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DawnM

What is your opinion on high school staff swearing around kids? Swearing at kids?

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It has nothing to do with whether it is shocking or not.  It has everything to do with his position being a professional one in working with kids.  So his language in print and in person needs to match the dictates of the job.  If you can't police your language enough to do your job professionally then you have a big problem.  (Lots and lots of jobs require you to curb your speech.)  

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Tanaqui, that teacher would have been in a world of sorry if he had done that in my neck of the woods! Middle school was long ago for me, but I think it would be the same now, from what I see and hear. It would be like a preacher dropping the f bomb in church, lol.

 

Which is why I said it might be okay provided it isn't too far out of community norms :)

 

On the flip side, 90% or more of the cases I've heard of religious promotion in public schools comes from the South, so on the whole I think NYC is better off. I'd rather have the profanity than the preaching, any day of the week.

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Um, NO. An adult swearing in front of any school age kid is completely unacceptable. Quite frankly, I'm shocked that some of you think it's totally ok. How and why?

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Um, NO. An adult swearing in front of any school age kid is completely unacceptable. Quite frankly, I'm shocked that some of you think it's totally ok. How and why?

 

Some of us don't think those words are a big deal. The Anglosphere is a very big place, and community norms vary quite a bit from one corner of it to another.

 

Personally, I'm shocked that some people think that the specific language used is more important than the intent and meaning of the message. I cannot imagine framing this issue, as the OP did, as one having to do with "swearing". As I said, it seems evident to me that the real problem is that he's berating his students, and I would never give that less importance than his language choice. The words he's using when he does that aren't all that important to me.

 

Edit: That's not to say that I don't agree that there are some words which should NOT be used! The sociolinguistics of taboo language is really fascinating, and in common with most people in my region and generation I put slurs as my number one category of "don't go there". So if he'd been using language that's derogatory towards certain groups of people, that'd be ENORMOUS... though I suppose the sentiments behind those words would still be disgusting even if he didn't actually use the slurs.

 

Edited by Tanaqui
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No no no. Why do people think that teens are all rebels that glory in cussing?

 

whatever happened to acting like an adult - so teens can learn how "it's done"?

 

eta: speaking from experience here, when the "adults"  (I use the term loosely) act like snotty obnoxious teens, the teens behavior will get more extreme to show their "rebelliousness".

or the teen will completely stop listening to the adult.

Edited by gardenmom5
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Well, without knowing the details I don't care so much, but after reading the details, it sounds rather crappy.  The attitude and treatment is just a bit much for a high school drama group.  I'd be more bugged by that.

 

 

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Which is why I said it might be okay provided it isn't too far out of community norms :)

 

On the flip side, 90% or more of the cases I've heard of religious promotion in public schools comes from the South, so on the whole I think NYC is better off. I'd rather have the profanity than the preaching, any day of the week.

 

I wasn't trying to say that my neck of the woods is better than yours, lol. 

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Well, without knowing the details I don't care so much, but after reading the details, it sounds rather crappy.  The attitude and treatment is just a bit much for a high school drama group.  I'd be more bugged by that.

 

hmm.  maybe that explains it.  sure it's a high school teacher - but *drama*.    and too much emo.  

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Just so you are aware of my bias, I do not swear or curse, and I don't particularly like it hear it. 

 

High schoolers hearing swear/curse words - many are probably saying worse than they are hearing.  I don't think it is professional for a teacher/coach/etc. to have the "mouth of a sailor" while performing their job, but some peppering here or there certainly wouldn't be cause for concern for me.

 

Swearing/Cursing AT - totally different story.  First, I find it quite hostile.  It is anger, frustration, and impatience not communicated in a way that seems motivating or addressing the true problem.  Second, I find it demeaning to the person on the receiving end.

 

I'm not exactly sure how I would handle the situation, but I would find your example HIGHLY inappropriate.  Theatre, sports, or other activity doesn't matter.

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Just a note of caution... this wouldn't fall under mandatory reporter rules in your state, would it?

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It's cracking me up that so many people use a baby word ("potty mouth") to describe their use of profanity. 

 

I grew up with profanity as regular conversation. I knew all the words from a young age. Some of them made me feel physically ill when I heard them said out loud by my own family members.  But my family would not have known how much I hated hearing it, because of course I wouldn't speak up.  I did notice that I never heard that language at my friends' houses, and my family wouldn't talk that way when other people were around.   So I wouldn't be too sure that young people are comfortable with it just because it's becoming more common.

