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Learning at its Best

The Secret Lives of Teachers

We are human just like everyone else.  We shop.  We go out. We have friends.  We drink. And, yes, we have sex.  I am writing this blog because parents and schools don’t want us to have the same kinds of lives everyone else is entitled to. This is evident by the number of teachers being fired because of what they do in their personal life.

Teachers are forced to appear to live PG lives.  A picture of a teacher in a bikini with a beer during summer vacation can cause a stir. But, a CEO, a doctor, or a politician can have an affair or have frequent flyer miles at a brothel and never suffer the same consequences.  Why are teachers any different from anyone else?

On countless occasions, I’ve been told how I should live my life. Not to mention the blog postings about what I should and shouldn’t say online. I’ve even been told to adopt a split personality and create a separate online space for personal communication.

I am not advocating for teachers to publically announce that they are in an open relationship, like to get crunk on the weekend, or share other details of their personal lives.  After all, it is called a personal life.  What I don’t want are people expecting teachers to be the examples they are not willing or expected to be.

Working with young people doesn’t make you any less human.  It doesn’t make you a saint. And, it shouldn’t take away your right to be employed and true to whom you are as a person.  Isn’t that what we teach our students? To be authentic and true to themselves…

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About peoplegogy

Will Deyamport, III, MSEd is a social media strategist and frustrated filmmaker. A former intern at CAREEREALISMcampus.com, he is now the Chief Social Strategist for StrengthsFactors – a career development resource company. Will has a B.A. Film Production, a B.S. in Child and Family Studies and an MSEd in Professional Studies in Education. He is also the founder of PEOPLEGOGY – a blog focusing on life and career developments, and he is currently working on an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University

Discussion

8 thoughts on “The Secret Lives of Teachers

  1. You are quite right but unfortunately we are often held to a higher standard because we are considered a Vocation more than a profession.I often find this justifies expecting teachers to do overtime for no pay , to sacrifice break time to work with weak students or students with dispensations, etc etc.We are expected to put or students’ needs before our own, and put up with all kinds of abuse on the part of teachers, parents and administrators.

    Posted by rsheffer | March 10, 2011, 6:28 am
  2. I completely agree with rsheffer. Day one of my first job all the new teachers were told we weren’t allowed to smoke in public. A neighbor once told me teachers shouldn’t be asking for more pay; rather we should do the job because we love it. An unbelievable standard.

    Posted by Jennifer Thompson | March 10, 2011, 2:46 pm
  3. I can’t agree more. What about those who choose teaching as a second or third career? Are they expected to renounce the life they’ve lived and person they’ve been for the years before they were a teacher?

    While, like any professional, we need to be smart about how we conduct ourselves, it us important that we maintain our humanity and personalities and passions.

    Posted by Mary Beth Hertz | March 10, 2011, 10:52 pm
  4. Thanks everyone for the comments. I admit that I was a little nervous about posting this article. For those of you who’ve read my blog, you know that I don’t shy away from the joy and the messiness of life. And, when I saw what was happening in WI and heard all of the comments about how teachers should be one way, I had to respond.

    Thank you all for welcoming me here.

    Posted by peoplegogy | March 11, 2011, 11:38 am
  5. I struggled with this in a class called “The Institution of Education”. The professor was explaining how teachers should strive to maintain themselves as a “whole person”, and in the next breath explained how teachers should not drink in a restaurant (in case a parent or student sees them). I was totally outraged by this! So we’re supposed to be “whole”-some people, held to a totally different standard? I strive to be a mentor and example to all students, but I don’t feel the need to become a puritan…

    Thanks for the post!

    Posted by dancecookie | March 12, 2011, 11:04 pm
  6. Thanks for the post and the interesting conversation. As a former teacher, I couldn’t agree more with this post. What I think is interesting is that our entire society is dealing with these issues, and have for a long time. So, like Mary Beth asks, why hold teachers to a higher standard?

    Today, these issues seem to be accelerated by social media. My friends and colleagues Andrea Zellner and Peter Kittle have coined a phrase to help think through the dilemma: Distributed Identities. In case you’re interested, they’ve begun collecting ideas and snippets of thoughts on the topic here: http://digitalis.nwp.org/resource/2129

    Posted by Paul Oh | March 15, 2011, 12:35 pm
  7. Thanks again for the feedback. I appreciate the time it took to leave a comment.

    Posted by peoplegogy | March 16, 2011, 9:11 pm

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