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Should a teacher meddle in student's private life?
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 8:28 am
My friend's daughter (8. grade) is complaining that a teacher is trying to meddle in her private life and trying to prey information out of her friend...

She goes to a frum school, but she is more open-minded than the average of her class in her interests and hobbies (martial arts, pop groups)...

We are OOT, there is no other school around, no possibility of switching her to a school a bit more to the left...

Is it normal that teachers try to find out what students are doing outside school, in their private life?
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amother




Azure
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 8:34 am
it happens and yes her mother can call and ask the teacher to share any concerns and diplomatically let her know to butt out.
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amother




Maroon
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 8:49 am
Definitely not! Teacher may mean well but its not her business. Spoken as a former teacher whos had that experience as a student as well
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singleagain




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 8:59 am
Unless the teacher suspects physical or mental issues they shouldn't absolutely not be interfering.

And if they do suspect something there are very specific tactics in ways to try and figure it out and helpAnd if they do suspect something there are very specific tactics in ways to try and figure it out and help.
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Cherry Blossom




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 8:59 am
I think teachers usually do this out of concern for their students. They sometimes save families by mixing in when they see obvious signs of neglection.

Also, and maybe in this case, some schools demand from the families attending to conform to guidelines they have put down for out of school time. Possibly this teacher might think all these activities are not appropriate and wants to do something nice it.
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amother




Rose
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 9:01 am
Is there a reason to be meddling? I have a neighbor from a dysfunctional home and when she is over I gently try to get information out of her just to make sure she is being taken care of.

Some examples:
You starting school, that's so exciting (open ended)
I love that dress, who got that for you?
We are having chicken for dinner, how about you
What is your favorite food
Talking about homework-iwhat's your worst homework, who does it with you
I'm sure your mother would you let you come over. Let's ask her

There is good reason to believe abuse and neglect but we can't be sure..
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amother




Floralwhite
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 9:05 am
amother [ Rose ] wrote:
Is there a reason to be meddling? I have a neighbor from a dysfunctional home and when she is over I gently try to get information out of her just to make sure she is being taken care of.

Some examples:
You starting school, that's so exciting (open ended)
I love that dress, who got that for you?
We are having chicken for dinner, how about you
What is your favorite food
Talking about homework-iwhat's your worst homework, who does it with you
I'm sure your mother would you let you come over. Let's ask her

There is good reason to believe abuse and neglect but we can't be sure..


Exactly what she’s saying some of the questions are to see what’s going on in the home. If a girl does not do her homework a few nights in a row and the girls is giving excuses a smart teacher would start questioning verses punishing the girl etc. I wish some of my teachers meddled more I didn’t come from abuse Bh but came from dysfunction. You know how many kids come to school hungry you would be shocked a teacher will realize a kid is starved sometimes with interaction and ask the girl questions. It’s not usually to be nosy.
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Stars




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 9:08 am
amother [ Rose ] wrote:
Is there a reason to be meddling? I have a neighbor from a dysfunctional home and when she is over I gently try to get information out of her just to make sure she is being taken care of.

Some examples:
You starting school, that's so exciting (open ended)
I love that dress, who got that for you?
We are having chicken for dinner, how about you
What is your favorite food
Talking about homework-iwhat's your worst homework, who does it with you
I'm sure your mother would you let you come over. Let's ask her

There is good reason to believe abuse and neglect but we can't be sure..


Hate to break it to you, but none of these questions have toeles. That makes you a glorified yenta.
If you want to ask in a non probing, constructive way, that’s fine by me.
“We’re having chicken and potatoes tonight, would you like to stay for dinner?”
“We’re going shopping for school supplies tomorrow, wanna join?”
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amother




Floralwhite
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 9:12 am
Stars wrote:
Hate to break it to you, but none of these questions have toeles. That makes you a glorified yenta.
If you want to ask in a non probing, constructive way, that’s fine by me.
“We’re having chicken and potatoes tonight, would you like to stay for dinner?”
“We’re going shopping for school supplies tomorrow, wanna join?”


She said they are suspecting abuse so she will ask some questions nothing wrong. It’s not a yenta if you have lots of red flags.
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amother




Rose
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 9:12 am
Stars wrote:
Hate to break it to you, but none of these questions have toeles. That makes you a glorified yenta.
If you want to ask in a non probing, constructive way, that’s fine by me.
“We’re having chicken and potatoes tonight, would you like to stay for dinner?”
“We’re going shopping for school supplies tomorrow, wanna join?”


Thanks for the feedback. Right now I can't do more than that. I have her over a lot. I play with her, try to help her with social skills so she can have friends, encourage her and love her. That's all I can do. Financially I can not help and they seem to have money. She once told me that her mother wants to kill her father so I have good reason to probe.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 9:25 am
I also think there is difference between helping and preying, like stars and singleagain pointed out...

She is the last child at home, with quite an age gap, and her mother is divorced, but she is in no way neglected or abused... could be she has a little bit of attention deficit...but she is very gifted for languages and has a very good memory. So she likes to learn, but chol, not kodesh...

