Dealing Softly with Bad Teachers Sends the Wrong Message to Students


Our impressionable students need to understand the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions. When they see us do something terrible, yet get nothing more than a reprimand, it sends the message that one can always say “sorry” and it will go away.

But sorry doesn’t always cut it. It certainly shouldn’t have been enough to let this reluctant teacher keep her job:


On her Twitter feed, a Newark Memorial High School teacher described in explicit terms her desires for her students. She wanted to pour coffee on them. She wanted to stab them. Some of them, she said, “make my trigger finger itchy.”

Alerted by one of her colleagues to the tweets — which are laced with profanity and racist remarks — the district disciplined teacher Krista Hodges with a written reprimand, and she continues to teach. Hodges has apologized, saying she meant none of it seriously. But some in the school community are stunned by the turn of events, given the alarming sentiments the teacher expressed.

mrs hodges



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One Response to “Dealing Softly with Bad Teachers Sends the Wrong Message to Students”

  1. John Tapscott Says:

    Teachers, like anyone else in the community, are subject to depression. When someone behaves in such a bizarre manner, to me, it is a sign that something is amiss. The remedy is time out, treatment and counselling, not persecution.

    Her colleague was right to bring the issue to the attention of the authorities. The teacher’s evident contrition indicates not malice aforethought but certainly disordered thinking, symptomatic of depressive illness.

    It’s all very well for the media to put their own spin on a story and set loose the hounds baying for blood. Under the law of the jungle such is normal but in a civilised society the bullying strategy, known as mobbing, shouldn’t be given any space, either in the media or in employment practices. There is such a thing as natural justice which, I believe, ought to prevail in this case.

    The very nature of teaching has altered since I began in 1968. Never have I seen so much pressure on teachers to conform to such stringent conditions as is the case today. Never has the curriculum, as a “legal document”, been so prescriptive. Never has the curriculum been so wrong in terms of children’s cognitive development. Never has management been so incompetent in a “command and control” environment. Teachers are made increasingly accountable for things over which they have very little control. A caring profession has been turned into a course of “funning the gauntlet”, where things that don’t count are measured to the nth degree and things that do count are relegated to irrelevancy.

    I wonder how long the teacher in question had been teaching effectively before she began exhibiting symptoms. Or doesn’t anybody care anymore?

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