Teachers and substitute teachers don't go looking for trouble, but sometimes trouble finds them.
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Greg Colin substitute teachers lounge, it is episode 198. And I'd venture to say this is probably the most serious episode we've ever had. There are some times you'll read an article in a newspaper about a teacher, and you'll say that is appalling. And then there's other times you'll read articles about a teacher and you'll say, Man, that is too bad for that teacher. Just think of what they're going through right now. Well, we're going to talk about the second today. So let's see if we can discuss and improve our situations together. Alright, guys, it is March 5 2023. I don't often you know, Hina flush them out. Podcasts are pretty I try to keep them upbeat and uplifting, but there's just been a and this is one of my favorite times a year to be honest. March is my birthday month. March is when there is a huge volleyball tournament, the biggest of the year that involves numerous numerous courts at a big exposition center that I get to participate in, I'm getting ready to go witness some of the postseason basketball. And I just love all this time of year. But yet, I've read enough in the paper recently, that I think it's time we had an episode about staying out of trouble. I know you're not seeking out trouble. But sometimes the trouble find you, I recently read an article in a newspaper about a teacher that had gotten innocently carried away with texting individual students, this teacher chose texting as the way to communicate with students. And it started out with grades. And then it went to congratulate congratulations. And it read as if I don't know anything else behind the story. But it read as if the teacher did not mean to imply anything by the text. But yet, that teacher is getting sued. Because our texts, obviously are discoverable records. And the parents or guardians or whatever the situation was decided to use those records against her when maybe the teacher did not intend anything. Did not tend to misrepresent anything as far as a teacher and a student. But yet, I'm thinking, Alright, it's time for us to talk about on this podcast, some things you need to do. Or maybe it's best said some things you don't need to be doing to help keep you out of trouble in that respect. And to be honest, it's just as applicable to teachers, maybe even more so then substitute teachers. So let's talk a little bit. Let's talk first of all about this monster we call social media. I mean, everything you put on social media is discoverable and can be found whether you put it in a private location or not. Now that is not a legal representation. But I say all that to say if a hacker or somebody wants to find out information, well guess what, if you put that in a Facebook and a Twitter in some kind of documented type medium, it could be discovered by someone else. And if they had a grudge against you, perhaps held against you. So that's the first thing we want to keep in mind. And then we open the door to things such as should I accept friend requests from students? Now I know there's two extremes. One is the super conservative extreme extreme, the total caution extreme and that is never accept a friend request or definitely don't ask a student to be a friend but never accept a friend request ever, ever. Don't ever do it. That's on the one extreme on the other stream is not only accepting friend requests, but interactively communicating with students all the time on there. And then there's like the in between, which I think is where most teachers are. I think that the majority of the teacher errs and substitute teachers for that matter that I've run into, here's the procedure they use, you're going I mean, you want to be, I don't hate to use the word popular, but maybe that's what it is, you want to be popular with the students and your fellow teachers. Obviously, as it's there's nothing wrong with accepting a friend request from a teacher, what we're really discussing is accepting friend requests from students. Now, keep in mind, if you do, you're going to be seeing what they post unless you just choose not to do that, or you're going to be seeing the pictures, they post, all that kind of thing is now visible to you. So you have to think about that. A lot of teachers are taking the approach that and maybe substitute teachers as well. If a student sends you a friend request, I will only accept it, if I see that you're already friends with other teachers, that I know. So that might be one approach that many of you are taking, if you are taking this approach, I would recommend, I mean, this is what I would do, if I accept it, that approach, I would still refuse to communicate with those students that are your friends in Facebook. And the reason I say that, and I mean, when I say refuse, I remember I mean not even clicking the like button on something that they can post, anything can be interpreted any way somebody else wants to. So just think about what you're doing in the case is I understand from the teacher, it did become a back and forth tech situation that the parents became uncomfortable with, and called the teacher out on it, the school out policies about it, that type of thing. But just remember, if you do choose to become social media, friends, with students, you can protect yourself better if you don't actually communicate with them. But you just serve as that social media friend, you know that there's some students that would be disappointed if you didn't become their friend. There's some, there's some that I know that I know that the teachers are social media with friends, some choose not to some type messages to my fellow students in general, general messages like that. And that would probably probably keep you protected from anything down the road, perhaps, of course, I know a lot of you live in states like Kentucky, where it's basically you can sue anybody for any reason. So you have to keep all that in mind. But just refrain from anything that, you know, maybe the best thing to do is keep jumping around. But the best thing to do is refrain from anything that if that was your child being communicated in that manner with that teacher? Would you feel uncomfortable about it? Or probably even more so than