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Monday, September 08, 2008

Feeling a Bit... Ew...

Once in a while, I hear inappropriate comments made about me in the hallways at work by male students who seem to approve of my appearance. Often, I have no idea who made the comment due to the hordes of unfamiliar voices and faces I pass each day, but today there were just two boys and I knew one of them.

I didn't hear much, but I heard enough to know they were talking about me and most likely not in the most respectful manner. I was in a rush, so I just looked back to give them a stern teacher-ish look and wish them a good day but was greatly disappointed to recognize one of them as a boy I'd always felt was a bit sweet on me but never crossing the line. He was always the first to offer me help when I needed it, or to ask how my day was going, or what video games I've played recently, but never anything like this.

As I was heading out the door, one of my colleagues asked me to wait for her. As I turned to wander slowly in the hallway ahead of her, I bumped into the same student.

TeacherLady: I do hope you and your friend were speaking appropriately earlier.

Student: We were. We were talking about girls.

I sighed inwardly. Good, it wasn't about me. I'm a big headed bitch, aren't I? See? Nothing to worry about.

Student: And you.

God damn it.

TeacherLady: I'd prefer you keep things appropriate. (Man that's become an overused word in my vocabulary since I became a teacher.)

Student: Aw c'mon. You know you like it when the boys talk about you!

I almost sputtered like a cartoon character right there and then. He kept talking and laughing, but I no longer heard what he was saying. My colleague was about to emerge from the classroom behind him and I was suddenly aware that we were just on our way out the building. This is not the time or the place for this kind of conversation.

TeacherLady: No, I don't like or want that kind of attention. It's just not appropriate. I'm a teacher. You are students.

He gave a big grin as though to say 'no harm done' and swiftly stepped forward to give me a hug. Feeling awkward enough already, I was thrown completely for a loop when he very obviously hugged hard enough to press my boobs up against him. I pulled away double quick, only to find his right hand was now resting on my belly. What the fuck? I had no clue what the hell to say. My colleague must have walked around us because she was now waiting for me in the hallway, holding boxes. I had to go.

I always hate when shit like that happens because I never have the presence of mind to do or say the right thing at the time. It always comes to me later. Clearly, I have to have a little conversation with this young man and let him know exactly what I don't want to have happen in the future. I'll probably chicken out of making it as serious as I should and just blame my response on a prudish upbringing in a foreign country, or I really should let him know that it's not acceptable here either... I really should. God, how awkward. I hate when stuff like this comes up...


kinzi said...

Teacher Lady, that kids was out of line. Throw the book at him. If he feels comfortable putting you in that position, you can bet the kid is porn-fed and will do worse to a less strong and influential girl.

I am so sorry. For me, it would have triggered shame that could silence me. May be both stand and fight it.

Jezabel said...

I agree; he needs to learn that that kind of behavior is unacceptable. (Another word that has invaded my vocabulary since I started teaching HS!). I doubt he's really unaware that talking about you (or girls) that way is wrong, and I'm positive the breast-hug was no accident. I've been the recipient myself more than once. HS boys who try that crap know exactly what they're doing, but they think we don't.

If we (as young female teachers) don't address the issue with them in high school, we're just sending them off to do worse.

I'm sorry too. It sucks, but please don't downplay it or blame it on your background. You can do this!

Abel Undercity said...

Speaking not as a teacher (since I don't happen to be one), but rather just as a fellow human being, this kid needs to be slapped down. Hard. Not only for your sake and the sake of any female he comes into contact with in the future, but also for his own. One doesn't touch the stove after getting one's fingers burned.

TeacherLady said...

I spoke to him today and he seemed very embarrassed. He played up the whole "oh man, I was just kidding" thing, so I just reminded him that there are rules of conduct between teachers and students. I also said no more hugs :)

kinzi said...

Bravo 3alayki. May he never forget that embarrassment. :)