The Foundation: A Line in the Sand

Draw a Line in the Sand

It is incredibly important that when we talk about relationships, we talk about them in a purely professional sense. There have been far too many children who have suffered because their relationship with their teacher became more than professional. Keep yourself personally safe. To do this, you have to make some boundaries for yourself, and stick with them.

  1. Children are your students, not your friends.
    You need to build a relationship with them, that doesn’t mean you have to be their friend. You can be likeable, you can be funny. You can be there for them when they need you to be, but there’s no need to accept an invite to their birthday party or play on the swings with them after school.
    Draw that line in the sand.
  2. Teachers are their teachers, not their friends.
    You are their teacher, not their friend. They might like you as a person, but your job is not to be liked – it is to teach. Don’t let the guise of “friendship” stop you from keeping them accountable or making the hard call to follow consequences or make them do the hard work.
    I often get students saying “Sup Mr…”. I tell them they can say “Sup” to their friends. Not to me. I’m not their friend. At this I usually get a stink face or a “Awww sad” in reply. I follow it with “I’m your teacher”.
    Draw that line in the sand.
  3. Personal Cellphone is your personal cellphone. 
    Don’t share your personal number or other details with students. Too many teachers I’ve seen got caught up with this. It’s just not worth it. This also applies to all other forms of communication, including social media, personal emails, etc…
    Draw that line in the sand.
  4. Your class is more than one student.
    Never get into a situation where you are solely focussed on one student. You have a responsibility to the others. This will hopefully stop you from having favourites. It will also stop you from getting into one on one situations which could lead to trouble. Always have more than one student in a room with you, or have open windows for all to see (for one on one testing for example). Simple.
    Draw that line in the sand.