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15 thoughts on “Hooters”

  1. I agree with what Ben said. Did you get a feeling that other staff were supporting her on this? Or were they just humoring her by not telling her to take a chill pill?

    I’ve had some evolution on this topic. I used to sometimes allow some violent situations in stories, stuff that I would deem inappropriate for our class now. For example, a woman in a story killed David Beckham with a canoe because she was jealous he married another woman. I didn’t realize how that looked until I had a kid illustrate it (standard protocol in our class) and saw the scene he had drawn. In the moment of the story-asking, it all seemed silly and fine, but I decided later it crossed a line I do not want to cross anymore.

    The Hooters deal. Minor at worst.

  2. By the way, are you sure that is one of my stories? Anne wrote The Refrigerator Story, if that is the one you were using. That story rocks! One of the DPS guys (Malaney?) is using that story in one of those videos up on TeacherTube.

  3. My daughter has two master’s degrees and is teaching at the college level. She is happily married with husband in med school and most importantly, she is the mother of my grandson. She put herself through college while working as a waitress in, you guessed it, Hooters. Not just any old Hooters, but the two that are located in the casinos in Atlantic City. Tough crowd. Unless she left out the sordid details, it was a place to work and she made a lot of money. Her uniform was always a hot item for friends to borrow at Halloween time.I have found there is an almost knee-jerk over reaction whenever Hooters is mentioned. Save yourself the trouble if you have colleagues like that. If a tiny voice inside says “avoid, avoid”, it’s best to avoid. I agree with Jim – maybe a chill pill is in order. Does anyone still have a sense of humor? Puhleez!

  4. Maybe it’s because I’m a young, new male teacher with an incredible sense of humor, but I don’t see the big deal in allowing Hooters to be a location in a story. It’s not like you went into detail or anything, he went there didn’t find anything and left. And it kept their attention. But I’ve pushed the envelope a few times and have come close to crossing line without, in my opinion, crossing it. When doing the “Afraid of the Package” story this quarter one of my students went to Fidel Castro to ask him to open it. As soon as I heard “Fidel Castro” suggested, inside I jumped for joy because I have a Fidel Castro mask! It was perfect! So, I had a kid put the Castro mask on and hold a Nerf gun in his lap, as I’d imagine a meeting with Fidel Castro would look like. At that very moment……….the principal walked in!! My heart skipped a beat, I thought “oh shit” to myself and I probably looked like a dear in headlights. The principal handed me a grant check that I won for some readers, looked at Fidel Castro, said “I’m not even going to ask” and left the room. I was scared to death! I caught him in the hall in between classes a period later and said “wow, you should have stayed for that story, it got really good!”. He said “I saw that mask and was creeped out and thought ‘no thanks'”. And that was it. Had that been some other teacher in the building I’m sure they would have bitched at me….in front of the students. Last year, on the last few days of school I let the kids listen to their ipods and do nothing. An older teacher came in and freaked out on me in front of the class. There are too many busybodies in the schools, looking for mistakes that other teachers make. There are also many prudes in schools, and I’m definitely not one.

    I think it all comes down to personal preference and tolerances. Some teachers would probably freak at the thought of allowing Hooters to be a location, I think it’s funny. I think the lady needs to mind her own business, but I guess it’s best to smile and nod and say it won’t happen again. Hey, at least the students didn’t suggest “brothel” as an answer.

    1. I should add that any “advice” I give on this topic should be taken with a grain of salt. Like I said, I am no prude, in fact I’m waaaayyyyy far from being one. I know that there is a line that exists that shouldn’t be crossed but I don’t know where that line is. I’m part of a generation that is difficult to offend, not much is off limits. So my age and sense of humor, and lack of experience, puts me at a disadvantage because I don’t know where that line is. I’m unsure of what constitutes as “too far”. There are things that some teachers think is too far but I think is hilarious and I don’t understand why it’s “too far”. I’m sure I’ve allowed things that I shouldn’t have, but I can’t think of any offhand, other than the Fidel Castro/NERF gun situation. I’m aware that eventually I will probably get a parent phone call about something; that will help show me where the line is that shouldn’t be crossed.

      One thing I can think of that I allowed that some teachers may not have is with the structures “hits” and “wants to be”. We established that Alliyah hits small children and wants to be an ice cream truck driver so that she can hit more kids. Does that cross a line? I”m not sure. It doesn’t cross my line, but my line is waaaaayyyy out there in the distance.

      Maybe when turn 30 I’ll grow up and that line that shouldn’t be crossed will not be so distant…………..or maybe I’ll just always be a kid at heart. I could probably use a list of things that cross the line, a “don’t go there” list. Some of us could probably use a list like that.