that? You might know the teacher and feel comfortable with the teacher. But if you were haps, if you if your child was being taught by a teacher that you didn't know that well, and you knew they were communicating through social media, would you feel uncomfortable about it? Therefore? Would others feel uncomfortable if you were communicating with students? And you can say as much as you want to? But you know, I'm a nice person, I would never do something like that. And of course, you wouldn't, but does it matter? Because if you give the appearance of impropriety, then you just have to be concerned about using those communication methods. So let's get away from social media. And let's talk about situations within the school. Now. Let's talk about it in two ways. Let's talk about the way you discipline a student and we'll save that for a few minutes later. But let's now talk about the way that you motivate students. Sometimes depending on the age of the student, maybe there's a hug involved. Maybe that could possibly be interpreted the wrong way. Maybe you probably the best way to do if you're just that kind of person is. If you're going to hug one offer a hug to everyone. Give them the option of saying no But at the same time, make sure that they know this isn't a requirement, I just want you to know that I'm concerned for you. And this is the way the classroom is run. Now, many of you, in fact, I would think the majority of you are not into that kind of interaction. And that obviously would keep you safe from that environment. Those of you that like, and I know our teachers are our best it, they think their students lives are important and they want to change. Sometimes that change involves emotional discussions, not personal discussions, just emotional discussions. Johnny, you always do good on test what happened today. And sometimes you can see it in their face. And you don't have necessarily to give a hug. Sometimes you just need to provide your ears, listen to their situation, let them talk it out with you. Maybe they've not talked it out with anyone else. But you. Sometimes obviously, you might not be able to provide help. A lot of times it might be improper for you to be the one to provide help. Maybe you could say, you know, Miss Smith over here, or whoever it might be. She's a great counselor, I think she's got some ideas that would help you with this situation, why don't you consider talking to her. And don't make them of course, don't march them down there, but offer that as a suggestion. And maybe that will help that student, there's way to motivate students, without any type of hugging, or just fist bumps, I'm a fist bump person, I fist bump students a lot. They know it a lot of times, a lot of times they'll hold their fist up first, you got to remember though, anytime you're doing any of this, that, again, not so much social media, but cameras are around you, whether you think there they are or not. You can think as long as you want to that students have put those cameras in the pockets on the walls, and they would never take a picture of you. Well, you just got to think about when you are talking to a student the way certain things look. And if you want it that type of picture, posted somewhere by someone that doesn't particularly like you as much as others, or that somebody you gave a bad grade to, you just never know what's going to motivate them to do that. Now finally, let's talk about discipline. I tell the students that when I was their age, and by the way, I turned 65 here in just a few more days. So I've got my Medicare information all lined up. It's certainly my a trip to go through. But I think I tried to stay youthful and at least joke around to the point that I can carry on conversations, I believe with just about everybody but I tell the students stories about most every one of my teachers kept a wooden paddle behind their door, some with holes they had drilled in it. I mean, if the holes are drilled in it that is to provide more pain. I remember hearing spankings in the hallway. Thank goodness that we've gotten past that point. And we don't do that anymore. In schools. You know, today, it just kind of makes you cringe when you hear about spanking, but if a student gets out of hand in your classrooms today, do you reach out, grab them by the arm and say, Listen, we'll be careful about that. That is physical contact that really doesn't need to take place. You've got to make a decision in your mind how you're going to handle discipline. Most teachers these days, they do it with their voice when they raise their voice. I had a student this last week that probably a great student didn't know them that well, but it's just they had done so many aggravating things. For instance, they would ask me, What does this button do? And I would tell them not to touch it. And they didn't. But they were at collecting, they're going to touch it. Well, after so many of those, it gets on your nerves. So I had to call them out. I didn't do anything more than just moving him to the back of the lunch line. And they were in the front of the lunch line. So it did bother them. But we have to be careful the way we discipline we obviously have to discipline and there are still parents around that. If you're if their child does something wrong, they want you to discipline them they want you to correct the situation. You just have to Be concerned about how you correct situations. And I was getting ready to say these days. But that's not really proper because some of the punishment we did in days past was not proper. So I'll just leave it at that. So be thinking about ways you interact with students the way you communicate with students. I think the best philosophy is think about that with your child when they're a student. Would it ever look funny to you? And if it would, well, then maybe it's best you stay around from that exact same type of situation. You're careful about what you post, you're careful about what you accept in post. You're careful about how you interact positively with students, and you're careful careful about how you discipline students and let's keep our names out of the newspapers and let's try our best to stay out of trouble and have to go through a situation that was really innocent, but it's something you have to deal with. Anyway.