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Another Day, Another Teacher Recorded

Discussion in 'Public Schools' started by LPH, May 22, 2012.

  1. LPH

    LPH Flight Director Flight Instructor

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    How would you feel if you were speaking freely and someone recorded your words, uploaded them to YouTube, and the video went viral?

    Welcome to the world of the teacher - except most teachers are unaware that their words are public.

    Hunter Rogers was the latest student to record a teacher.



    The recording was made a week ago and is being used by the conservative bloggers to show how bad teachers are in the classroom.

    The whole recording is difficult to listen to because there is too much laughing. The teacher repeats not to disrespect the President and should have stopped at that point. The teacher did a poor job and is clearly disrespected by the students. The language is also very difficult to hear.

    I tried to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt. She clearly stated that it was inappropriate for people to give Mr. Bush a bad time while he was President.

    Now the teacher is suspended. The student is on Fox News as a hero. He has his 15 minutes of fame.

    I'm asked daily about my opinion regarding different topics. If the time is appropriate, homeroom, then I might ask for the student's opinion. If the time is inappropriate, core classroom, I usually preface everything with - this is my opinion - or when I am really thinking clear I state "there are many opinions..."I then try to pivot to the topic of the day. It isn't always perfect because some kids want to create a scene.

    This video shows the best approach is to not enter into a discussion.

    Maybe the best part of the video shows parents that kids use foul language, can be disrespectful, and love to create havoc in the classroom.
     
  2. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    I'm going to use old school reasoning on this one.

    There is no reason for a teacher to enter into a conversation or share opinions about anything with anyone while at work on the public payroll. That used be an accepted baseline for public employment.

    The clips I saw and heard on TV of the teacher and student you mention seemed sufficient to suspend the teacher from the classroom until administrators can review the whole situation and come to a conclusion about the appropriateness of yelling, using less than standard English, etc. She lost control, if she ever had control, of the class.

    I feel sorry for her. But, why should students or parents respect her as a teacher? Is this an accepted standard of academic performance for teachers today?
     
  3. LPH

    LPH Flight Director Flight Instructor

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    I disagree with the premise to suspend simply because the teacher mishandled shutting down the inappropriate remarks. Her attempts to sway discussions failed [badly] but she made the attempts.

    The Supreme Court ruled in the Tinker case - if we want to use old school - that school officials [teachers] can limit student expression that “materially disrupts class work or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others” (p. 509).

    One issue is that the teacher is a social studies teacher. Was there a lesson? Was this a prepared lesson? Were there objectives? Was a discussion to occur and the boys disrupted this class discussion?

    Without knowing the answers to these questions then we are simply swayed by the poor language being used by the boys and others in the classroom.We are swayed with taking a 9 minute segment out of approximately 170 days of lessons. After all, the teacher refers to prior dissenting opinions provided by the student.

    In terms of dismissal, if a teacher expresses their opinion without prompting or a written lesson and objectives then the action may lead to dismissal. However, if a student interjects an opinion and the teacher is trying to guide discussions then academia portends to be about "openness to ideas."

    Regardless, it is a catch-22. In most instances, the teacher should just be quiet and stick to the lesson.
     
  4. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    A teacher or other school personnel never speaks freely while on a government payroll. That employee has a contract to honor. Doing so requires disciplined behavior patterns regardless of personal opinions. To violate this principle leaves the teacher at an unnecessary greater risk of personal challenge for unprofessional conduct. To leave such a teacher in a classroom who has committed unprofessional conduct even once consists of administrative abuse.
     
  5. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    No one has the right to abuse any student regardless of student conduct. The student did a good thing by recording the teacher's conduct. The teacher who was recorded has no right to express her point as she did. She made a series of decisions that trapped her in the situation. Yes?
     
  6. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    No standard of schooling requires a teacher to express or request personal opinions, because that places both teacher and student to argue ...
     
  7. LPH

    LPH Flight Director Flight Instructor

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    No. In the Pickering case, the court opined teachers acting on matters of public concern must be accorded First Amendment protection despite the fact that the statements are directed at their nominal superiors. They are unclear regarding teacher-student interactions at the secondary level.

    There was no abuse because there was nothing unfair or unjust. Students who act inappropriately should be removed from the classroom. Period. The teacher made the mistake of engaging (arguing) rather than asking the student to hold comments until the proper time, providing a warning to watch their language, and ultimately removed from the room.

    No, the student who recorded the teacher did so without the teacher's consent and with the purpose of causing damage. The recording was done for the purpose of embarrassing the teacher and attempting to sidestep his own poor behavior. The student was provoking the teacher. It was a "political" maneuver and not one of right versus wrong.

    The Supreme Court has been clear on higher education standards but not the secondary classroom. Accordingly, the core value of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment suggests that the public's interest is best served by having free and unhindered debates on matters of public importance. Learning to be a good citizen would suggest a teacher may develop lesson plans to help students, lesson plans which include debating techniques.
     
  8. LPH

    LPH Flight Director Flight Instructor

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    Sorry for being slow on this - I was distracted. But it is important to note that despite the attempts by conservatives to paint the teacher as "wrong" and "ignorant" and doesn't know we don't arrest dissenting opinions ... it's important to recall the Bush era.

    Bill Neel in 2003 attempted to protest Bush's economic policies. He was arrested for blocking an area with a 2-foot sign. His sister was also arrested after she argued in favor of her brother.

    "Sept. 23 [2003], the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Philadelphia against the Secret Service, alleging that the agency, a unit of the new Homeland Security Department charged with protecting the president, vice president and other key government officials, instituted a policy in the months even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of instructing local police to cordon off protesters from the president and Vice President Dick Cheney."

    Source: Salon
     
  9. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    And the debate continues. :) You offer interesting points worthy of discussion, but at odds with traditional values held and practiced by public school employees as functionaries of their employers, the state. I look forward to reading of challenges in court of the rights of public employees over rights to learn by those attending public schools. Yes?
     
  10. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    Back to the original question, "How would you feel, if ... ?"

    i've always tried to behave in ways that it doesn't make any difference who sees me do whatever in and out of work, schools, etc. I don't do anything to be ashamed of in public or private on or off camera. Life's that simple.

    I do object to someone making money from my actions without my permission, but the rest is fluff, distractions.

    Yes, people connive, etc. That doesn't change what I do.
     
  11. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    As to cameras in schools, I've suggested that they should be in every classroom, office, etc. Of course. These are public spaces funded by public funds for public activity for a public purpose authorized by public legislation and administered by public employees that require private citizens to attend. Someone better monitor these situations closely in order to make sure no one abuses students any further than requiring their attendance and offering to show them how to do what the most informed people do. Yes? :).
     
  12. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    From this view, public schools, at their core, are a public utility, nothing more, nothing less. And should be treated as such. I wonder why current public school educators say differently except out of self interest?
     
  13. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    As to the best part of the video, it illustrates by default the high level of people skills required by teachers to work successfully in some settings. With the teacher's and student's permissions, someone should capture and analyze this episode so others might avoid similar situations.
     
  14. Robert Heiny

    Robert Heiny Research Scientist of Learning and Education Flight Instructor

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    As to abuse, educators perpetrate abuse whenever a student does not meet one or more state minimum academic performance standard(s). That goes for the teacher who performed inadequately for the student to meet any standard, the admins who allowed that performance to occur, and the board that did not state clearly that all eds on their payroll must demonstrate with student performance scores that they have discharged their minimum contracted performance obligations. It's that simple. Union arguments to the contrary are self interest distractions and should be rejected. To compromise on such performance standards is to cause abuse of students.
     

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