Whether they like it or not, teachers are role models—at least when they’re in front of the classroom. But what about when they’re off duty?
One kindergarten teacher on Reddit is wondering if she was an a**hole for getting drunk on her birthday while out with friends and cursing—in full view of two moms with students from her class.
The OP writes that she teaches kindergarten online and in-person to socially distanced classes. Last week, she went out with friends for her birthday for some outdoor dining. While they were there, two moms came in with children and were seated near her. The OP says she said hello, but then returned to her birthday celebrations.
“Through dinner, I’m just enjoying my time with my friends. I have a few glasses of wine and get a little tipsy (not rowdy or obnoxious or anything). I’m conversing normally with my friends, occasionally using cuss words like ‘f***’ or ‘s***’ or ‘damn.’ Not excessively, just the way some people would in every day conversation. Maybe a little more than I would have if I were not tipsy, but again, I’m not speaking loudly or anything. Just having normal conversations with my friends,” the OP writes.
“One of the moms then comes over to me and reminds me that my students were there, and that I shouldn’t be drinking and cursing in front of them. Since I’m their teacher, it was my job to set a good example to them. I just told her I was off the clock and that if it was bothering her, she could move or stop listening to me. She got all huffy, and they soon left.”
Later, the OP writes that she was called by the principal to meet with one of the moms from the restaurant, who was mad that the OP was “setting a bad example” for her students. The mom also said that her daughter was using some of the curse words the teacher was saying. The principal asked for the OP’s side of the story, and she explained what happened. The Principal explained that because the OP was not their teacher at the time and not doing anything wrong. The mom “protested a bit, but eventually left, but called me a terrible teacher.”
“I thanked the principal for backing me up, but then he suggested maybe that one time I should have just stopped drinking and using foul language. I really didn’t think this was a problem, since [I]wasn’t acting out. Just talking casually and enjoying a couple glasses of wine. But am I really the a**hole for drinking and using foul language in front of my students while off the clock?”
Redditors weighed in on whether or not the teacher had acted inappropriately.
“They can’t expect you to be the teacher 24/7. Also it’s a nice teachable moment the mothers could have used, but chose not to. 1. Words don’t have power, unless you give them power. ‘F***”‘ is just a 4 letter word, no different than ‘ball.’ 2. Teachers are people, too,” said noraya_bo.
“I can say as a teacher, one of the things they warn you in college and at orientation for a job is that you do represent the school. Technically, because she said hi to them, that means she’s recognizing them as students and is representing the school by default (arguably). It’s a gray area that’s always worried me because I’m young and teach high school, but as long as I don’t go viral, wear school apparel, or is during school hours they cant do anything. I’m also going to assume if they heard the cussing then it wasn’t quiet or anything and most likely was loud. Restaurants even with covid and social distancing are generally loud, so to be able to hear that would mean she probably was which in general isn’t a great look. It’s absolutely shitty and I hate it, but society sucks. But in general, this is a golden rule of thumb teachers have… don’t get tipsy or drunk or curse in front of your students… in or outside of school. Because they’ll always remember it and thats your reputation for a longtime. Unfortunately, this mom will most definitely tell other moms in the area about this encounter and it won’t be a great look. Again, I’m not saying I agree with it, its just the reality of it,” explained symphony789.
“As someone with experience in the teaching, I think ESH. Sure, you weren’t on the clock, but you have to understand that they were people related to your work. If I saw my boss and his kids at a restaurant and got drunk and started cussing, I’d expect a meeting the next day. At the same time though, there isn’t really anything wrong with cussing and it’s the moms job to parent the kid anyway. You can do what you want when you’re off the clock. Just don’t be surprised if this comes back to bite you again in the future. Be more aware of social expectations associated with your job,” said piezombi3.
“She wasn’t acting belligerent. She’s a human. Great that some people allow their careers to consume their entire lives, but not everyone feels this way. I think this is a mind your own business and let people be situation,” said sothereisthisgirl.
“I have a school age kid, and they IDOLIZE their teachers. I honestly can’t imagine trying to explain their teacher, especially kindergarten, using ‘bad’ words in front of them. The drinking wouldn’t matter so much, unless you were much drunker than you thought. I would never have contacted your boss about it, but you probably should watch your mouth around small children, even if you weren’t a teacher,” said mealteamsixty.
What do you think? Was the OP just living her life off the clock or acting inappropriately around her students?
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