{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Am I the only one who doesn't understand why teachers refer to the students as \"friends\"?", "post_id": "6195748803d2e600392197dc", "reply_count": 181, "vote_count": 53, "bowl_id": "5c751b9f2f6b98001bc666f8", "bowl_name": "Teachers", "feed_type": "crowd" }
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Am I the only one who doesn't understand why teachers refer to the students as "friends"?

likefunnysmart
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Let's look at what is expected from a teacher. In addition to teaching the curriculum of our chosen field, we are also counselors and adult role models, We represent protective services because we are required to report suspected neglect or abuse. We are also parenting these children, teaching them life skills as well as classwork. If we provide a safe space to learn (like we are supposed to), then they feel comfortable there and can confide in a teacher if something is wrong. We are not the "Men in Black", but we are the first and last line of defense in our schools. We are expected to protect these children from harm and violence. We reward them when they do the right thing and correct the things they do wrong. We help them get into college, the military or find a job. We spend more time with students then they do with their friends or family sometimes. I have even had students at my house for thanksgiving because they were homeless and couldn't couch surf that night because of the holiday. And after graduation, I remain in contact with some of my students. I have had students over for picnics, ball games and other things friends do together.

SO with all that, why not throw in "friend?" Look at the list of things here. Many of them are things friends do for friends.

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I love this. I am their guide, not their boss.

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I think situations differ, and "friends" may work in some areas, but definitely wouldn't in others. I know they wouldn't in my city. Cultures vary, even from town to town. And that's okay. As long as it works. My Swedish friend says that kids there call teachers by their first name, no Mr. or Mrs. in front of it, at all. As educators we should know that there's more than one way of doing things. If you're too rigid and feel that there isn't, then you're probably long past time for retirement.

My students either call me "Ms. Vining" or "Mama V", and I often refer to them as my "kids". And when they ask me a question, I respond with "Yes, ma'am" or "Yes, sir" unless I know they have a pronoun that falls outside of that. I don't do it to set an example of tradition, but to show them that I respect THEM. And I find that comes back to me in how they treat me. It all depends on what kind of atmosphere you want to set. Mine is very relaxed, they know they can trust me, but they also know when I'm putting my foot down. I can, and will, issue discipline. But they prefer I not get to that point. If someone can be their students' "friend" and still maintain that atmosphere, then there shouldn't be a problem. I do understand the concern, it's the same we have with parents wanting to be their kid's friend. But in the end, what we want is someone who is a good guardian and example to follow. That's what matters.

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Great point. Every classroom is so different!

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I’ve been calling my students “friends” for six years and not a single one of them ever thought we were going to hang out after school. Never once did one of them get confused about who was the teacher and who was the student.

Get over yourself. You’re don’t have to delineate yourself from your students in order to show power.

likefunny

Salty!

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You’re not the only one by any means. Friends are peers who are relatively the same age, socialize, share personal things, etc. Would my physician refer to me as his/her friend? Definitely not. Public education is going down the toilet and fast. Just the 2 cents from a teacher who retired in May with 32 years service.

likesmarthelpful

Spot On! Blurring the lines of authority has done almost irreparable damage to schools. My biggest fear is doing my job right, because that hurts feelings, and feelings have replaced knowledge as a goal.

likefunnyuplifting

For me, the hope is that this term encourages friendship among themselves. It is not necessarily that I am referring to them as my friends. It just creates a more familial and inclusive environment.

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But how do they interpret it?

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I’ve not heard that, but I would not call a student who is 11 my friend. They don’t need adults who are friends. They need guidance and boundaries from their teachers.

likesmartuplifting

Lots of people don’t have family that teach boundaries. I leaned boundaries from friends, not teachers.

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Nope. I am not their friend. It is creepy to think so. I am an adult. They are children.

likesmart

And Iowa I never once asked someone’s opinion. This was not my post. You know where your opinion goes? 2 guesses.

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You are their teacher, and a reporting adult . You are definitely not their friend. Being a teacher is professional position.

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The only reason Illinois is defending this is because you are all being judgy and looking your nose down on elementary teachers. Your brains can’t possibly fathom a world where kids love us, sometimes more than their parents. Do you know how many times I get called “mom”?! Does that mean I’m their mother?! No. But it means they love and trust me to keep them safe and to care about their well being. So take a step back and look at what you are all saying. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

likehelpful

It’s never too old to say Ladies and Gentlemen. Rise above the crude vernacular of the day and elevate the conversation. Thanks

likeupliftingsmartfunny

How about "gentle learners" ?

likefunny

Well…it’s gender neutral

likesmart

Lol, same. I call them every name under the sun….pootsie pants, doll face, sweet love, etc. they love it.

You are not the only one.
I, for one, do not like or engage in that practice.
I encourage students to use precise language; and calling everyone "friend" dilutes the true meaning of the word. Everyone is NOT your friend.

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Crazy how many folks out there don't know how words have more than one definition, or that friend itself is a separate term from best friend, or that friend is a word with a long history of colloquial usage.

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I worry that some teachers get into education to try to replay a poor experience from back when they were the student. And for others who take this approach, it seems to just be a lack of understanding in the concepts of leadership and authority.

likehelpfulfunny

Here’s the difference…

An authority figure is a boss, a “friend” is a leader.

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I work in a rural district in which K-12 is all in the same building. Early on in my teaching career during an in service we mentioned that many students are secluding themselves with technology and don’t have friends that they hang out with outside of school. One of the seasoned elementary teachers recommended that when a kid says that they have no friends tell them “I’ll be your friend.” I tried that response later on that year with one of my sophomore girls that claimed to have no friends. After I responded “I’ll be your friend!” as my much more experienced colleague recommended, one of the other girls in class said, “Um, I’m pretty sure that’s illegal!” Let’s just say that I’ll never use that line again. 😅

likefunny

Elementary teacher being the key word in the post lol

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No, you are not the only one!! It actually drives me crazy!!

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I never have and never will call them friends

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🏆

I use "folks", I don't really like to refer to students as "friends".

likesmart

I don’t use that term either, but I don’t judge others who do; I don’t give a care, I got bigger fish to fry.

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I agree with California. We all as teachers have different styles. I wish I wasn't judged when observed as having to have the same style as every teacher in my school.

likehelpful

Every time I go to the local Mexican restaurant the waiter greets us with "hola, mis amigos!" Are you saying he's not my friend? No wonder he won't return my calls! Seriously, though, how you address your students is your business and what is appropriate likely varies depending on who you are, who they are, your culture, age, gender, etc. There is no one size fits all. As for the "power" of the word "friend" being diluted, I'm pretty sure Facebook took care of that. I really think this is a non-issue.

likehelpful

I've started using "Dudes" and Dudettes". Seen the Big Lebowski a few too any times

likefunny

That's just, like, your opinion, man

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So can we all agree that elementary teachers can use the term friends but shockingly MS and HS teachers find it odd? So maybe we need to recognize that elementary is a whole other ballpark than the other two. I wish people could be a little less negative about it, it kind of shocks me how many of you are that concerned with your power and authority over kids. Maybe that’s why they start to “check out” at that age? No one is asking you if you’re actually “friends” with your students. But calling me creepy and blaming us for the fall of education as we know it because I occasionally say “ok friends” is really disturbing. 🙄

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But they don’t stop needing to feel safe and important and engaged, to move and interact with their peers once they are teenagers.

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Wow there are way too many literal people in here. I’m fairly certain a 10 year old knows you’re not friends. It’s just a word. Sheesh. You’ve got so few problems you need to make some up?

likefunny

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