When I was teaching 8th grade social studies, I was afraid of a few days in school. Valentine’s Day was one of them. In 8th grade, nothing is more dramatic than Valentine’s Day. To offset any drama, tears, or both from coming into my room, I would buy a carnation for each female student. I did this to put all girls at ease, because nothing was worse than not getting a flower in 8th grade. If any guys asked for a flower, I tossed a stem at them. I also did this for another reason. I remember when I was in 8th grade, a girl sat next to met in math class crying her eyes out. I looked around and saw that all of the other girls had flowers, except for her. I felt so bad for her, and truth be told I didn’t even know who she was.
Fast forward to my teaching days in 8th grade, I received an email from one of my supervisors at the time that I was needed in the office and was entitled to union representation. Confused, I grabbed my rep and I came down. The supervisor began questioning me on why I wanfiving flowers out to every girl in the class. I explained, and he brought up cultural differences and being cognizant of everyone’s culture and how that could be misinterpreted. Instead of trying to make my point with him (he was an idiot, so it wasn’t worth it), I nodded and no longer continued the practice.
Fast forward to this past holiday season and I catch wind of an elementary teacher giving out cans of body spray to the boys and nail polish to the girls. As Christmas presents in a public school (first problem – church and state). She posted (publicly via social media) the reason she did this was because the boys stunk and the girls were ugly. Where do we start with the problems here? First, giving 4th grade boys aerosol body spray? Do you even know what that stuff can do?? What about teachers with breathing problems or allergies in school? Did you even read the warning label on it?? I’d give a mulligan for a rookie teacher… But clearly you are not aware of the problems this stuff brings. And nail polish for the girls? If my daughters got nail polish in 4th grade from their teacher, I’d be down in the principals office asking why. Unreal. And then bragging about it on social media?! Seriously?!? What’s next… Texting your parents telling them to not have their kids take a standardized test (that does not count towards anything, mind you)?!?!?e
Please please PLEASE… Think before you act. Your intentions may be good… But think about the big picture. Giving out anything in public schools these days is not the best. Know your audience and know your stakeholders. Most importantly, know that everyone is watching you.