      1. Oh damn, where did you get a Castro mask? I must have one! Oh, and don’t count on 30 being some magic “maturity wall.” I am still waiting to crash into said wall. And I was 30, um…kind of awhile ago. Just sayin’ 🙂

  5. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this sort of thing: sex, religion, politics and other dangerous subjects. I do it because, as the writer seems to have known–it was the right thing to do with this particular group of students. No one from outside that context can really understand (this presumes basic human and professional ethics!). The only thing I could add to what the member has done is “close the door” so that snoopy colleagues can’t snoop.

    1. My door is ALWAYS closed because I know how I am! I have avoided topics of sex and religion, I’m at a middle school. But I know I’ve pushed it. I ALMOST laughed at a coke reference when Charlie Sheen was added into a story, but I stopped myself, which is really hard because if something is funny I’m going to laugh, regardless of the inappropriateness of what was said.

      But like Bob said, nobody from outside that context can understand, especially those that don’t understand what we’re doing in our classes with CI.

  6. After a few similar experiences, I just decided to avoid all references to sex, going to the bathroom, and toilet humor in general. When such a comment comes up (usually from a boy) I either smile and ignore it, or just say “That’s from a another story (not this one).”

    Teens love to talk about this stuff, and they sense our discomfort, which makes them want to do it more for their own entertainment. I have to be careful because it’s easy for me to want to go where their interest is, but now I just resist.

    Other high interest activities that touch on gender issues:

    1) We do have a lot of fun talking about Barbie. I have a Barbie doll who’s head comes off, and we put on other heads, which makes for novel characters. They love putting on Ken’s head, and his name in a story once was Ken-bie.

    2) We have uni-sex / hemaphrodite characters: Había una “chicoa” (a boy-girl) and so s/he is uni-gender: altoa, generosoa, nerviosoa, etc.

    3) Occasionally a student will suggest that parents in a story are of one gender, and I’ll sometimes accept that. I have students with gay/lesbian parents, or who are gay/lesbian themselves. It appears to be inconsequential to my students.

    4) We switch gender roles sometimes, in an exagerrated way: Boy/male characters stay home, fix their hair all day . Girls/females go out and conquer the world, smoke cigars…

    1. Our standard response to the gay/lesbian issue is “aquí no juzgamos y aceptamos a todos” riding the progressive wave of California. If some kid does it to be a jerk I will say “thank you for your sensitivity” and strip him of his bad intentions.

      One of my most poignant moments is when a girl decided to come out during her Speaking Exam. She told a story about two girls who wanted to get married but couldn’t but one day nobody cared and they could finally be happy together. I don’t think the class understood what she was doing but I sure did. She graduated a few weeks ago and came back and thanked me for allowing her to be she.

      We don’t realize how many students we have that are coming to understand who they are are as people. Statistically in a class of 35 we have 2 or 3 GLBT students. [Students] People are so complex.

      1. Yep. I have been avoiding the romantic interlude stories all year because of a student whom I know is gay but wasn’t sure if it were public. Until one day when she declared that she was never getting married because she’d have to travel to ??? (I’ve lost track of which states are legal because they keep switching back and forth)…because there are so few places where gay people can get married.

        Anyway, before that public statement I was just very careful to use examples of either gender when asking stories, so nobody was pigeon-holed. There is a very compelling story I have heard a couple of times where the roles are reversed…as in, the dominant culture is gay and there is a heterosexual boy who is in love with a girl but can’t express it publicly. It goes into all of the things we take for granted. Very powerful.

        I caught myself, though, in class soon after Obama embraced gay marriage. I was about to show a photo of the cover of Paris Match online with him and all the headlines about it in French. I have that gay student in class and also another student who has two moms. I also have a Mormon student, and at the last minute decided against having a big discussion about this. Mostly because I have trouble being unbiased.

        But Drew, I was really struck by the story of that girl and wonder if somehow being able to say it out loud in a different language made it easier?

  7. Laurie has a heart rending story that she learned – post high school Spanish – about one of her students. The young woman was gay and all of the stories that touched on the topic of love and relationships were of the heterosexual variety. She felt very marginalized as a result. Laurie can tell it better. It’s a minefield out there and it sometimes seems that anything that anyone says to anyone at any time can offend. I have worked with the same students in French 4 for four years. We know each other well and while our relationship is warm and friendly, I maintain a certain reserve about crossing lines – either me crossing their boundaries of vice versa. Anyway, one charming lad who is almost always running into class at the last minute, causing a ruckus, papers flying, never can find anything, always on the verge of crisis – you know him. I told him on day, as an aside, to please consider getting the ADD thing under control before college starts. He gave me a wry smile and corrected me:”Mme, that’s ADHD!” and we laughed. Another girl overheard our conversation and said before the whole class that she was offended by my comment to the boy b/c she has ADD too. Who knew? I go back to the sense of humor – sometimes it’s overlooked!

  8. So…here’s my take. The Hooters restaurant is fine. It is, after all, a restaurant. There is probably no more cleavage being shown than in my rather conservative middle school before we ask girls to fix it or change shirts. I have a student who wrote two little books in French, sequels, featuring cows that go to a restaurant called (can you guess?) Mooters! It’s really fuuny, and nothing inappropriate happens.

