Cyberbaiting and taking down the teacher

What’s a teacher supposed to do?

cyberbaitingThe pendulum has swung this far. Bored students used to shoot spit wads. Today’s class has gone much further. They provoke a teacher (baiting) until she reaches her breaking point (who doesn’t have a breaking point) and then secretly film the subsequent yelling or crying to post it online and further humiliate her.

A recent survey of 24 nations found that 21% of teachers had suffered some such shaming. One teacher cited experienced a nervous breakdown and was placed on indefinite administrative leave. This is the new fun, a way to while away the school year, to put a flavor into the dry algebra class. Has the “Question Authority” mantra gone too far? If they take out a teacher, a lot of kids congratulate themselves: “Well, she wasn’t apt for teaching anyway.”

imagesNever mind that most of us enter the profession with illusions of serving humanity, changing lives, rescuing souls. We are purveyors of light and understanding. But we are shouted down by the promoters of Middle Ages.

Granted, teachers have long humiliated students. But cyberbaiting turns the tables, it would seem, in a much nastier tenor. (It is supposed that teachers strive for classroom management with an illegitimate technique, but students have no worthy end to justify their actions.)

This article has useful tips to avoid such provocations. What do you think about such student goading?

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15 thoughts on “Cyberbaiting and taking down the teacher

  1. Students are fighting back against the top-down control, incessant testing, and lack of creativity that is pervasive in schools today. While it is frustrating for teachers as they struggle to keep their jobs (and attempt to educate through the bureaucratic muck), students have no choice and little freedom to think anymore. It’s time for more educators to shrug and set off in search of genuine learning opportunities. The more alternatives we develop for kids, the better off everyone will be. http://www.anastasisacademy.com/
    http://sunsetsudbury.org/why-self-directed-learning-schools-are-better-for-k-12-students/

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  2. I’m sure that some students are rebelling, but I don’t think those individuals form the core of this group. These are bullies, plain and simple. I believe it starts with parenting or the lack thereof.

    Too many parents want to be “friends” with their kids. While it’s good to have a friendly relationship, parents are not their kids’ friends. They are their parents, but if they do their job well, kids and parents will be friends as adults.

    Too many parents want to give their kids everything, so they do. Unfortunately, this leads to a feeling of entitlement which can lead to this behavior. Am I saying all kids who have generous parents end up bullying teachers? No, but it is part of the overall problem.

    Parents need to work with teachers and administrators rather than arguing with them when their child gets in trouble. They need to model appropriate respect for teachers and their children will follow suit. Will there be times when mom and dad need to deal with an unreasonable teacher or administrator? Definitely. But mom and dad can be adults and behave in a rational, intelligent, adult manner and deal with the problem appropriately.

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    • We can’t generalize, but there are a lot of students who are not taught respect. It only takes a couple in a classroom to cause a great deal of disruption and angst for the teacher and the other students. Being able to step back, take a breath and deal with situations as calmly as possible is important. Having a plan for handling disruptions prior to an outbreak is also helpful. Trying to build positive relationships with all parents from the start of the school year can be helpful (parents who have mis-behaved children have generally been hearing about it for years, so sometimes you can find strategies to work on problems in a positive way). Then again, some parents are as crazy as their kids. Finally, having administrators who back up their teachers and demand discipline in the school can make a lot of problems go away. Good Luck, There are no perfect answers, only strategies that may or may not work. My advice is to do your best to maintain control of your emotions in the classroom, set the right tone in the beginning of the year, always enforce rules in a consistent manner, and try, try, try not to take the problems home with you.

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