Teaching?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 16, 2009 12:41 AM GMT
    Hey All,

    I teach high school. I'm still in the early stage of my teaching years, so I've been hopping around a bit (Philadelphia, Canada, Europe, Middle East). I just had one of my (really gay) now-19-year-old former students find my profile on another (relatively clean) site, and get in touch. He attended a school where I helped start a gay-straight alliance.

    Basically, I have two questions:

    * How do you react to former students, in general, who get in touch with you? Do you react differently to gay and straight students?

    * This kid was already a little creepy-strange. He was from a rural fundamentalist family, and his mother taught in my school district. With him, I'm trying to decide if I ignore his message, or tell him that I'm not comfortable staying in contact with former students. He has a tendency to overdramatize, and I get the feeling that any contact we have would be passed around town. Any thoughts?

    Thanks,
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jul 16, 2009 12:46 AM GMT
    While I'm not a teacher, I did teach horsemanship from 9th grade until after law school. Not the same sort of thing, but there are a number of my former students that I still see (some were older than me in the beginning so its kind of irrelevant).

    In this case, you have indicated that you aren't entirely comfortable with this kid... so I'd bypass him. No need to explain anything, just move on.
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    Jul 16, 2009 12:55 AM GMT
    You've already answered any ambiguity on this ethical question: "creepy-strange" and "overdramatize." You describe a potentially unstable personality, and for what reason would you agree to this? Because he approached you?

    I see no motivation for you to agree, and every reason to avoid this contact. The overall topic of post-school teacher-student contacts isn't really relevant in this case, if the guy's behavior may be unpredictable and possibly harmful to you, simply based on his history.
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    Jul 16, 2009 1:07 AM GMT
    One of my favorite students from a few years ago still texts me periodically. I am like a mentor/Dad to him since he is biracial and lives with his Mom and stepdad. He texted me a few weeks ago to tell me he made honor roll and to tell me that he is driving.

    Another student is preparing to graduate. He texts me to come to his football games, etc.

    I like keeping in contact with them, but I still keep that distance. I am not trying to be their best friend or anything like that. And if this kid is like you said, I would keep it strictly business. If he needs information on grad school, jobs, etc. I would give it, and keep it moving. Don't get caught up in his drama.
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    Jul 16, 2009 4:52 AM GMT
    He seems strange. I would say that I were not comfortable dealing sociall ywith a former student.
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    Jul 16, 2009 9:42 AM GMT
    It's only a message. Why so scared? I teach at university so my students are all adults, they often ask me out. In fact I went to the pub with some of them last Wednesday.

    Being gay doesn't need to be a problem if you don't make it one.