The Los Angeles Times (via This Week in Education) reported a disturbing trend among our student today — “teacher baiting.” The object? To see if you can make a teacher mad enough to explode, secretly tape the teacher with a cell phone, then post the resulting clip to YouTube. If it is unclear that “teacher baiting” is the intention behind the filming, why not try checking out a few of these videos on YouTube and see what you think? It became clear to me after viewing just a couple that the students were manufacturing situations in order to purposely upset teachers, including everything from disrespect and refusal to comply with teacher requests all the way up to bothering other students and provoking fights.
YouTube has so much potential. We can use YouTube to communicate, to create content, to share. Sadly, it seems a large number of teens are using it mock, torment, and perhaps even invade the privacy of teachers and other students in their class. I think this behavior is reprehensible. Because we apparently cannot trust children to use the technology in an appropriate way, it will be necessary to remove access to the technology. I think that’s a shame — so much good can come of it when it is used appropriately. However, knowing schools like I do, I am fairly certain the majority of them will opt to take the easiest route and ban YouTube (which won’t prevent students from posting videos at home) and cell phones (which will be easy to get around).
Because of the close-knit community at my school (and, I think, genuine camaraderie and affection between faculty and students), I cannot see this becoming a big problem at my school. It never occurred to me that kids would do something like this. I have to admit, I’ll be watching out for it, and not because I plan to “blow up” or even because I become angry or frustrated with my students on a regular basis. The fact is that I don’t. I am a fairly patient person. I would see this as an invasion of privacy and intrusion upon my personal rights.
What would you do if you saw something like this happen? What do you think we should do to prevent it?