, the competition here is stiff. Believe it or not, I’m currently living in a city with an over abundance of teachers. The counties and state are at a hiring freeze, so it’s a miracle (Thanks St. Joe for looking out for me) that I got this job and was hired laterally. My whole life my family, all of whom are teachers, has told me that there is security in teaching. Not so much. I’ve learned there isn’t security in any field.

That being said, I can’t wait. I didn’t think I’d miss teaching as much as I do. My fall semester classes ended early December and I haven’t taught a thing since then. The job I will start on Monday is a high school job. I’ll be teaching American Literature to honors juniors. I’ve been working on the syllabus (I finally finished it, and need to type it up) and have now planned every class including homework, tests, projects, and presentations until the last day school. I’m a psycho like that. I hate starting a teaching job and not knowing the direction and arc of the course.

As I worked on this syllabus I was shocked at how much I loved American literature. My first high school teaching job was British literature and I was sure nothing could ever top the great Brits! I might be wrong. It could also be that I’m such a book nerd that the places the writers are from has nothing to do with it. It’s just that I love good writing.

So, readers. Faithful and not so faithful you can expect more posts from now on. I promise. Pinky promise, even.

I face a great challenge. My thesis revision is not complete, though it is coming along (more on that soon). I’m set to graduate in August and I’ve decided to start another master’s degree so I can get a professional teaching license in this state as a back up. I hope I won’t have to teach high school for long, although I’d rather teach high school than not teach at all.

God-willing I’ll find a professor or instructor position for the fall. I’ve noticed the colleges and universities in the area have started to post some.

For past three months I’ve had no excuses to work on my thesis and have still not spent enough time on it, now I’ll have excuses but will have to fight the urge to procrastinate and just do it. That is another reason I did hardcore planning on my syllabus because I think it will save me so much time in the end. Still, I’m a bit nervous about trying to do too much. I need to finish my thesis, graduate, apply to another graduate school, and apply for instructor positions. And for those of you who are still on the job hunt, or have recently gone off the job hunt you know that finding a job is a full-time job. Though I’m slightly ashamed to admit this, there were days when I considered job giving up. It can really weigh you down when you got to interview after interview or send out application after application and get nothing back. There were days when I felt truly defeated and I’m not going to lie, I’m nervous about what’s going to happen after this job ends because it might not be an available teaching job for the fall, which could be a good thing because it will force me to try even harder to get a job at a university, but having job security makes sleeping a lot easier.

If you’re out there looking and looking do NOT quit. I can say it because, I thought about just being a starving writer. The thing is, I don’t do starving.