Ask Amy: Teacher’s conduct pushes creep meter to 11 – The Denver Post
Dear Amy: I am a woman in my 30s. Recently I received a Facebook message from my eighth-grade teacher, “Mr. K,” wanting to say hello and reconnect.
He even mentioned meeting up to give me one of my papers that he still has. When I was in his class, I really liked him — he was fun, smart and made school interesting. All the kids liked him.
As an adult, however, I look back on that year and feel unsettled and squeamish; Mr. K would often comment on my looks and how he liked my hair styled best. He would drop by my house unannounced to bring me books, and once on a school-related outing, he drove me and a few other students to his home (he lived alone) to give us a tour of the house.
Nothing completely inappropriate occurred, but looking back I see that none of it was entirely appropriate, either.
My question is: Do I just ignore this message? Do I respond and let him know that in hindsight he comes across like a bit of a creep?
Am I overreacting? He is no longer teaching, but apparently he volunteers at schools (when they are open).
— Conflicted in OR
Dear Conflicted: You say that nothing “completely inappropriate” occurred back when you were in eighth grade, but everything you report about this teacher’s conduct is completely inappropriate.
I think many of us can look back and realize in hindsight that an adult in our life pushed the creep meter to 11, and often it was an adult who was nice, friendly and popular with kids.
But people who really love and understand children respect their emotional and physical vulnerability — and behave accordingly.
All of these events happened over 20 years ago, but the standards for teacher conduct were not radically different then than they are now.
The only difference is that you were an adolescent then. You were still sorting out the difference between positive attention from a skilled and wonderful teacher, and an adult in a position of power who wasn’t respecting the necessary boundary between him and his students.
No teacher should ever take children to his house, ever — for any reason.
No teacher should drive students in his private car. No teacher should drop by a student’s house, unannounced and uninvited. No teacher should single out a student to remark on how pretty she is, or how he likes her hair.
I assume that some of this teacher’s actions were firing offenses, even 20 years ago.
And — why has this man kept a paper of yours for over 20 years? That paper belongs to you.
Yes, I think you should respond to him, saying a version of: “Thank you for being such a good teacher. However, as an adult I realize that your conduct toward me and some other students was extremely inappropriate. I am not comfortable being in touch with you.” And then — do not respond to any further contact from him.
Dear Amy: I could use a few of your good zinger comeback replies to an oldest sister, who is the family beauty and uses passive aggressive questions that make me (the younger and less beautiful sister) feel inferior.
Examples: “Have you thought about trying to style your hair like mine?” Or, “Wow, how did you know how to pronounce Monet correctly?” Or, “Is that a stretch mark? I’ve never actually seen one up close!”
My sister is very proud of her atheism and makes sure to mock my beliefs with little digs at every opportunity.
I’m 60 and tired of smiling and avoiding her, but not quick enough at the moment to give it back.
— Younger Sister
Dear Sister: Sometimes, the best comeback is … no comeback.
When a passive-aggressive or condescending comment hits you, you could assume a neutral expression on your face, blink a few times, breathe in, and just … wait.
You wait in silence, and then, if inspired, you can say, “Are you done?” and then do your best to resume an adult conversation.
Dear Amy: Your ridiculous response to “TIA” made me fume. This woman’s husband won’t get vaccinated for COVID-19, but he has already had the disease, so he is immune now!
You really should brush up on your research.
Dear Disappointed: “TIA’s” husband refused to get the vaccine that has proved effective against COVID-19 because he believes it is a “government plot.”
That’s the problem, as I pointed out in my response.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, In The Know, to get entertainment news sent straight to your inbox.
Source: Read Full Article