Teacher Baiting?

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?

[tags]YouTube, teachers[/tags]

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3 thoughts on “Teacher Baiting?

  1. That's a tough call, actually. Technically speaking, I'm at work in a public institution … so I'm technically not only "in public" but also "serving the public." So I don't know if I can appeal to a violation of privacy in that case. Can I?

    I would feel personally betrayed, of course. I don't *think* I have anything to worry about, as I tend to have a good raport with my students and always try to treat them with good-humored respect.

    What was interesting to me was seeing the comments on most of those videos. It seems the public usually sides with the teacher. Perhaps this is a good lesson for the "baiters" … ?

  2. I would just like to say that "teacher baiting" had probably been around as long as there have been teachers and students. In fact I have a good example that happened in my school years ago that had nothing to do with technoloy at all. (aside from a copy machine.)

    My school had a teacher that was known thrououth the school for her attitude as well as her tests. One student decided that it would be fun to make a cartoon our of her, not a video cartoon just a pen and paper picture. This student created a necagtive cartoon and copied it and passed it around the school. Eventually the teacher in question got a copy somehow. Needless to say she was VERY upset. I dont think she ever found out who did it but she was still the target of baiting without the use of any major technology.

    I do not like the fact that students do this but it has been a fact of life for a long time. So I do not think that there is much anyone can do about it. My feeling is that restricting technology use ont improve the situation students wil just fall back to the old methods they used to use, rumors and nasty notes.

  3. This is very exciting for me. This comment I am replying to coincidentally is authored by a good friend of mine–a former teacher–Mr. Hoefler.

    As I read this piece my first reaction was that we need teachers that students like. Eric was/You were one of those. It's a true loss for the youth that he is/you are no longer teaching. You were/Mr. Hoefler was in touch with your/his students and his/your not-students like me! He/you stayed in touch with students from other English classes. He/you worked with the other teachers in the department and attached yourself/hisself to students that he/you didn't even teach.

    I talk about Mr. Hoefler/you to a lot of people, especially now that I'm working on my Masters of Ed.

    When I was applying to grad schools, my essays about why I want to be a teacher all focused around taking the vacancy of bad teachers (so many of them!) and being a good teacher (citing Mr. Hoefler and Mrs. Hailey).

    A good raport is all we need in our schools today. Mr. Hoefler/you had more than that. You were/Mr. Hoefler was an inspiration.

    Perhaps I'll just write you/Mr. Hoefler a quick facebook message to say hello and show my appriciation now that a good opportunity has come up!

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