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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Suspended For Hugging.

I took it for a cultural thing... Upon starting my first year teaching, I was struck by how casually students give each other hugs, and to their teachers too. It transcends race, ability level, and socioeconomic standing, so I took it to be the norm.

Given my upbringing in the Middle East, I'm not entirely comfortable with male students from my past years of teaching approaching me with arms wide, but I do my best to lean forward so there's absolutely no breast-student contact whatsoever. It still feels awkward when they do it, but I'd hate to reject them when thier other female teachers don't.

If you were to stand in the hallway I work in, you'd struggle to count the number of hugs you'd see. I just wonder when this started? My friends would have looked at me strangely if I'd embraced them every time I saw them each day, and even repeatedly between classes, yet that's exactly what these kids do. My husband, who was educated here in the States, said it wasn't like this when he went through high school... So when did it start? Did it spread from the emo kids of this generation to the rest? They appear to do it a little more than anyone else, after all.

Anyway, here's the story of a kid who got suspended for hugging, I just can't imagine how they'd enforce a rule like that at the high school I work at...

Is anyone else noticing this new trend?


'liya said...

It was never like that when I went to school but at the high school I work at it's a total hug zone and it's the same like yours, not just student to student, but sometimes student to teacher. It IS awkward and sometimes you don't know what to do when someone comes rushing at you with arms outstretched.

Suburban said...

I went to sort of a "hippie" magnet school, and it was hug central. I don't know if they would allow the teachers to hug the students anymore, but I always liked receiving hugs from staff. It was never creepy, just comforting.

As an adult I get hugged a lot at work, which I love. (My work involves mostly travel,and I'm on the road with the same 30 people about 25 weeks a year.) Usually the first few days of a trip are pretty low on the hug index, but by the end of the second week everybody is so starved for tactile feedback that things get really huggy.

The men don't hug each other as much, but they will wrestle or play fight, and start slapping each other around towards the end of the first week. Weird.

There are a few non-huggers (mostly eastern european, british, and verrrry occasionally Arab) who seem uncomfortable with hugging, so nobody hugs them anymore.

Excelent blog- I'm really enjoying it.

Hani Obaid said...

Hugging goooooood, rap music baaaaaad.

lol, I can't beleive you used the phrase breast-student contact !

TeacherLady said...

It's not a term I use in every day conversation, I must admit.