I’m going to talk about sex and stuff in a minute, but first, some exposition: I frequently save links to articles that give me an idea for a blog post, but then never get around to writing the post. I also start posts, save them as drafts, then never finish them. I have over a hundred saved WordPress drafts, and countless links saved in my iCloud reading list, Evernote, Instapaper, and elsewhere. Maybe I’ll get to some of those ideas eventually, but sometimes I go through my blog post drafts and delete the ones that are hopelessly outdated. This is an attempt to consolidate ideas accumulated over months into a single post.I. The Long-Winded Introduction
Teachers, at this point in American history, are not allowed to have pasts. Nor are they allowed to have much in the way of lives outside of teaching. This applies to other professions as well, but teachers seem to bear the brunt of our society’s perfectionism.
I’m going to talk a bit about sex, as well as portrayals of sex in entertainment, so stop reading if you’re easily offended. I’ll warn you if a link goes somewhere NSFW (not safe for work.) The gist of what I’m saying is that we as a society have profoundly conflicted views of sexuality, especially female sexuality. People who routinely interact with children are often expected to be effectively asexual, even if no one ever quite puts it in those terms. People who have expressed their sexuality in overt ways, from basic modeling to outright porn, while breaking no laws, often lose their jobs as teachers and in other fields. Sometimes, we can justify it as “protecting the kids,” while other times, t really makes no sense at all.
Even when it is supposedly about protecting children, what is it really teaching kids? (Disclosure: I do not have kids, but I used to be a teenage boy.) The most common justification offered for dismissing a teacher because of modeling, porn, etc. is that it creates a “disruption” or “distraction” in the school environment. I assume that this refers to the idea that students will not be able to learn as effectively because they might have seen their teacher in a state of undress or more, perhaps online.
That is, at least initially, a compelling argument. What is it actually teaching kids, though? This is not about teachers who actually have sex with their students, or who call their students “jailbait” on Twitter. Those are pretty obviously illegal and/or inappropriate. I can also see an argument against letting teachers moonlight as bikini models or whatever, but what about something a teacher did years ago? I don’t necessarily know the best answer for how to deal with it, but firing a teacher for modeling bikinis or more in the past might have more negative long-term consequences: Continue reading