What teachers wish parents knew... A good read. - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A teacher in Mossyrock, WA accused of child molestation was allowed to go back into the classroom, and only after the floods of parent letters and comments (and parents pulling kids out of the classroom) was he placed on paid leave.  It was a huge boondoggle, and the district was unable to actually fire him and he refused to resign.  I forget the details and the internet failed to help me on this, unfortunately.

 

That pesky "innocent until proven guilty" thing. How dare they not fire someone who had not been PROVEN to be a child molester?!?! How many teachers (and others) are accused and their lives ruined - when they did nothing but piss off a whiney little brat, who decided it was a good way to "get back" at the teacher? Seriously. 

 

And if he HAD been fired and found not guilty? I wold urge him to sue - the school district, the superintendent, the BoE, the parents of the kid(s) and everyone else even peripherally involved.

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#62 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 07:22 AM
 
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That pesky "innocent until proven guilty" thing. How dare they not fire someone who had not been PROVEN to be a child molester?!?! How many teachers (and others) are accused and their lives ruined - when they did nothing but piss off a whiney little brat, who decided it was a good way to "get back" at the teacher? Seriously. 

 

And if he HAD been fired and found not guilty? I wold urge him to sue - the school district, the superintendent, the BoE, the parents of the kid(s) and everyone else even peripherally involved.

 

There's no winning in cases like that. On the flip side, how would the school board explain to parents if other children were allowed to continue to be molested even after someone else said something, just because the teacher is in a union?

 

As well as having the accuser punished, is every little kid supposed to then be warned that if there isn't enough evidence to corroborate their story, the person is going to have the right to sue them (or their parents) and ruin their life, so be sure to gather enough proof or keep their mouth shut?

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#63 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It IS a Catch-22 situation, without a doubt. 

 

We recently (within the last year) had a MS teacher arrested and charged with inappropriate behavior (I don't recall the exact charges off hand). Suspended immediately - with pay. As a taxpayer (and a parent), it galled me that he was getting paid. But I also understood that he had not been convicted, and so should not be pilloried out of hand. 

 

Now, both of my kids had contact with this teacher. The student in question was actually in my youngest's grade. If mine were still in the MS or HS? I would remove them from the music program that he was involved in. 

 

The teacher in question has not yet gone to trial, but he did choose to resign. However, the school should not be able to fire someone out of hand due to accusations. 

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#64 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 09:30 AM
 
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Please understand that sometimes lawsuits are *needed*! I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I just meant that there are more parents, in my experience, using the threat of legal action to keep their children's records clean than were when I was growing up.

I had forgotten that you had posted anything about lawsuits, so I brought that up all on my own.  No misunderstanding whatsoever.

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A teacher in Mossyrock, WA accused of child molestation was allowed to go back into the classroom, and only after the floods of parent letters and comments (and parents pulling kids out of the classroom) was he placed on paid leave.  It was a huge boondoggle, and the district was unable to actually fire him and he refused to resign.  I forget the details and the internet failed to help me on this, unfortunately.

 

That pesky "innocent until proven guilty" thing. How dare they not fire someone who had not been PROVEN to be a child molester?!?! How many teachers (and others) are accused and their lives ruined - when they did nothing but piss off a whiney little brat, who decided it was a good way to "get back" at the teacher? Seriously. 

 

And if he HAD been fired and found not guilty? I wold urge him to sue - the school district, the superintendent, the BoE, the parents of the kid(s) and everyone else even peripherally involved.

There was much more to it than that, which is why I wanted to post a link, but I also didn't want to pull the thread OT onto the "innocent until proven guilty" thing regarding lawsuits, merely wanted to illustrate that even in the worst circumstances, it is difficult to get a teacher's union employee fired.  (I knew just mentioning it would risk pulling it OT, but I made the decision to post it anyhow.)  Unless a principle is willing to confront teachers about complaints, that puts parents in a hard position regarding how they will address an issue.  

