TeacherServer.com
Home | How It Works | Stats
Login | Register
     
 
Topic Go Back
 
     
     
 
Case
Posted on November 18, 2012 3:24 am
Add to Favorites Add to Favorites

Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 614
Was Alex too Friendly?
My good friend Alex, who is a White person from Central America, has been teaching biology at a high school for two years. The school where he works serves a majority Black student population. One of the strengths of Alex is his ability to connect with people and establish good relationships. He used his skills in his new school, too, to form close relationships with his students. He believes that a teacher should be like a friend to the students for the students to trust and relate to the teacher. He gained popularity among teachers and students as a great biology teacher. One specific incident got him in great trouble. As he was walking from his car to the school building one morning, students greeted him with smiley faces and friendly attitudes. Most students greeted him by saying things like “What’s up Mr. A?” “What is going on dude?” “How you doing buddy?” Alex found these appropriate and responded to students similarly every day. This specific morning, one student greeted Alex by saying “What’s up nigga?” and Alex responded to the student using the same phrase. The next day he found out that the student and his family filed a complaint against Alex for using the “n word.” The principal asked Alex to submit a written explanation in his defense and that his position at this school was at jeopardy. Alex asked for help, and I am not sure what to tell him.
 
     
     
 
Reply Submit a Possible Solution
Please read response(s) below (if any) before posting your solution.
 
     
     
 
Solution 1
Posted November 30, 2012 1:55 pm

BreAnna Sinclair
BreAnna Sinclair
Reps: 118
It seems that Alex didn't realize his comment was inappropriate. I would suggest that Alex write an apologetic defense and explain the misunderstanding. He should be sure to include that the word is not used in his home culture, so he was unware that it had such a negative connotation. I would also suggest that Alex speak with and apologize to the principal, the student, and the student's parents all together to explain the situation. Alex should also explain that he will set cultural boundries and relationship boundries for the future. He will not use terms or phrases that he doesn't fully understand without asking a trusted adult the meaning. He should also seek another professional, such as a counselor, to discuss common inappropriate statements used by high schoolers.

While I do agree that Alex was mistakenly in the wrong, I also believe the student should be held accountable as well. Either the student purposefully set Alex up or just causually used the inappropriate word himself.
Votes: +21 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

neHaGy
neHaGy
Reps: 200
This is an great solution! i will definitely use this in my classroom.
  Posted on: October 2, 2015 6:36 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 2
Posted December 6, 2012 2:19 pm

Jessica Oglesby
Jessica Oglesby
Reps: 110
It sounds like Alex made a huge mistake without even knowing it. Sometimes teachers break the barrier between teacher and friend, and this can cause a lot of controversy. I do not allow the use of the "n" word in any circumstance in or out of the classroom. This word is totally inappropriate, no excuses! It seems that Alex has got himself in a bind and should have used his professional judgement rather than worrying about gainning "cool points".
Votes: +6 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

neHaGy
neHaGy
Reps: 200
This is an great solution! i will definitely use this in my classroom.
  Posted on: October 2, 2015 6:36 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 3
Posted December 6, 2012 10:31 pm

Savanna Hayman
Savanna Hayman
Reps: 104
I believe that Alex was inappropriate, but whats done is done and all he can do now is explain that he makes an effort to be the best teacher he can be and interact with students on a personal level. Although i do think that it was inappropriate and he should be disciplined for his actions, I do not think that he meant any negative connotation by it.
Votes: +2 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 4
Posted December 9, 2012 5:35 pm

John Buxton
John Buxton
Reps: 114
First of all, him saying that word was a stupid decision on his part. He really does not have a good defense in this situation. The only thing he can do is apologize for what he said and explain that him being friends with the students helps him teach better. He just has to admit that he made a mstake and hope for the best.
Votes: +2 / -1 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 5
Posted December 4, 2012 7:46 pm

Jessica DeLaigle
Jessica DeLaigle
Reps: 110
I feel Alex crossed the line. He is a teacher and should have realized that he shouldn't have said something like that... ever. Also, it's okay to be close to your students but working with high school students is a lot different than younger children. The high school students need to know that Alex is their teacher, not their friend. I would talk to him about his relationship/professionalism with his students.
Votes: +1 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 6
Posted December 9, 2012 10:38 pm

Lindsey Harrison
Lindsey Harrison
Reps: 108
It seems as though this is a wake up call for Alex. As much as we want to connect with our students, there is a fine line between being a professional. I believe it is not acceptable to become "friends" with your students. They are the student, and you are the teacher. You are there to teach and to be a role model to them. I think that the teacher should explain he did not mean the word to offend anyone, and that he was simply using it in common language with the student. He should apologize for the word.
Votes: +1 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 7
Posted December 5, 2012 12:44 pm

