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tightrope

I would like to tackle this controversial topic…where do teachers and students draw the line between attending social events outside of school and still maintain professionalism within the classroom?   I definitely agree it’s like walking on a tightrope (Idioms.thefreedictionary.com states a tightrope is defined to be in a situation where one must be very cautious/ to act very carefully so that you avoid either of two opposite bad situations).   I bring up the phrase’s definition as it is a reminder to us and to use our common sense to avoid situations like this in day to day life. In day to day situations, I believe we all avoid “tightrope” situations.  So why put yourself in that predicament?  Instructors have enough on their plate; grading papers, creating lesson plans and finding resources for their next lecture.  I empathize with a PIDP classmate/instructor who just wants to help a new student adjust to a new city or participate in a celebratory/end of term dinner, etc.  For me personally, I avoid social events with students.  This means that I make a choice not to go for coffee or a beer with them after class or semester.  The reason I do this is not because I am not interested to get to know them, but I want to maintain that positive learning environment where the teacher models appropriate behavior.  Forming Positive Student-Teacher Relationships (on-line, no date avail), “Model appropriate behavior. Students are very sensitive to teacher’s attitudes towards the school and the class in general; therefore, teachers must be extremely self-reflective, making certain that they are modeling positive behaviors for the class. Videotaping several class sessions may make teachers aware of any negative feelings they may be projecting towards their students”.  If a teacher wants to participate in a social event, I recommend organizing an in-class dinner or potluck on the school premises, if available.  Lunch time is another opportunity where the instructor can host a pizza party where learners and teachers can socialize (PIDP classmates and instructors have done this at VCC- Broadway and it was very successful).  I believe by not going to outside classroom settings and private home dinners, instructors can maintain that positive learning environment where learners know they will be treated fairly and know that their teacher has modeled positive behavior.   What are your thoughts on this?  Do you think a social event held in the classroom is appropriate?  Do you think in-class events can enhance your positive learning environment even more?    Thanks for your feedback.

Reference:

Forming Positive Student-Teacher Relationships (on-line, no date avail), Retrieved on Sept 23, 2014, http://www.cedu.niu.edu/~shumow/itt/StudentTchrRelationships.pdf

Idioms.com (on-line, no date avail), Retrieved on Sept 23, 2014, http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/walk+a+tightrope

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