 

Anyway, I would still find them flying out of my  mouth because I was so immersed in that language.  My husband, however, did not grow up with that. So when we got married I made an effort to control it.  It was hard for a while, but by the time we had our first kid, I rarely had to watch myself.  

 

My kids were quite scandalized to hear me say "what the hell..." a couple of times in their young lives.  Of course by now they've heard it all on tv, video games, etc., but they have never cursed in my hearing and I'm glad I learned to control myself.   

 

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Even taking the specific words out of the equation, is FB being solely used as a communication tool or as a way to thin the boundary between teacher and students right under the parents' noses?

 

Perhaps this is my own personal experience clouding how I view this, but in an activity where the adults and students are spending a lot of time together (especially an artistic one where there's inherently an emotional component to things - music, drama, etc.), that dividing line between teacher and student needs to be firm.  Blurring it with teenager-level swearing and jabs and flaunting it right in front of parents, as if to say, "See, this is all normal and fine," kind of makes me see little red flags popping up.

 

Or maybe he really does fancy himself so high and mighty he thinks he can verbally abuse kids into giving him an amazing performance to take the credit for.  I've seen that too.

 

If you haven't seen Whiplash, I recommend it.  It's portrayed in the movie at the college level, but it's like all the bad behaviors I've ever seen in high school level directors shoved into one single character.

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Even taking the specific words out of the equation, is FB being solely used as a communication tool or as a way to thin the boundary between teacher and students right under the parents' noses?

 

Perhaps this is my own personal experience clouding how I view this, but in an activity where the adults and students are spending a lot of time together (especially an artistic one where there's inherently an emotional component to things - music, drama, etc.), that dividing line between teacher and student needs to be firm.  Blurring it with teenager-level swearing and jabs and flaunting it right in front of parents, as if to say, "See, this is all normal and fine," kind of makes me see little red flags popping up.

 

 

 

 

Yeah, the FB thing threw me too. That's a big not okay thing around here. 

 

I was talking about this type of thing with my dd this morning (for some reason swearing and language has been a frequent topic of conversation around here.) She told me that professors parents, and teachers (basically old people :)) who swear as a way to seem relevant and edgy LOSE the respect of the students. Students sort of expect those in charge to act like professional and think it's dumb when teachers try to fit in like this.

 

And kids can generally tell whether someone just swears from time to time because it's how they talk vs. swearing to fit in with kids of another generation.

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I would find it unacceptable.  Teachers should be modeling appropriate behavior to their students. But I am old and really don't like the how coarse everyday language has become overall.

It's unacceptable even if 'language' in general doesn't bother you.

 

It's poor teaching.

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It's unprofessional. I'd overlook it if my kid didn't want me to say anything, but it would be a whole different can of worms if he said any of that TO my kid. On a public forum or in person.

 

It would be one of those times I sat my kid down to have a talk about how grossly unprofessional that was. We would discuss how important it is to have enough common sense not to put stuff like that on the Internet, because that could come back to bite you and possibly hurt you professionally in the future. And I would say that we have our own standards of how we conduct ourselves in our family and out in the world. 

 

They (our kids) are going to hear it no matter what, but they can still be taught that this is not a good example of proper behavior. 

 

Personally, I'm not a fan of people using foul language in situations and settings where it's just not the place or time to let obscenities come flying out. Sometimes you need to know how to reign yourself in a bit.

 

I can't imagine this would even be tolerated at our local high school. Somebody would probably print it out and take it to administration.....but you never know.

 

I think it would be a good idea if you did print that out just in case things get worse and you need it later.

Edited by Indigo Blue
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Just a note of caution... this wouldn't fall under mandatory reporter rules in your state, would it?

 

No, it wouldn't.  

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Good grief. I'm SUPER liberal about language. My kids swear. I swear. I wouldn't think that's okay.

 

I think teachers get a pass for messing up a time or two, especially not swearing at a kid, but at a situation. It's a hard job. I've been there. But like that? I can't believe that's tolerated.

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Not near as bad as having a shop/English teacher giving advice on s3x and s3xual positions to all the boys in class, in front of all the girls.

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Not near as bad as having a shop/English teacher giving advice on s3x and s3xual positions to all the boys in class, in front of all the girls.

?? It’s not as bad as a lot of things. Is that the criteria for what is appropriate? School staff have a code of conduct. I would be surprised if it didn’t include language use.