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
My experience is that I would love to be close friends with many of my students, however this just can't be because you lose the authority persona with your students and familiarity creates situations that will be misunderstood. It is also more important for male teachers to maintain this distance. I know as soon as a fourteen year old female student comes up and huggs Mr Sanders at a b- ball game, some tongues will wag. The same goes for friending students on social media sites, people troll these sites for anything that might be deemed inappropriate, racist, etc. Stay off with students. Stay Professional at All Times.
Votes: +1 / -1 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

vabehe
vabehe
Reps: 69
Stay professional at all times! I definitely agree with that and think more teachers should remember that! Just like parents cannot be friends with their children, we cannot be friends with our students. You can be professional and someone a student trusts and likes.
  Posted on: May 28, 2015 10:05 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 8
Posted December 1, 2012 2:26 pm

Sha'keela McClendon
Sha'keela McClendon
Reps: 141
Another Lifetime story gone wrong. Alex was too friendly. I think he should apologize to the student and principle about what happened, explaining to them that this was a misunderstanding that got carried away. Alex should change the way he connects with his students setting rules how his students communicate with him.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 9
Posted December 5, 2012 10:18 pm

Jill Graff
Jill Graff
Reps: 104
My number one concern is what the student actually went home and told his/her parents. Then Alex needs to clarify how and why he used the word. Now, I've actually had this conversation with my black students and they tell me it is OK for them to use it, but I as a white teacher should not. Alex should apologize as he may not have known that he was inappropriate, but his job being in jeopardy, that seems far fetched for me, there are bigger fish to fry in the world.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

vabehe
vabehe
Reps: 69
I also thought his job being in jeopardy was a bit much. I know teachers who are doing far worse that that and still have their jobs! It would be crucial to find out what the parents heard from the student. Seems to me there may be more to the story and that he possibly fabricated what really happened.
  Posted on: May 28, 2015 10:08 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 10
Posted December 8, 2012 3:21 pm

Amari Hagan
Amari Hagan
Reps: 115
I would address to Alex that he was being too friendly, and that is okay to be your students’ friend at time but he should have set standards of how far to carry the friendship because he is still a teacher. I will tell him to do a written explanation and just simply telling the truth about what he said and his relationship with his students. I would tell Alex to realize what he did and to correct it in the future so that this incident won’t happen again.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 11
Posted December 9, 2012 4:55 pm

Erin Warren
Erin Warren
Reps: 142
I think that Alex was too friendly. I would apologize to the parents and explain that you were trying to have a "TEacher/friend" relationship but now you see that it was inappropriate. I do not allow that word in my classroom by anyone, and I think as an adult and teacher we should not be the "friend" but the confidant and person who they trust. That is different than a friend.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

neHaGy
neHaGy
Reps: 200
This is an great solution! i will definitely use this in my classroom.
  Posted on: October 2, 2015 6:37 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 12
Posted March 2, 2015 3:52 am

JuMaPa
JuMaPa
Reps: 100
Wow, the racial ignorance anong teachers is reeealll; no matter who says it, the n word is NOT okay to use, student or teacher, pale or dark. I seriously haven't a clue if Alex was thinking, but the parents had every right to file a complaint.
A student using a slur in a greeting does NOT mean you can repeat it.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

neHaGy
neHaGy
Reps: 200
I agree
  Posted on: October 2, 2015 6:37 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 13
Posted December 8, 2012 3:54 pm

Anna Washinger
Anna Washinger
Reps: 121
Even though this was clearly an honest mistake from Alex, I do think he needs to be careful about crossing the teacher-friend barrier. It was almost as if the student set him up for a trap. I would send an apologetic note home to the student and his family explaining everything that was said and how it was a great misunderstanding, but that it would never occur again. I would then ask specific students in my class what they were comfortable with as far as "names" or "nick-names" to help me under stand what was acceptable for future reference. If a student were to use the "n-word" to the teacher again, I would report or discipline the student. If Alex did not want to take it that far, he should tell the student that the word is not appropriate to use, and makes him uncomfortable when called that.
Votes: +0 / -1 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 14
Posted March 2, 2015 3:54 am

JuMaPa
JuMaPa
Reps: 100
The title shouldn't be "Was Alex too friendly? " but rather "Was Alex even thinking though?"
Votes: +0 / -4 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Reply Submit a Possible Solution
Please read response(s) below (if any) before posting your solution.