Maybe too inquisitive for her class/teacher/school
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amother




Chartreuse
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 9:38 am
I get the impression from OP's post that the teacher is not asking about things like food and hygiene, but rather prying into what she might consider unsuitable activities out of school.

In an OOT community with one school, it is not normal or typical as far as I know to do this. Such schools typically accept all Jewish applicants who do not have major behavioral problems and who agree to comply with school rules, even if the school administration is pretty right wing. Such schools typically don't have rules about what students or their parents do outside of school, how they dress outside of school, or what media they consume. And such schools usually understand what the deal is. They know that they have families with unfiltered internet, who go mixed swimming in regular bathing suits, who dress in regular American clothes outside school, and so on. They don't try to fight this reality.

OP, does your school fall into this category? Or does your school have rules about out of school conduct and selective admissions?
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dankbar




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 10:02 am
If girl is doing questionable stuff according to teacher, she is trying to figure out why she is doing it, if she has something that's bothering her emotionally, to then try to help her
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amother




Khaki
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 11:33 am
TRIGGER

I taught for a few years. I once had a student whose parents were divorced and both got remarried quickly that year.
She was struggling but I didn't say anything because I didn't think it was my place. I was nice and friendly but never tried to talk to her about anything real.

She tried to kill herself.

I wonder of maybe I would have spoken to her maybe she would have opened up and I could have gotten some professionals involved. I don't know.
Maybe not talking was good also.
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amother




Orchid
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 11:38 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
My friend's daughter (8. grade) is complaining that a teacher is trying to meddle in her private life and trying to prey information out of her friend...

She goes to a frum school, but she is more open-minded than the average of her class in her interests and hobbies (martial arts, pop groups)...

We are OOT, there is no other school around, no possibility of switching her to a school a bit more to the left...

Is it normal that teachers try to find out what students are doing outside school, in their private life?

Girls of that age also love to complain and over dramatize, especially abt school, so I wouldn't take this over seriously, especially according to the details you gave.
It doesn't sound like anything really is happening. Meddling would be doing something with the information, and doesn't sound like that's happening. Maybe the teacher is trying to build connections with students by getting to know them more, so she's trying to chit chat a bit abt their hobbies and fun activities.
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thunderstorm




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 11:40 am
amother [ Khaki ] wrote:
TRIGGER

I taught for a few years. I once had a student whose parents were divorced and both got remarried quickly that year.
She was struggling but I didn't say anything because I didn't think it was my place. I was nice and friendly but never tried to talk to her about anything real.

She tried to kill herself.

I wonder of maybe I would have spoken to her maybe she would have opened up and I could have gotten some professionals involved. I don't know.
Maybe not talking was good also.


I wished every day that a teacher would “meddle” and try to find out what was going on in my home. It took me , being so desperate for help to finally reach out to one of my high school teachers whom I felt I could trust and she literally saved my life both my neshama and my physical self. Nobody knew how much I was suffering. The hanahala didn’t even know that my parents were divorced , that my father was OTD and that I was raising my siblings on my own while my mother worked full time and went to school at night.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 12:03 pm
amother [ Chartreuse ] wrote:
I get the impression from OP's post that the teacher is not asking about things like food and hygiene, but rather prying into what she might consider unsuitable activities out of school.

In an OOT community with one school, it is not normal or typical as far as I know to do this. Such schools typically accept all Jewish applicants who do not have major behavioral problems and who agree to comply with school rules, even if the school administration is pretty right wing. Such schools typically don't have rules about what students or their parents do outside of school, how they dress outside of school, or what media they consume. And such schools usually understand what the deal is. They know that they have families with unfiltered internet, who go mixed swimming in regular bathing suits, who dress in regular American clothes outside school, and so on. They don't try to fight this reality.

OP, does your school fall into this category? Or does your school have rules about out of school conduct and selective admissions?

You are right that they cater to a mixed population - chassidish, litvish, RWMO.

So they have a rule about Internet, I think, but other than that they are not selective in admissions...
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amother




Yellow
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 12:07 pm
amother [ Rose ] wrote:
Thanks for the feedback. Right now I can't do more than that. I have her over a lot. I play with her, try to help her with social skills so she can have friends, encourage her and love her. That's all I can do. Financially I can not help and they seem to have money. She once told me that her mother wants to kill her father so I have good reason to probe.


When you say "we are having chicken how about you?" You might be opening up a gashing wound.
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amother




Gray
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 12:07 pm
I had a teacher try to meddle with my private life in an in town high school. She would stop me multiple times a week and ask “what’s the matter” “why aren’t you happy” etc. frankly, she got on my nerves. Majorly. There was nothing the matter and I had no clue what she wanted from me!
On the other hand, I had a different teacher who I reached out to regarding something going on at home. She was readily available, mostly listened and advised based on what I said, only asked pertinent questions and did not force me to respond if I said I wasn’t comfortable doing so.
Meddling seldom gets you places. Being available can save a student
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amother




Yellow
 

Post  Thu, Oct 22 2020, 12:07 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
You are right that they cater to a mixed population - chassidish, litvish, RWMO.

So they have a rule about Internet, I think, but other than that they are not selective in admissions...


Anyway it's not the teachers job to make sure the child's family is conforming. It's the administration that is responsible.
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