 

I apologize for this next statement being rather sophomoric, but the article puts parents in a bad light and we are automatically siding with this teacher in a way that is much like "guilty until proven innocent".  Lawsuits = frivolous.  But were they?  We don't know.  I assume many were, but I know nothing about these kinds of lawsuits.  I'm not going to assume one way or another, based on one frustrated teacher's comments.  What were they about?  Incompetence?  Misconduct?  Yelling in a 2nd grader's ear?  Our region is scrambling to address the controversial issue of effectiveness in the classroom, because, again, you can't simply fire a teacher.  Are they in competent?  How do you sift out the incompetent ones from the good ones that simply have a difficult classroom?  I would have liked to hear from him in more depth regarding the issue.  And again, I would be much more inclined to give him respect if he presented his viewpoint as what it is: an editorial opinion based on his own experience.

 

OT:  The teacher in point, BTW, was accused of doing this with his students at the school.  I was trying to find recent information to see what had become of that case.  I do know that the media did focus the larger issue I speak of-- that it is not so easy to fire them.  The parents in his class and others, on hearing that he had returned to the classroom, pulled their kids from the school until he agreed to take paid leave. 


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#65 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 10:18 AM
 
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Well.... I will say that "I forgot" was not an acceptable excuse for me as a parent. Not when I saw the kiddo do the homework. "I forgot to and it in"? Once? Okay. A big fat I don't think so. And yes, the correct answer is "no excuse" unless there is a good excuse. In which case, I would expect the parent to contact the teacher to explain. 

 

If I asked my kids why something happened, and they said "no excuse", I'd be upset, not pleased. I want their answer - I may not agree that their reasons are justified, but I'd still want to know them. Why on earth would you ask a child "why?" if you didn't want to know?


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#66 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 10:33 AM
 
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We read "parents are suing teachers".  Well, in some cases, maybe it's about time. 

 

I'm not a fan of lawsuits, but thinking back:

 

  • I had an elementary school principal who would jab her finger - hard - into my chest while talking to me. She'd also grab my jaw and force my head around to face her if I didn't make eye contact (and sometimes, I didn't make eye contact, because I knew she was right and had trouble dealing with it). She never bruised me, as I don't bruise easily and never have, but she left marks on my bff a couple of times.
  • My seventh grade teacher absolutely got his jollies by humiliating students. I can remember him making one boy get up on a table, get on his knees and repeatedly touch his forehead to the table in front of him, while chanting the phrases "oh-wa", "tagu", "siam" over and over. When run together, the chant was "oh, what a goose I am". Like middle school aged kids don't have enough peer issues...
  • Another elementary school teacher used to peg kids in the back of the head with erasers if he felt they weren't focused enough on their work.

'

There were lots of other, less extreme, examples of teachers/administrators who humilated, belittled and even manhandled students on a regular basis. There were a few teachers who weren't that bad, and I reacted badly (teenage hormones), but there were definitely a few who were out and out abusive. Kids don't have much recourse in situations like that.


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#67 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 10:55 AM
 
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I'm not a fan of lawsuits, but thinking back:

 

  • I had an elementary school principal who would jab her finger - hard - into my chest while talking to me. She'd also grab my jaw and force my head around to face her if I didn't make eye contact (and sometimes, I didn't make eye contact, because I knew she was right and had trouble dealing with it). She never bruised me, as I don't bruise easily and never have, but she left marks on my bff a couple of times.
  • My seventh grade teacher absolutely got his jollies by humiliating students. I can remember him making one boy get up on a table, get on his knees and repeatedly touch his forehead to the table in front of him, while chanting the phrases "oh-wa", "tagu", "siam" over and over. When run together, the chant was "oh, what a goose I am". Like middle school aged kids don't have enough peer issues...
  • Another elementary school teacher used to peg kids in the back of the head with erasers if he felt they weren't focused enough on their work.

'

There were lots of other, less extreme, examples of teachers/administrators who humilated, belittled and even manhandled students on a regular basis. There were a few teachers who weren't that bad, and I reacted badly (teenage hormones), but there were definitely a few who were out and out abusive. Kids don't have much recourse in situations like that.

