Watch Your Back

union business date

Teachers are easy targets, but I never thought we would be under attack in California. The recent Vergara v. California ruling strips teachers of essential job protections under the pretense of “equality.” Without these job protections, low-income and inner-city schools will become even harder to staff. The case seemed like it helped needy kids, but the media frenzy neglected to uncover the motives of David Welch, the rich Silicon Valley financier of the case. His investments include Microsoft, Pearson, and the Eli Broad Foundation…all big businesses who will benefit from making teachers easier to fire. Mark my words, pay for performance is not far behind. I wrote letters and sent emails about this travesty, but the local newspaper didn’t publish it and my Congressman hasn’t gotten back to me. It’s like no one cares. Protect your job and fight for our rights. Teachers are under attack in California. Watch your back.

The Half Hug

half hug

Many teachers have a hands-off policy where they never make any kind of physical contact with a student. They believe that if they maintain this policy that nobody will ever have reason to falsely accuse them of any kind of crime. I respect this policy, but it’s not my style. I like to wake up sleeping kids by patting their arms, to give high-fives to students who do well, and when they are overcome with grief or happiness, they might attempt to hug me.

The problem is that a hug is rather intimate, and can bring up awkward situations like the correct cheek distance, appropriate squeeze strength,  or the problem of chest-brushing. My solution is the half-hug. A half-hug is not an outright rejection of a child who comes to you with open arms. It’s less uncomfortable than a full hug. It has little connotation that can be misconstrued, and a back pat adds that universal sign of platonic affection* so that there are no mixed signals involved. It also leaves a free hand for self-defense or sipping coffee.

In today’s day and age, it’s prudent to take measures of precaution: never be alone in a room with a student with a closed door, never discuss a student’s physical appearance, and if faced with a hug, a half-hug is acceptable as long as it is executed correctly (see diagram), and in public.

* If you did not know, a hand patting your back during a hug signals absolutely no romantic interest. Take note, those of you who are single. If you are dating and the date ends with a hand patting your back, it’s best to move on.