Re: DSM: Watching My Back

Bruce Smith (
Sat, 10 Feb 2001 17:39:04 -0700


Your post brought me a sinking feeling and a few nasty flashbacks. Although
there are many things from my teaching days that still disgust me, one of
the worst was the need to constantly second-guess even my friendlier
interactions with students. The fact that treating students like people
could bring me under suspicion, the fact that I had to cover my ass just
for being a human being, frustrated me to no end. I continued to be
friendly to my students, yet at the cost of constantly worrying if just
being nice was going to get me in trouble. Grrrr!!!

This paranoia of teacher-student interactions is pervasive and entrenched
in traditional schools. For a variety of reasons, teachers and students are
almost never allowed to relate to one another as individuals.

In my less friendly public-school interactions, I once had a sort-of
stalker, too: a girl who wrote me notes, and often showed up at my other
job. I went very quickly to the school counselor, who was extremely
helpful. Another person starved for the attention that her school would
never provide (or allow).

>But it seems to me that
>if children are always treated with respect, as they always are at SM
>schools, then they will respect everyone else including the adults, and
>that "stalking" incidents and threats would occur much less often.

Bingo! I am SO grateful to be at a school where profound respect and
genuine human relationships are the order of the day.

Good luck sorting this out.


p.s. You may be interested in an article I wrote for AVS's newsletter,
entitled "When Students are
Treated as People." You can find it online at:

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