 

 

Ugh, reminds me of my 5th grade teacher. Had a reputation for being a comedian, and "playful teasing". And a child's perspective isn't the same as an adult's. From my perspective as a 10-11 yo, I couldn't see his behavior as "wrong". That never even occurred to me. But he totally crossed the line, over and over. My childhood perspective was that it was okay for him to behave how he did. If something he did upset me I was the one who was wrong, not him. Not that I specifically thought that in those words, but thats basically how I felt. Looking back at that year as an adult I am *horrified*. I don't think he needed to be fired, or sued, but I do think he could have benefitted from another teacher, or parent (or group of parents) telling him to knock it off. He wasn't an unreasonable jerk, but just absolutely clueless. I think some of his playful teasing was probably okay with certain students (class clown types, that will laugh along with him) but NOT with others.. the shy ones who are already being teased. That was my WORST elementary year with bullying. It was SO BAD and it was blatant and I'd be shocked if that teacher had no idea it was going on. I was shy, and was not one to speak up in my own defense. Telling a teacher that the kids were being jerks wouldn't even occur to me, and if it did occur to me, I wouldn't even consider it.

 

Some examples:

using his squirt bottle (used to clean the overhead projector thingies) to squirt students. Might actually have been "good playful fun" some of the time, but not all of the time.

 

One student went up to ask how to spell "ATM" during a writing assignment, and he literally announced to the class what he'd asked. He was a goof ball type in class who laughed off this type of thing, but I do wonder if he was internally mortified while the class laughed at him. 

 

He put the recycling bin over kids heads. Now, I think it was a careful decision who he'd do that to, and it was always done in a playful/silly manner not as an angry punishment, but still? Not appropriate. 

 

Absolute. Freaking. Worst: On picture day, they handed out combs for us to touch up our hair in line for pics. After I was done, and waiting to go back to class, I was fiddling with it in my hair. I ended up getting it hopelessly tangled right up next to my scalp in front of my face. I was pretty embarassed when I realized this, and put my purple sweatshirt on my head for the rest of the day to try and hide it. Not very good problem solving there. He laughed at me and said I looked like a grape. Thats just half the problem. Surely he had to have noticed I had a comb stuck in my hair. Why couldn't he have silently pulled me aside and sent me to the nurse's office to either help me get it out, or cut it out? Seriously? 


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#68 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 11:35 AM
 
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I think throwing erasers at the back of kids' heads is kinda clever lol ...it conditions kids to pay attention to the teacher if for no other reason, than to not be pelted with an eraser ROTFLMAO.gif

It isn't like they're singling kids out and making them read aloud when they didn't volunteer or asking them to respond to a question they don't know the answer to... but then I'm picturing a teacher who would throw erasers to have a sense of humor and do it amuse kids while getting their point across and not mean spirited intended to humiliate kids.

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#69 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 12:07 PM
 
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Our senior English teacher has a unique way of dealing with students who fall asleep in class: He takes a picture of them, emails it to the parent, and it is projected on the big screen as the class walks in the next day.

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#70 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 12:11 PM
 
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I think throwing erasers at the back of kids' heads is kinda clever lol ...it conditions kids to pay attention to the teacher if for no other reason, than to not be pelted with an eraser ROTFLMAO.gif

 

This was kids sitting at their desk, while he was at the back of the room. If they lifted their heads up for too long or something, he'd assume they weren't working (even though some people just do that when they're thinking) and throw an eraser at them. He was also a gym teacher, and he hit hard. I mostly liked him, honestly, but the eraser thing was over the top.

 

It isn't like they're singling kids out and making them read aloud when they didn't volunteer or asking them to respond to a question they don't know the answer to... but then I'm picturing a teacher who would throw erasers to have a sense of humor and do it amuse kids while getting their point across and not mean spirited intended to humiliate kids.

 

Reading kids read aloud, whether they'd volunteered or not, was standard practice when I was in elementary school. I'm not sure it ever crossed anybody's mind that it was really painful for some of us.


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#71 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 12:56 PM
 
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Oh ok, then that's mean... I was picturing boinking pencil erasers off kids' heads if they were turned around talking to other kids. 

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#72 of 84 Old 04-04-2013, 02:12 PM
 
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Our senior English teacher has a unique way of dealing with students who fall asleep in class: He takes a picture of them, emails it to the parent, and it is projected on the big screen as the class walks in the next day.

I used to sleep a lot in high school, during the brief time I actually went to public high school. The most effective way a teacher handled it was to discreetly approach me after class, and asked me if I was having trouble getting enough sleep at night. He then explained that he didn't allow sleeping in his class and asked me not to. He was empathetic, kind, and respectful. He did not embarrass me. I never slept in that class again and never had any problems with that teacher. 

