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DawnM

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

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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.

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Swearing around high school kids: no big deal.

 

Swearing AT them in this manner and the publicly: not cool. I understand that getting some kids to take responsibility and commitments seriously is often as futile as herding cats, but the teacher/coach could use some training in communication skills and learning how to motivate them effectively.

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I think swearing in the presence of high school kids is OK. 

 

if what you described were a community theater thing where the participants were usually adults and was really an adult thing, I'd be OK with it. I would avoid that director in the future maybe by looking at a different local program. 

 

school program, NO

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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 can't think of a single situation where this would be acceptable to me.

Employer to employee? No.

Colleague to colleague? No.

Customer to store clerk? No.

Neighbor to neighbor? No.

Parent to child? No.

 

Does he talk like this to the kids in person or is it just online?

 

To be fair, I have a lower threshold for crudeness in general, so maybe it's just my inner curmudgeon talking here. 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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unprofessional and ironic...drama places a high importance on communicating, and this is the example???

I do realize though that many of the students cannot take anything seriously unless the F word or feigned anger is involved. 

 

my dc have done both community and school theatre...all involve high school staff but the F word and that poor motivation technique isnt being used in community theatre, even when cast members are high school age.   

Edited by Heigh Ho
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No. Swearing in the presence of or at a high school student isn’t professional behavior.

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My daughter attends public high school & is almost 17. I would not want her teachers cursing at her or around her. I think both are inappropriate. In your specific examples I think the teacher is out of line and it would definitely bother me too. Would I say something? No, probably not. I would honor my teen’s wish to stay quiet & stand behind their decision. But we would definitely be having conversations on the sidelines & learning from it all.

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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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It wouldn't bother me as dh and I have a bit of a potty mouth and my small kids hear curse words. No big deal words are words. Cursing at the kids would be a different thing though, but cursing in general, I wouldn't think anything of it.

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It wouldn't bother me as dh and I have a bit of a potty mouth and my small kids hear curse words. No big deal words are words. Cursing at the kids would be a different thing though, but cursing in general, I wouldn't think anything of it.

 

I'm ok with cursing in general. However, I'm NOT OK with school professional cursing in the school environment. There should be no question that cursing at students is wrong. 

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Swearing around kids? I wouldn't worry too much about it. Swearing AT them, as described? I would take screen shots of the FB posts and go to the school administrator. That is abusive BS, unprofessional, and totally unnecessary.

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That is extremely unprofessional and would make me wonder what other inappropriate behaviors this teacher is engaging in.

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I have two different answers.

 

For the question you asked in the title, I think cursing in small amounts may be appropriate so long as it isn't terribly out of line with community norms. I was just talking about this with my kids, in fact! My first week of middle school a teacher dropped the f-bomb in the sense of "I don't want any f***ing nonsense about why you didn't do your homework" or something. I suspected at the time - and still do! - that he did this on purpose to convey "You're not little kids and I won't treat you like it", and it was extremely effective. And there are other contexts where it may be okay. I'd want to look at this on a case-by-case basis.

 

However, publicly berating individual students, whether or not you use profanity, is not okay. And that's what he's doing. The fact that he's saying s*** and f*** is less of a problem than the fact that he's calling out individual students like this. "If you miss the rehearsal, don't even bother to come back" or "Sarah, you looked like you didn't even care. Bring it tomorrow" or "Tommy! Grow up and get your act together!" on a public forum like Facebook would be just as inappropriate.

 

But if your son doesn't want you to say anything and you don't think the teacher is being generally abusive (and that's a fine line) then I would respect your son's wishes.

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The occasional mild swear word in a conversation, even maybe the very occasional one if the coach was annoyed — eh, I’d probably let that go if overall the coach was nice, caring, etc. Even the occasional “WTF kid, get your sh*t together†in a high pressure time — it’s not great, and it’s not professional at all, but it would probably depend on the overall demeanor. If coach is harsh and demanding overall, it would be a bigger deal to me than if coach just lost it occasionally after fifty things had gone wrong at once. Like, I feel like high school kids can handle the occasional blow up more than a constant barrage of swearing and negativity.

 

But posting on social media? And even having that repeated train of thought? Not cool. In the time it takes for coach to post on FB, he should calm down a little. To put it in writing like that, publicly, is totally inappropriate, even if, as Tanaqui said, it was without the swear words.

Edited by happypamama
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I am not generally offended by swearing and generally have no issue with cursing around high school kids. However, I also find it to be completely unprofessional when someone is at work. And a teacher swearing AT the students like that,

 

As to what to do about it....I dunno. The fact that you work there kind of complicates things.

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An occasional mild swear, not directed at a person or really with anger, would bother me less than some of the general harshness I've heard from teachers and coaches with no swear words used. What you've described would bother me.  And some people, especially sports coaches, are just loud. It's the emotion behind the words that bothers me more.

 

 

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Dh and I, as well as every adult we are around, have serious potty mouths so dd and the other children in our lives have heard it all.  I still think it is very inappropriate and would likely complain.  In the OP's case, I may wait to complain until after the semester ends or do so anonymously in the effort to respect her ds's wishes.  With our without swearing, the call-outs on FB are not OK.  It would not be about the words used but how they are used.