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?? It’s not as bad as a lot of things. Is that the criteria for what is appropriate? School staff have a code of conduct. I would be surprised if it didn’t include language use.

 

Though it happened, I was saying it with tongue in cheek. No, it's not the criteria, obviously. Thought you knew me better than that.

Edited by mommaduck
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Both swearing around and at students are unprofessional. One is highly inappropriate to the degree that it should be addressed with corrective action.

 

Teachers shouldn’t be swearing around students. But if it were mild and happened occasionally around teens, I wouldn’t see it as being that big of a deal.

 

Teachers and really NOBODY should be swearing AT someone. I have drummed this into my son’s heads. We do not swear at people. It’s not ok.

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When I was in school a student would get suspended, have detention or some kind if punishment for swearing AT ALL.

 

A teacher berating students publicly in writing using swear words? How can this not be wrong and unprofessional and should it not be punished?

 

OP, I understand that you would not want to speak up but I wish one of the parents would. I wish that guy would be punished. I bet the kids would like it too. I bet they don't like reading his comments. It's demeaning.

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It sounds like a guy trying to be "cool" and "edgy". I don't mind a slipped in word but swearing at my kid, or me, is disrespectful and unprofessional but you saying so probably won't stop it. He's created a character "the passionate director".

 

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Teachers should not swear at or round children, it is just unprofessional. I wouldn't be really upset if a teacher slipped up then apologised. I would also think it fine if for example their fingers got jammed in the door.

 

Swearing at someone and even more swearing at someone in writing though takes it to a whole new level.

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Not near as bad as having a shop/English teacher giving advice on s3x and s3xual positions to all the boys in class, in front of all the girls.

 

I am not really looking for a contest of "what is worse than this?"  I am just asking if this is appropriate.

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If this were a different type of abuse would you keep your mouth shut?

 

It sounds like your kid may be afraid of retaliation. In your place I would speak to the principal, sharing screen shots (cropped so that you/your son's user status is not apparent), and ask the principal to address the issue. You can ask to remain anonymous.

 

Those kids are in a vulnerable position, it is not up to them to call the teacher out on his abuse. Adults who become aware of it need to step up.

 

Does your district have a cyber bullying policy? If so this could fall under that.

Edited by maize
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If this were a different type of abuse would you keep your mouth shut?

 

It sounds like your kid may be afraid of retaliation. In your place I would speak to the principal, sharing screen shots (cropped so that you/your son's user status is not apparent), and ask the principal to address the issue. You can ask to remain anonymous.

 

Those kids are in a vulnerable position, it is not up to them to call the teacher out on his abuse. Adults who become aware of it need to step up.

 

Does your district have a cyber bullying policy? If so this could fall under that.

 

It doesn't.  It isn't threatening.  

 

He could get in trouble from the school, but not by law enforcement.  

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It doesn't. It isn't threatening.

 

He could get in trouble from the school, but not by law enforcement.

What do you plan to do?

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What do you plan to do?

 

I have already stated that at this time I am not doing anything.  I was asking for opinions on what people think of it, not saying I was looking to call the police and report cyber-bullying, that actually surprised me.  

Edited by DawnM

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I have a filthy mouth.  Like, really filthy.  But I would be furious with any adult who spoke to kids that way. Probably extra furious for putting it in that semi-public format, in print.

 

I'm not all that thrilled with a director who posted to a group about the majority (no names given) of younger students being behind on their lines, without profanity.  Speak to the kids, speak to the parents if needed, but public shaming doesn't sit well with me, however it's phrased.  But with the language in the given examples?  That person shouldn't be allowed to work with kids.

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I have already stated that at this time I am not doing anything. I was asking for opinions on what people think of it, not saying I was looking to call the police and report cyber-bullying, that actually surprised me.

Dawn, I’m just curious how your son and the other students feel about this teacher? Do they like him? I’m really trying to see another perspective here. How would the students describe him?

 

It won’t change that I feel his language is still inappropriate, but I am curious how the students perceive him and their relationship with him.

 

As far as his tone that so many mentioned, our local middle school drama teacher constantly has meltdowns, yells at kids, will call individuals out for mistakes or slacking. I find it absurd. But she loves the kids and they love her back. So his tone didn’t surprise me in his Facebook posts. His language of, “Hey get your sh*t together dumba$$†was more alarming (my paraphrase - can’t remember his exact words).

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Dawn, I’m just curious how your son and the other students feel about this teacher? Do they like him? I’m really trying to see another perspective here. How would the students describe him?