 

I continued to sleep to my heart's content in my geometry class, because that teacher didn't care and even seemed to encourage it ;) I did really well in that class, acing all tests, so it clearly didn't hurt! 


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#73 of 84 Old 04-05-2013, 12:46 AM
 
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I read the article, but a couple of the examples rubbed me the wrong way. Particularly the one about avoiding all the "excuses."

I think the problem is parents make the excuses.  I'm tempted to do it myself.  But what I really mean is, "This is not a priority for our family."

 

The example about asking a child "is this true" is common, but it's not meant to be a literal thing. How many times do people tell you things, and then you check it out for yourself, and then the person says, "What, you don't trust me?"  I remember this started happening when I was a child just learning to read, and my father would tease me, but it is human nature to investigate things.  No parent is going to not ask their child what happened, and usually the "is it true" thing is just a segue into the conversation with the child.  "What do you have to say about this" is probably more accurate, and something my parents might have said.  Now I don't think I'd handle this part in front of the teacher.  Last year my daughter's teacher told me that my daughter had done something very serious and that the teacher was angry about it and it wasn't acceptable.  And I took it seriously and told my daughter that was not a good thing to do.  And then, of course, when we were alone, I asked for her explanation.  I could tell she was pissed at the teacher's explanation, but my daughter is often angry, and her teacher interpreted things differently than I did, but it is valuable to see your child's behavior through someone else's view. 
 

That said, my older child's 5th grade teacher was wonderful, we just loved her.  She decided to start teaching the English/Spanish immersion class, but after a couple years of this, both of the highest grade immersion teachers left and went to different schools.  I talked to one of the parents about why this was, and she said that some of the parents were problematic and had a lot of complaints. They thought that by 3rd grade, their children should be speaking Spanish.  Yet this was not a priority for them as parents in terms of making them do the homework and reinforcing Spanish at home, so you can't reap what you don't sow.

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#74 of 84 Old 04-05-2013, 05:54 AM
 
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We get in trouble if we allow students to sleep in class. There are a number of administration and central office walk throughs weekly, so this is a big issue. He warns the students ahead of time, so they aren't blindsided by this. These students are also one step away from college or the real working world where sleeping isn't allowed. Not to mention it's rude to the teacher. What if you were talking to someone and he or she just put his head down and went to sleep? I have woken kids up discreetely and talked to them, and I personally do not do this, but I also teach sophomores, not seniors. I have to say, we do some pretty engaging activities, not lecture, so sleeping in class will damage the grade. But again it comes back to the fact that I can be written up for allowing students to sleep in class. If a student isn't feeling well, we are instructed to let them go to the nurse and lie down.

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#75 of 84 Old 04-05-2013, 10:02 AM
 
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It seems kind of unfair to make the teacher responsible for whether students fall asleep or not.  I could understand a policy of gently waking up snoozers, but there were days in my sophomore english class that I just could not keep my eyes open.  It was an emotional year for me, I wasn't sleeping well at night, and english was my last class of the day.  My teacher did think it was rude of me, and refused to sign the form to let me continue in the honors english program, despite my getting a B+ in her class.  I wasn't trying to be rude, I was just tired.  Had I been in college, I could have chosen to skip class on the days I was that sleepy, or built time in the day for a nap earlier, but high school students just don't have that freedom.  

 

Most college professors I had couldn't care less if you fell asleep in their class.  It was your problem if you got a bad grade because of it.  I did have a professor jokingly offer me a pillow once.  And another who instructed everyone to sneak out of the classroom as quietly as possible, while she ushered the next class in, so the sleeper would wake up surrounded by a completely different class/lecture, lol.


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#76 of 84 Old 04-05-2013, 10:22 AM
 
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I think there is harm in believing the teacher, unilaterally. Both sides get to tell their stories in court, and so should it be in other disputes.
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#77 of 84 Old 04-05-2013, 12:37 PM
 
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Most college professors I had couldn't care less if you fell asleep in their class.

This college professor cares.  It's rude.  Don't sleep in my classroom and I won't teach in your dorm room.

 

Students who make it a habit will get a discussion from me.  My question is generally to ask what's preventing them from getting sleep at night.  I offer help in getting ones self organized etc, but I make it clear that I put a lot of time and effort into assuring my students' success.  But I make it clear.  It's rude and it's bad practice and a bad habit.  Seriously, think about what happens when someone falls asleep at work.  I have managed to stay awake in seminars and faculty meetings, but not all my colleagues have.  It's rude and it reflects badly on them.

