Thursday, August 13, 2009

We're Famous... Not in a Good Way.

I can't give the details of the situation that has pushed my school district into the spotlight in this city because it would break my anonymity. That is too bad too because it is a hell of a story. I'll just say that the news is having a field day with the actions of some former administrators that have recentely come to light. They should be too because I can't believe the district hired two separate people doing these things. (Don't worry the superintendent has already provided me and all other employees with talking points to defend and protect the district.)

It brings up some interesting questions, though, about the line between an educator's personal life and an educator's professional image. Traditionally, I think people want teachers to be the sort of people we hope children will grow to be, but is that expectation an unfair burden? Who of us is exactly who we should be or who we hope a child would turn out to be? Yet, there are clearly things that could be so unbecoming in a teacher's personal life as to render them inadequate as a professional.

I think deciding what is appropriate for a teacher outside their job is about common sense, but sometimes the line is blurred. Consider the following possible scenarios:

  • An unmarried teacher becomes pregnant. She will have to explain the situation, and is there a risk that this will teach her students something that we as a community don't want for them?
  • A young teacher bar hops and drinks excessively on the weekends. Will he run into parents? Will it become known in the community?
  • A teacher uses a social networking site to post inappropriate material. Will students find it? Parents?
  • A married teacher has an affair with another staff member. If it became known, what would this teach the kids?

Food for thought... I don't even know what my opinion is on all of this.

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