 

It won’t change that I feel his language is still inappropriate, but I am curious how the students perceive him and their relationship with him.

 

As far as his tone that so many mentioned, our local middle school drama teacher constantly has meltdowns, yells at kids, will call individuals out for mistakes or slacking. I find it absurd. But she loves the kids and they love her back. So his tone didn’t surprise me in his Facebook posts. His language of, “Hey get your sh*t together dumba$$†was more alarming (my paraphrase - can’t remember his exact words).

 

That is a good question.  Last night I again told my son it irritated me that this man was posting this stuff, but says he likes him and that he and the students get along well, and he cares about the kids.  

 

I personally think he has delusions of working on Broadway, and that was confirmed yesterday when I spoke to our drama teacher about it where I currently work (middle school, but he used to do Opera in San Fran, so he has actual real world experience.)  He said this is one "method" of directing, which he doesn't like, but it is a way to direct.  

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It's funny how different people are.  In my son's drama group we once went to a parent presentation and one of the girls said shi*.  The instructors all freaked out over it.  I thought it was fine.  These were high school students and it made sense within the context of the skit.  But yeah they were highly concerned over this.  LOL

 

 

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In light of some of the comments, I would like to clarify my position.

 

The question asked was how we think about swearing by high school staff.  I don't like it, but it would not overly upset me.

 

However, putting myself in the position of the kid(s) being sworn at or their parents, the posts sound unacceptable.  BUT my reaction would partly depend on the overall tone of the class, and whether my individual kid was OK with it.  There are people I can say "F You" to and they know I am just being silly.  Possibly this class has a climate that embraces that kind of talk and the kids like it.  I still don't think it's right, but is it abusive, I'm not sure.  A heads-up to the parents of the kids being sworn at could help resolve that.

 

 

Another issue is that this is too much familiarity, and I agree that this could be a red flag for grooming etc. - for both girls and boys.  I would continue to monitor even if you decide not to say anything at this time.  Also tell your son that you will respect his wishes for now (since that's what you decided to do), but your future action depends on the direction this goes in the future.

 

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Another issue is that this is too much familiarity, and I agree that this could be a red flag for grooming etc. - for both girls and boys.  I would continue to monitor even if you decide not to say anything at this time.  Also tell your son that you will respect his wishes for now (since that's what you decided to do), but your future action depends on the direction this goes in the future.

 

My son is a senior and will leave in June.   He has already said he doesn't think he will be in the Spring performance as he feels he needs to focus on getting As and graduating and getting ready for college.  So, I may not have as much access to this guy beyond this weekend.  My son still has two classes with him, but that isn't in any online format interaction.

 

I do have an 8th grader who will be at the high school next year, but acting/drama/theater isn't his thing so I doubt I will be this involved with this man again.

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And would it change if the staff in question is a coach?

 

My son isn't into sports, but he is in theater. His forte is really the Improv group. He loves it, but he does the plays as well. He never has a lead or anything, he just gets small parts and enjoys being a part of it all.

 

The last few days have gotten on my nerves. The Theater teacher, and director of the play, has a FB group for each performance. The performance is this weekend (3 times) and I get that he is under the wire, but he posts things like, "WTF Tommy! Get your sh*t together!" or, "Sarah, you look like you give 0 sh*ts! Bring it tomorrow!" And, "If you miss rehearsal, get the F out of my theater!~"

 

Does this seem appropriate? BTW: I WORK in this district.

 

My son doesn't want me to say anything. And I get it. He has this guy for two classes this semester and likes being a part of all of it. I just am irritated that this guy seems to have delusions of grandeur as if he is directing a Broadway performance. It is a HS play!!!!

 

Maybe this is just a vent! And maybe if he is in the college performances this is a good segway.

 

But I am irritated.

I think at this age you need to explain to your children how and why this is inappropriate and learn that this is not a behavior we want to imitate. The teachers behavior speaks volumes of hos insecurity and inability to articulate his expectations. As far as you saying something, it will only come back on your child. been there done that. AND hell hath no fury than a challenged teacher.

 

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And would it change if the staff in question is a coach?

 

My son isn't into sports, but he is in theater.  His forte is really the Improv group.  He loves it, but he does the plays as well.  He never has a lead or anything, he just gets small parts and enjoys being a part of it all.