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IMO, a good coach would address issues in different, more general wording.

“It really hurts the whole group when people miss rehearsal. If you miss without a valid reason, I will have to recast your role.â€

“I need everyone to bring it this week so we get the most out of our time.â€

 

If a coach really needs to address an issue with one student, it should be done quietly and semi-privately, like pulling the kid to the side of the auditorium. “Hey, Kevin, you’ve been late and unprepared several days this week. What’s going on? Is there some way I can help?†Even, “We can’t have this going on. You need to give your best.†Surely the coach can address issues without publicly demeaning a teenager.

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What you describe is unprofessional and inappropriate.

 

Swearing in general doesn't bother me (around high school students or otherwise).

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Another vote for the guy being entirely unprofessional and inappropriate. I’m surprised other parents haven’t complained.

 

I know you’re in an awkward position because your son doesn’t want you to say anything, but I have to admit that I might be tempted to create a new email address for myself and anonymously send some screenshots of those Facebook comments to a few school administrators.

 

Someone needs to let this guy know he can’t treat his students so disrespectfully.

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I would prefer that they did not do it, but I would not get the vapors if they did.

 

What I might do is ask for clarification - is this appropriate speech for school, and if so, does that mean my kids can cuss without consequences?

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My kid would find himself removed from that environment.

 

I am not so shocked by swearing in general, but I agree with those who are saying that this guy has a problem. To be a little too expressive in the moment is one thing. To take the time to commit the abusive remarks to social media is another. He's choosing to dwell on his frustrations with minor schoolchildren, he's justifying his behavior to the point that he's amplifying it - as unsinkable said, maybe he wants to be seen as edgy. Or maybe he's got very little self control.

 

Whatever his issues, he's not a good role model for the kids.

 

Do I think they will be harmed by being told personally to try to appear for once like they give two sh!ts? Honestly, no.

 

Do I think this director is teaching them how to talk to the younger, more vulnerable people over which they will have some leadership, someday? Yes. And that's what I wouldn't tolerate.

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Totally unacceptable. It blows my mind that it is even a debatable topic.

Agree. Social norms have certainly changed.

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If I swore at or in front of my clients at work I would be in big trouble, possibly fired. These high school kids are the teacher's clients and he should not do that. I would find it completely unprofessional and would not respect the teacher at all.

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I consider an adult swearing at a kid to be abusive.

 

Swearing around kids I consider inappropriate but it sort of depends on the context and the micro culture.

 

Definitely unprofessional.

Edited by maize
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Since you work in the district: is swearing allowed for teachers or students at school functions etc? It’s been awhile since I have taught at the high school level but it was not allowed for us. Kids got around it by saying stuff like effing but teachers had a higher standard. (This might have changed but I don’t think so. ).

 

 

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It would be unacceptable to me. I understand your quandary, since your son doesn't want you to say anything. DD16 just had something happen recently with a ballet teacher, and she did not want me to step in to address it. It's always difficult to know what to do as the parent when that happens.

 

But it seems to me that you can address it without your son or the teacher knowing that you said anything. Could you talk to the principal or vice principal and say you have some concerns about what parents will think of things the theater director is posting on FB and ask them to take a look? It seems to me that you could broach it as a concerned member of the guidance counselor staff, instead of as a parent. Because you cannot be the only parent that is bothered by this, so you can choose to be their voice within the system.

 

I don't see any reason that the administration would have to reveal that it was a parent (you) who spoke up. They should have access to the FB page for a school activity, after all. And really, they should be monitoring it. This kind of thing reflects on the school.

 

Edited by Storygirl
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What you've described is not OK with me and I would have a hard time balancing saying something and respecting my child's wishes. I understand that could make things awkward/difficult having 2 classes with this yahoo. Someone who would speak to kids under his care in this way is not someone I would be able to trust to react professionally to a parent complaint.

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Swearing around high school kids wouldn't offend me exactly, but I would think less of the teacher or coach.

 

Swearing AT kids publicly, in the condescending way you describe is abusive behavior, and I would talk to the principal about it.  If it didn't get corrected I would have a kid take a video on the phone and take that video to the school board. And if that wasn't effective, I'd post the video on facebook publicly with every single school board's profile tagged and publicly questioned as to whether anyone who condones behavior like this should keep their job.

 

NOTE: the goal would be stopping the abuse, not getting the teacher/coach fired.

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Swearing around kids, not an issue for me. Swearing at them in person or even just berating them in an online post for everyone to see is unacceptable. I'd anonymously write an email or letter, maybe call the principal or who ever is in charge and complain.

 

If that didn't work then I'd do what Katy says and go nuclear on their a$$. ;)

Edited by foxbridgeacademy
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swearing around? depends upon the words, and the situation.

swearing at?  no.  just, no.

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Cursing in the right context is fine like if something upsetting, stressful or painful happens and it is not directed at someone. Cursing directed at someone is different and not ok. Teachers are human so if it was an isolated incident during an emotional situation that would be one thing.

