Teacher Question/Parent Opinions Wanted — The Bump
February 2013 Moms

Teacher Question/Parent Opinions Wanted

I teach 6th graders (which isn't as obnoxious as it sounds). They are actually quite sweet and sensitive at this age. This week alone I have had 2 criers - one boy and one girl. So that leads me to my question....

When I have a student who is upset and crying, my instinct as a teacher, human being and mother now is to comfort them. I put my hand on their shoulder and/or give them a hug. "Technically", I'm not supposed to be doing this since, who knows, I could be some sort of deviant. As a parent, would my actions upset you or would you feel glad that your son or daughter was being consoled? Personally, I would want DS's teachers to react as I do, but it got me interested in other people's thoughts.

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Re: Teacher Question/Parent Opinions Wanted

  • As a parent, your actions are what I expect and would want. The fact this isnt "allowed" is one of the reasons I hope to homeschool. The world today is getting ridiculous.

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    Drea926wifeofadam[Deleted User]
  • Even before I was a mother, when one of my kiddos was crying I would give them a big hug. But mine are only 7, so they responded to that differently probably then a 12 year old might. I bet like most teachers, you have a good sense of who your kiddos are and what they need. So if you feel like a kid needs a hug, he probably does and welcomes the comfort.  So he probably would not go home and tell his parents that his teacher was pawing all over him.

     And I guess that would be what I would want for Jackson. If he grows to be a super sensitive boy who needs that kind of reassurance, I hope he gets it at school. If he turns out to be someone who wants his space when he's upset, I hope he gets that. I don't think you're doing anything deviant by any means! I think that's why so many kiddos slip up and call us 'Mom' half the time!!
    ;))
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    Drea926kelly321
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  • Even before I was a mother, when one of my kiddos was crying I would give them a big hug. But mine are only 7, so they responded to that differently probably then a 12 year old might. I bet like most teachers, you have a good sense of who your kiddos are and what they need. So if you feel like a kid needs a hug, he probably does and welcomes the comfort.  So he probably would not go home and tell his parents that his teacher was pawing all over him.

     And I guess that would be what I would want for Jackson. If he grows to be a super sensitive boy who needs that kind of reassurance, I hope he gets it at school. If he turns out to be someone who wants his space when he's upset, I hope he gets that. I don't think you're doing anything deviant by any means! I think that's why so many kiddos slip up and call us 'Mom' half the time!!
    ;))
    Yes! And it's always the boys!

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    DublinMama
  • I agree - I'm sure you have a good feeling for which kids need a hug and which don't want to be touched. If I were a parent I would have no problem with it and would be thrilled that my kids had a teacher who cared enough about them to "break the rules" in a situation like that. I don't know if all parents feel like that, but that's my opinion, anyway.

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    Drea926
  • It's scary, isn't it?  I had a rule for a long time that my cheerleaders were not allowed to hug me (they are big huggers) because the professors in my credential program made me so scared of litigation and firings based on perceived inappropriate contact.  But they always come and hug me out of nowhere so I got over it (sort of....).

    I think a hand on the shoulder is harmless (even though I know it is against the "rules").  I agree that you can suss out which kids need a hug more and which kids are likely to turn it to their advantage.  At 11 they aren't nearly as crafty as they think they are.  :-)  I'd like to think my kids' teacher cared about them and that they knew it.

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  • I think it sounds like your a wonderful teacher! I hope my daughters teacher does this if she is upset.
    Jenny DiLo
  • That sounds like a wonderful, caring response to me. Sometimes there is nothing as comforting as physical touch when a child (or adult, for that matter) is upset.
    However, my answer would be different for a male teacher. That's probably not politically correct, but that's just how I feel. A hand on the shoulder or holding the child's hand would be fine, but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with a male teacher initiating a hug. Just too many stories out there....
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    [Deleted User]
  • Thanks so much for all the responses ladies. I was genuinely curious if a parent would actually think I was being inappropriate. I definitely would not touch a student if I knew they would not want it and it is also hard when they initiate a hug. Am I supposed to stand there like a tree trunk? :P 

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  • I don't know from a parent perspective of older kids, but I wouldn't care with my littles.  As a teacher, I said "screw this" to that "rule" long ago.  I hug all over my students.  I've taught 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade.  Before they leave every single day I offer a hug or high five.  I had very few that chose high five.  Yours might be the only hug they get that day.  Some have even gotten forehead kisses on a really rough day.  Our society's litigation issues are so stupid.  Just like I want that teacher to take a bullet for my kid if they need to, I also want them to love on my kid and to discipline my kid.  They are in your care for 8 hours a day! 

     

     

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    kleigh926
  • At that age, with a female teacher I wouldn't mind. I teach high school and have heard kids complain about teachers touching them and it creeping them out. Teenagers can blow things out of proportion and can be vindictive. Don't get me wrong, my students are awesome, but raging hormones and an over active sense of power at that age can make for a bad combo. I err on the side of caution and usually save huge for a favorite student coming back to visit.
    If I taught high school, or even 8th grade I wouldn't probably be as liberal because teens can absolutely misconstrue things! I wouldn't want a Lifetime movie on my hands!

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    [Deleted User][Deleted User]pitterpatter129
  • I don't recall ever getting a hug from a teacher past elementary school, but it's possible. In middle school, we had one teacher who tended to pat shoulders, and even in 6th or 7th grade, the consensus was that it was creepy. I'm pretty sure he was also let go not long after.

    I may be the odd one out, but I do think that around the 6th grade mark, it's important for kids to start developing stronger social ties with their friends and peers, and getting comfort from one of them vs. a teacher is probably a better course overall. 
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  • I hear you @Karla CS.

    6th grade is a different breed of cat in our district. They are coming from several elementary schools to a new, big school. They are switching classes for the first time, have lockers for the first time, and it's quite a big change for an 11 year old.

    Part of the emphasis of our teaching team is to get them to be more independent by the end of the year, but in the fall, they still need a lot of hand-holding.

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