I got this from a group member. We need a group discussion on this one. It’s serious.
I have a question that I have faced this year more than any other that I can remember. Usually I encourage students to make connections to French with English to help with meaning and pronunciation. For example, to help students remember that ‘piscine’ means pool I say “don’t ‘piscine’ the pool which you know sounds like in saying “don’t piss in the pool”. Recently I have heard the following “connections”:
dix-neuf = these nuts
touche le bonheur = touch the boner
and the one that recently earned two students suspensions; a note that said,
“j’ai un ____ saussicon” that the boy put the word “grand” in the blank and went around saying aloud during class. We all know what THAT meant.
In the same class another student reacted to the word “kiss” with suggesting the character give a French kiss, then a kid in the back of the room provided a visual and “kissed” the air with his tongue wagging around in the air.
In all incidences, the offending students were asked not to repeat their actions or words, but often (as is typical of high school students) they latch on to such things and repeat them, even when I ask them to stop. I am easily offended at such things for reasons not explainable here, but I am feeling sexually harassed, maybe unjustifiably so… This feeling is what lead in part to the recent suspensions. I’m dreading the meeting with the parents this week because my reaction to the situation is quite subjective, but I plan to focus on the students’ “failure to comply” when asked to stop.
Anyway, the question is how to continue. The atmosphere in the room is changed and is very tense. It’s hard for me to be “a storyteller” when I’m in a bad mood. This mood often carries into other classes and can make me upset enough that I can end up with tears in front of them.
My question is how to handle this. This goes beyond classroom management. Is this something that happens to you? Does a male teacher have this going on with the TPRS method? Have you heard of this before? How do other men/women handle it?
My response: Of course that he was allowed to walk around in class and say that without a swift and hammer like response from you is the real answer to this. You needed to do that. You need to act at each offense. I personally would have thrown the offender out with a note to the library (or a principal if you have principals with principles and who know how to honestly and honorably support teachers) and then call the parent without fail that night.
These kids see kids get away with this kind of stuff on TV all night long and now you are going to have to act and act swiftly. You will need other adults in on this one. You tell them not to do it and they don’t respond when you do so is major red alert time, time to go to other adults.
First step: I would go to counseling, ask their advice, have them definitely call the kid in for a meeting with counseling in which they are told in clear terms that if they don’t stop this immediately then it goes to a parent meeting with the teacher (you) there and the counselor and a principal.
Second step (if step one fails): demand a private meeting at school with a counselor and maybe a rep from the teacher’s union with the parent and the kid. Just tell them that you require this meeting. Then in clear terms take out your documentation of the event(s) and read it to the parent and say, “I’m not sure how to respond to this. The meeting with the counselor has failed. Do you have any ideas? I would like to be able to settle this in house before I go to a lawyer, because we both know that this is sexual harrassment not just of me but of the girls in the room.” That’s probably a stupid idea because admins probably don’t think it is possible for a teacher to be sexually harrassed by students. I just don’t know about that but I would certainly talk to a union rep and see what your options are on that front. The thing that I see as the problem here is your not bringing in parents or counseling at the first comment from the first kid. You’re allowed to ask for help too.