 

A teacher or coach cursing on social media and directing at specific students is very unacceptable. It shows no restraint as the adult leader especially since he is doing it after the fact when he has time to think through his actions and it is very hurtful to the kids he is calling out in a very public manner. That behavior is completely unacceptable.

Edited by MistyMountain
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Thanks guys.  I honestly am not going to address it right now because my son is in two production groups at the moment AND has two theater classes right now (Tech Theater and Honors Theater 4 for Seniors) and this is his passion.

 

I may address it at the end of the year and state that I have an incoming 9th grader next year and hope this changes for him (even though he has no interest in theater!)

 

I am not crazy to think this is out of line.

 

And no, we aren't allowed to swear at kids in this district.  I would get in HUGE trouble!

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I really hope cussing around teens is ok because... :leaving: Dh says I can’t help it because I have Viking blood in me. :lol: I am trying to refrain and retrain my tongue, btw, but it’s hard.

 

Saying “get your sh*t togetherâ€, meh. I don’t love it, but maybe at this point, the director knows that’s how to get that kid’s attention. “Wtf!â€, no big deal. It’s probably an attention-getter that he’s found works.

 

But threatening a kid with being kicked out in such a public way, while cussing at them, is not decent behavior at all. Talk to him privately. And, good grief, maybe try not to humiliate him. I’m *really* not ok with public humiliation.

 

However, if your ds doesn’t want you to say anything, I wouldn’t. He obviously likes it there, feels comfortable there, and likes the teacher, so I’d let it go.

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I find it very unprofessional. I am a nurse and wouldn’t ever swear around my patients, who are all adults. I don’t think a teacher gets some kind of magical pass because they are dealing with teens. I’m not a prude, I just recognize that what is acceptable in my home and social life isn’t always acceptable at work.

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Totally unacceptable. It blows my mind that it is even a debatable topic.

 

swearing around? depends upon the words, and the situation.

swearing at? no. just, no.

No no no. Why do people think that teens are all rebels that glory in cussing? I would have been beyond intimidated by a teacher like that when I was a teen. I never thought it was cool. As a teen, I would have been so disappointed and scared that an adult who was supposed to be a role model in my life talked to me and other students like that.

 

Using social media to name names and use cuss words is a hostile work environment.

 

I would 100% send an annonymous letter to the appropriate leaders at the school saying that I am the parent of a student in the theater class and that my child is afraid of retribution so I’m staying annonymous, yet the language is not acceptable. I’d ask the leaders to check out the FB page for themselves.

 

 

ETA:. The man might not know how bad he’s coming across. I had a coworker that I just adored, but he cussed like a sailor. No, strike that. I worked with sailors on a military base for 3 years and they didn’t cuss as much as this coworker. When the boss called him on it and said to tone it down, he came to me angry and asked what was the boss’ problem. I told him that he cussed more than the sailors I knew and he grew thoughtful. He just didn’t know that everyone else didn’t cuss as much as he did. It was such a part of himself, he didn’t think about it.

 

Someone needs to give this guy a heads up that you don’t cuss at kids. You don’t cuss at coworkers either. He needs a wake up call so he can tone it down.

Edited by Garga
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Swearing around high school kids is okay with me if it is occasional and not directed at anyone ("what the f*** was that? or "S***, that hurt! for example).  

 

I am not okay with swearing at other people in general, and especially not at people you are in charge of in a professional environment.  It isn't a matter of them being high school students but of setting the right tone for the environment and exhibiting appropriate, mature behavior.

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Is he from out of town?  I've had coworkers from a certain big city who could hardly form a sentence without the F word.  Maybe this kind of talk is normal where he comes from?

 

I agree with the anonymous tip for the administration to check the fb page, if that is a realistic possibility.

 

(As an aside, my kids once reported to me that their 1st grade teacher (who was the pastor's wife) had said "shit!" in the classroom one day.  It made me feel better about my potty-mouth-under-stress problem.  I do try to avoid cussing around people outside my family / house.  But I do understand that this happens.  That said, the OP is way beyond that.)

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Very unprofessional. For me, it has nothing to do with delusions of grandeur - I 100% agree with him that the actors need to routinely be at rehearsal, working hard. I just think that teachers should not be swearing in front of students, in much the same way that my kids do not swear in front of grandma, lol. 

 

Youngest and I both swear like sailors when we are at home or in the car, etc, but we also both know how to turn it off. I've taught many teens, and I would never in a million years intentionally cuss around them. It doesn't matter that they know the words and use them; I don't go around cussing in class and neither do they. 

 

I wouldn't be bothered by the occasional slip at rehearsal, but routine swearing and cussing would definitely bother me. 

 

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. 

 

Like fairfarmhand, I live in the south, and I do think that might influence it. 

 

Edited by katilac
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Garga, I agree with you. I would have completely wilted under that kind of treatment as a teen. And I wouldn't have been able to do anything to change it myself, so I would have appreciated an adult stepping in.

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