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Awkward moment at the retreat

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citadelle:
I am a teacher of a core subject in a middle school. We recently had a retreat for our whole "house" of students, about 150. It is a fun retreat, lots of games and music and a message of treating others with respect.

An adult volunteer was needed for one of the activities. The group leader had met with my colleagues and I beforehand and we had agreed that my coworker Sophie would be the volunteer.

When it came time for the activity, the group leader announced on the mic, "We need a teacher volunteer!" This was Sophie's cue. However, the group of students began to chant my name. I did not in any way encourage them to do this.

Sophie and I and the other teachers were standing in the back. I gestured broadly to Sophie, to try to encourage the students to call for her. It didn't work. The group leader met my eye, and I stepped back hoping that Sophie would step forward. It felt very awkward. Finally, Sophie gestured to me and I went forward as the volunteer to assist in the activity.

It felt so wrong. I knew that Sophie didn't really care if she did the demo or not, but it felt like the students were expressing a preference for me and I worried that would embarrass or hurt her. She is one of my closest friends.

I know that the group leader made a mistake in the way she asked for a volunteer. She should have just called Sophie up, since she knew that was the plan. But since that didn't happen, should I have gone up? Should I have insisted that Sophie go up instead? Should I say something to Sophie about the awkward moment? I don't want to "humble-brag" to her, and I know she would brush it off and say it didn't matter. But what if it did? It doesn't help that the whole message of the retreat was respect, and I feel like I was disrespectful to my friend.

TootsNYC:
You were on the spot, and thinking on your feet.

But probably you should have stepped forward much sooner instead of trying repeatedly to get Susie in on the activity. That actually highlighted that the students were "choosing you over Susie."

Or make your consultation w/ Susie & leader seem more like a conversation and less like a "gesturing Susie forward."

Redsoil:
Sounds like you did fine.  Might be easiest just to simply ignore the incident, apart from a light-hearted "Kids!  Wouldn't you know they'd be contrary!" or something similar ("best-laid plans..."  etc.)

citadelle:

--- Quote from: TootsNYC on March 09, 2013, 06:08:09 PM ---You were on the spot, and thinking on your feet.

But probably you should have stepped forward much sooner instead of trying repeatedly to get Susie in on the activity. That actually highlighted that the students were "choosing you over Susie."

Or make your consultation w/ Susie & leader seem more like a conversation and less like a "gesturing Susie forward."

--- End quote ---
Thanks. That makes sense. In the moment, I was trying to get her up there, and I admit that I didn't want to just jump forward. It was awkward, but I guess some moments just are.

Slartibartfast:
I wouldn't necessarily assume that kids chanting for you was a sign of them liking you better or anything like that; it's more a sign that a ringleader thought "Wouldn't it be funny if Citadelle was up there?" and started the chant and that other kids joined in for kicks.  I wouldn't feel the need to say anything about it.

(My personal list of "favorite teachers" and "teachers who are good sports about being embarrassed in front of students and who enjoy being funny" are overlapping but not congruent sets.)

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