 

The last few days have gotten on my nerves.  The Theater teacher, and director of the play, has a FB group for each performance.  The performance is this weekend (3 times) and I get that he is under the wire, but he posts things like, "WTF Tommy!  Get your sh*t together!" or, "Sarah, you look like you give 0 sh*ts!  Bring it tomorrow!"  And, "If you miss rehearsal, get the F out of my theater!~"

 

Does this seem appropriate?  BTW:  I WORK in this district.  

 

My son doesn't want me to say anything.  And I get it.  He has this guy for two classes this semester and likes being a part of all of it.  I just am irritated that this guy seems to have delusions of grandeur as if he is directing a Broadway performance.  It is a HS play!!!!

 

Maybe this is just a vent!  And maybe if he is in the college performances this is a good segway.  

 

But I am irritated.

 

I do not think it is appropriate to swear in a professional environment.*

 

It is ESPECIALLY inappropriate to swear in front of your clients or customers--which these kids are, in a way.

 

But I'd respect my child's wishes to have me stay out of it. I agree that this coach seems to have delusions of grandeur. And I'll bet he's one of those people who thinks he's preparing kids for the "real world" even though in the real world, very few people treat you that badly. Urgh.

 

I'm sorry. I wouldn't know what to do, either.

 

Edit: I just realized this is on Facebook. What the heck?!? Is this a public page? This adds a whole other layer of inappropriate into the mix.

 

 

* With the following exception: if you are also a friend with someone, and in your circles you use swearing in good humor, such as, "What are these clients f'ing thinking?!?" or "Sorry guys, I don't think we're taking this on, the project is a total cluster****" etc.

Edited by Tsuga
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The swearing bothers me less than the fact that he called out and publicly shamed individual students. 

 

"F -ing awesome practice today! Can't wait for the show!" would be inappropriate, but no teenager is going to be traumatized by reading an offensive word on Facebook. 

 

"Tommy, get your act together!" or "Sarah, you look like you're not even trying!" posted online for the whole group/school to see? I can see that causing a lot more damage. I'd feel the need to report this teacher's behaviour, whether or not my child was the one singled out. I'd also want to make sure that the parents of the students who were targeted are aware of what's happened. 

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Ummm. We just had this discussion at my house this week. My dh, working in a variety of professional environments say swearing is a no-no. It’s unprofessional and considered to contribute to a hostile work environment. However we’re learning that somehow college and high school teachers feel that they need to do so to be “relevant†to the young. Still unprofessional. Not the real world. Someone was suspended in a workplace in the last few months for swearing at someone. And we live in the south. So maybe that I influence the thinking here.

 

 

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I work in a UK university and I don't hear the staff swearing at all.  Well, I've heard one of the secretaries swear in a moment of high frustration when there were no students around.

 

Personally, I wouldn't be bothered if a teacher swore in the presence of students, but I think that swearing at students (or other members of staff) would not be acceptable.

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I might not mind a certain amount of swearing, but I don't like the way this is put even if you took the swearing out.

 

And it also makes this guy sound like a lame-o trying way too hard to impress a bunch of teens.

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I think at this age you need to explain to your children how and why this is inappropriate and learn that this is not a behavior we want to imitate. The teachers behavior speaks volumes of hos insecurity and inability to articulate his expectations. As far as you saying something, it will only come back on your child. been there done that. AND hell hath no fury than a challenged teacher.

 

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We got the parenting part covered......I was simply asking about the actual act.  I have already said I am not saying anything right now.

Edited by DawnM

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I guess I'll be in the extreme minority here....

 

In general swearing around teenagers doesn't both me unless it is really vulgar or excessive.

 

I'm more concerned with tone and general attitude then cursing. You can be a total jerk w/out every cursing. The girls had a couple of EC teachers that were really unpleasant and never said a foul word. 

 

Reading the posts I didn't get the same feeling as a lot of the other posters. I imagined an old coach I had saying them, he would say such things with a smile and was never really angry. Now, other teachers, I can see saying such things and feeling a lot different.

 

I've never had a high profile job, I worked for the government and some small businesses. While cursing wasn't done around customers and in meetings and such I can't think of a single place I worked for where there wasn't at least some cussing behind the scenes.

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Not ok (it'd be different if someone stubbed their toe and swore without thinking).

 

Just anonymously direct someone to the facebook page. Is it a school FB page? I'm sure the principal would be very interested so they could address it. Don't comment on the FB posts. Just report it quietly to the right staff.

 

For what it's worth, you aren't supposed to swear on our college campus. Students can get fined. I had a student reading aloud in tutoring and he said, "I can't say that" which I thought was so cute. I looked at the book to see what he meant.

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