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Beachwalker
Beachwalker asks:
Q:

Is it appropriate for a high-school teacher to ask their student to shop for and buy a gift for the teacher's spouse?

A public school high-school teacher asked a student of his to shop for and buy a Christmas present for his spouse and gave the student $100 to do it with.  The shopping was to be done on the student's own time.  If it is okay with the parents of the student, is it still okay?  Or, should this action be reported and should the teacher be disciplined or fired?
In Topics: Working with my child's teacher(s)
> 60 days ago

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Expert

BarbK
Dec 22, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

BeachWalker,

Good question.  I think the teacher didn't use good judgment in the situation.  However, I don't think he should be fired.  As for disciplining him, that would be left up to the administration.  

If you feel strongly about the situation, then I suggest talking with the teacher directly.  Chances are when you present specific reasons of why it isn't a good idea for students to do his personal shopping, this teacher will use better judgment in the future.

Hope that helps.

Barb K
www.LessonPop.com

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Additional Answers (2)

CampbellsMama
CampbellsMama writes:
I doubt that you have the whole story, but if you personally find it inappropriate either speak with the teacher directly, or to the campus principal. You don't know the details of why this student was asked, if they were asked-they may have volunteered to do this, maybe they know his wife? Or maybe they have a similar hobby? Maybe the kid told him about something that would be perfect for his wife and he could get him a deal.  ("my uncle can get that at cost..." is heard at least a few times a semester...).
As a high school English Teacher, I feel like I have two jobs - one at school which includes helping students from the second I walk on campus before 8:00 am, till I have to leave to pick up my own son at daycare - where I am usually late at 6:30 pm. THEN, after i get my kids to bed, I grade, plan, research, call parents or shoot off emails to them if it's too late, read the 40 or so emails I received that day while I was teaching 7 classes and going to mandatory committee meetings immediately after my last class, plus tutoring before/after school and on Saturdays, I never get to bed before midnight (usually closer to 2:00 am) and start over the next day at 6:00 am. Don't get me wrong - I love teaching and I always give more of my time to my students than I can truly afford but it is my choice and they desperately need it. So if a student offers to help me out with something  - and on the flip side I will probably be helping out someone in their family - then by all means I'd jump on it!

To me this all goes back to the current political environment that is blaming teachers for everything, when, in reality, teachers are not included in any policy making, the politicians (who don't even have kids in public schools and didn't go to public school themselves?!? Go figure!) want to make all those decision themselves, and when they don't work - like every teaching organization told them when they first started talking about it - they blame the teachers. Usually, we are ordered to do things we don't agree with - to keep our jobs. And then we are held accountable for the fall out for doing what we had to do to continue to help our students. Why would you assume automatically that this person is out of line and needs to be fired?!? Unless they are breaking a law, whether it's a moral law or actual law, why would you automatically assume the worse?

This is why great teachers are getting out of the profession, and new college graduates who can't get a job in their chosen field, are going to be all that our kids have to prepare them for the real world. Shame, shame, shame...
> 60 days ago

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TeacherandParent
TeacherandP... writes:
I would never ask or allow a student to help me with a personal matter like this no matter how sincerely the student offered. I wouldn't mind a student asking me what I'm getting my husband for His birthday but allowing a student to actually run out of school errands for me is inappropriate. It takes a risk of offending the student's parents as in 'my child is not your 'gopher' Mrs. Jones'.
Should a teacher be fired for this? I think that's a bit much but certainly if I were Principal of this school I'd want my faculty to know where to draw lines and in my opinion treating students like errand boys is over the line of professional behavior.
> 60 days ago

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