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#78 of 84 Old 04-05-2013, 01:02 PM
 
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Yeah, I gotta say it's pretty rude to fall asleep in class unless something else is going on at home. I can't imagine doing it personally, but I'm a non-napper. I just crank on if I stayed up late the night before and go to bed early the next day. 

 

I'm chronically almost late, though. I had some professors in college who weren't very keen on tardiness, either, and I do understand it interrupts the flow of class if you make a big production of entering, but if you just sneak in the back of the lecture hall I don't really think it's a big deal. 

 

I had some eraser throwing teachers, too, and some that would slam a big fat book down on the desk of a sleeping student — scared 'em awake.


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#79 of 84 Old 04-05-2013, 01:53 PM
 
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Yeah, I gotta say it's pretty rude to fall asleep in class unless something else is going on at home. 

 

In a stuffy university lecture hall with 100 other students, with the lights out and a powerpoint running (though back in my day they were just the dreaded "blue slides") and the drone of a talking head, I used to fall asleep on occasion. Not because I chose too, mind you. I agree it was not appropriate lecture behaviour ... but I certainly wasn't doing it on purpose. I was working late nights trying to pack in 32-40 hours of employment a week, plus studying, plus 35 hours of medical school classes, plus couch-surfing. I was living on next to nothing and under huge amounts of stress just trying to keep myself financially afloat. There was, as you say, "something else going on at home," but it wasn't something amenable to a simple intervention nor was it necessarily something wrong -- it was just my reality at the time. Many of my classmates had similar issues: cramped substandard living conditions, too many part-time work hours, young children, spouses in grad school, inadequate transportation solutions, etc. etc. Students' lives can be very complicated, and that's true even of many high school kids. It's not as simple as just choosing to go to bed on time. I don't think it's right for a teacher or professor to assume that a student who is falling asleep in class is doing so out of rudeness or an immature attitude to sleep hygiene.

 

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#80 of 84 Old 04-05-2013, 01:57 PM
 
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In college, I'm paying for a service. In work, I'm being paid for a service. There's a difference.

I deliberately faked being asleep in a college class, because the instructor was boring and droning. I paid good money, and wanted my money's worth! He asked to stay after class, and I beat him to the punch, and told him what I expected from him. He agreed, and I kept the class instead of dropping it, as I had intended when he started droning. It ended up being a good class!

Teachers, professors, and instructors of all kinds owe their students (no matter the age) good service.
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#81 of 84 Old 04-05-2013, 02:22 PM
 
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I disagree with you, pek, and I'm speaking as someone who has fallen asleep in class. I don't think the directionality of any financial relationship precludes common human decency. I teach violin, and if kids show up for lessons that they and their families are paying for and behave rudely towards me, I don't find that acceptable. Just because there is money involved doesn't mean there aren't relationships involved as well.

If the quality of the instruction is at issue, I think falling asleep (or pretending to do so)is not the most respectful way of communicating one's concerns.

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#82 of 84 Old 04-05-2013, 04:17 PM
 
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I agree there are relationships involved, but disagree that respect flows one way within those relationships. If an instructor is not instructing, that is disrespectful of the student. Could I have handled it differently? Sure. Having had other poor instructors, and had no patience left. I'm not sorry I did it. He admitted at the end of the semester that he had not been trying to educate for years, and had been marking time to retirement. I gave him the wakeup call he needed. And that was *his*view.
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#83 of 84 Old 04-05-2013, 05:01 PM
 
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If you thought I was saying respect flows one way in a teaching relationship, you very much misunderstood what I was saying. I apologize for not being clear enough. I believe very strongly that respect should flow both ways. When I talked about directionality in the relationship I was speaking only of the financial aspect. I think that poor quality teaching is usually the result of lack of motivation, creativity and/or understanding of the students' perspectives and needs. Not a lack of respect for the students. Those who lack fundamental respect for their students are the truly irredeemably bad ones.

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#84 of 84 Old 04-17-2013, 06:58 PM
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yes, you are right, i'm agree with you.i think the problem lies in the education system.
 

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