    I agree with what Chris said above, keep your door closed. And with what several people said, some teachers are busybodies. My kids take a series of quizzes and keep track of their progress by earning a ribbon and attaching it to a poster with their name, pics, whatever. Two girls were coloring theirs during downtime in another class and the teacher questioned how it was academic. The girls tried to explain what it was, that is wasn’t an assignment, but the teacher kept insisting it wasn’t academic and the girls got really frustrated.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if colleagues trusted the professional decisions of others? If we were truly collegial? At least here we can be…


  9. I have no comments to make on the issue of “Hooters” but do want to give another perspective to doors.

    While I understand the idea behind closing your door, in the current climate of our nation – and all of the recent allegations and so forth from Los Angeles Unified, a nearby school district – I choose to keep my door open nearly all the time. I am probably more conservative than many others in the PLC, so my line is probably different (and it’s also probably squiggly). Nonetheless, I would still rather have teachers and administrators inquire about misunderstood utterances and activities that are hearable and viewable than create the question of “what’s going on in there?”* – especially since I am a single, white male. From time to time I close the door because we are making too much noise, are watching a video of some sort or are doing silent reading while another class is being noisy. Except for that, my door stays open at all times when students are present – and I will never be alone in a closed room with a single individual, especially a student. If I am working alone before or after school with the door closed and a student enters, I instruct the student immediately to prop the door open or go do it myself. That’s just the way the world is.

    Not too long ago several of us were reminiscing about a backpacking trip we did in the 80s: two male adult leaders and six high school girls. All the guys in the group flaked out, but the girls really wanted to go on a weekend backpacking trip, so we did. Absolutely nothing inappropriate happened, and everyone still has fond memories – and they still argue about who did or did not “fall” into the lake. Hard to imagine that happening today.

    *A couple of years ago a district administrator and a new teacher were doing a walk-through. As they passed my class, one student was standing on a chair in the middle of the room, and others were throwing paper airplanes at him. The new teacher thought a substitute had an out-of-control class, but the administrator said, “Let’s take a look.” It soon became apparent that we were acting out a story in which “King Eric” (literally a big ape) was having lunch with his girlfriend on top of the Empire State Building when they were attacked by the evil penguin’s air force. Eric was protecting his girlfriend. The class was in complete control – when I gave the signal the planes flew, and Eric swatted them down. When I said stop, they stopped. Fortunately, the administrator and I talk regularly, and he knew exactly what sort of activity was going on. I would rather deal with that kind of misunderstanding than gossip and innuendo about closed doors. (Just my take on the whole thing.)

  10. I love this perspective and I agree with it so much. I didn’t earlier. It took two full decades before it sunk in how exposed we are legally to the littlest thing, which, as we know, is not always little to others, even just one comment uttered without being filtered first with awareness of who the listener is.

    An innocent seed can become an ugly tree fairly quickly in our profession, especially in the eyes of a person who only looks big, but is a child – those 14 and 15 year olds. So I say, echoing my hero Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “Enfants [professeurs], faites attention aux baobabs!”

    Here is an important classroom policy from Robert that I practice myself to an even greater extreme. I won’t allow a child to be in a one on one with me in my classroom for more than a minute or so. I personally will just walk into the hallway:

    ….I will never be alone in a closed room with a single individual, especially a student…

    Notice that Robert says “with a single individual”. This is wise. In fact, the one on one conversations we have with colleagues or parents after school or whenever are just doomed. Schools aren’t the place for this kind of word fakery.

    Honest conversations with colleages are rare, even those who do CI (bc everybody has their own version), and I only trust this space in talking about CI, and some of you owe the group biographies – click on “Group Members” for more information on that and do it if you haven’t already. This group must stay small and we must have bios from new members, to make a long story short.

    Honest conversations with parents, by the way, are practically non-existent – experience has taught me that the grade that the child is earning is most often the modulating point of the conversation. We live in a tremendously unsafe where exchanging truths between people is just so low.

    In fact, I was speaking to Paul Kirschling on the phone and a colleague was eavesdropping at my open door, and this PLC was born from the fury that resulted from that event. So, when talking on the phone, close the door, is my additional advice.

    Luckily, I never had to learn from personal experience, but, every few years or so, something would happen with a colleague that I would hear about and it strengthened my resolve to keep a chasm between me and individual kids except in the fun personalized atmosphere of the classroom.

    My job is not to raise the kid, or to solve their problems, but to teach them in a group. There have been exceptions, of course, usually with gifted kids trying to get them AP ready or whatever, but I always used to create groups for that kind of work, and now I never do it, bc I have seen right through the bullshit of all testing.

    It’s not like we’re getting paid extra. And have you ever really looked at a colleague who thinks they have to be the answer to all the problems in the school and to fight hard and all that? They are so exhausted looking.

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