Author Topic: Keep Staring, She Might do a Trick!  (Read 2300 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

AnaMaria

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Keep Staring, She Might do a Trick!
« on: December 14, 2013, 01:50:43 PM »
This is a non-verbal exchange, but it involves people "taking interest" in something that is none of their business.  I usually keep up the non-verbal aspect by just giving them a look, but I so want to turn to them and say this line out loud!!!

I have worked as a teacher's aide and a private school teacher for a few years, and am currently pursuing my teaching license (and student teaching in the public schools).  All these experiences have given me plenty of experience- good, bad, and ugly- working with children. 

Yesterday, one of my 5th graders suddenly became ill and I was walking her to the health office- using one hand to hold a waste basket in front of her, and the other to hold her hair back.  She was flushed, sweating, shaking, stopping every few steps to be sick, and clearly miserable in every way.  As we made our way through the hall, we passed a few adults (school staff) who shamelessly stared us down as we walked past- I don't mean a sympathetic, anything-I-can-do-to-help look; they looked like they had never seen a sick child before!  Come on, you don't have to work in a school to know that puke happens!!  As I mentioned, this girl was in 5th grade, old enough to know that people were staring and to feel embarrassment on top of her misery!

Sadly, this isn't an isolated incident- when you work with elementary students, you see a lot of sickness, and I can't count how many times I have seen teachers, parent volunteers, or other school staff flip out and DRAW ATTENTION to the sick child (not in a helpful way!) or just sit there staring as a colleague attends to the child.   Often times, the other children are more polite and compassionate than the adults.  I won't even get into what I've seen in public (including the waiting room of the urgent care clinic).  Yes, I understand that watching someone throw up is gross and awkward, but WHY KEEP STARING AT THEM, or SCREAMING about how grossed out you are????   Don't people know that being sick is bad enough without the stares, or, worse, strangers screaming about how disgusting it is??
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 01:53:33 PM by AnaMaria »

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28681
Re: Keep Staring, She Might do a Trick!
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2013, 01:54:17 PM »
I wonder if someone in your position could say, "Please don't stare at my student; this is hard enough for her."

It might make the student feel good that you were sticking up for her.

And a quick frown and shake of your head would certainly be polite.

AnaMaria

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: Keep Staring, She Might do a Trick!
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2013, 01:58:15 PM »
@TootsNYC, definitely something I can remember once I'm a tenured teacher.  Unfortunately, as a student teacher, I have to really, really watch everything I say, especially when I don't know if the staring adult is a parent volunteer, another teacher, or someone from the administrative office!

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3942
Re: Keep Staring, She Might do a Trick!
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2013, 02:37:34 PM »
"Let's give her some privacy everyone" in a pleasant tone and then try to shift between them and her a bit to add a physical component to the verbal suggestion.

lakey

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Keep Staring, She Might do a Trick!
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2013, 05:50:48 PM »
This really surprised me. I'm a retired Catholic elementary school teacher. As OP said, children vomiting is common. In the lower grades it is also very common for students to cough and sneeze on you. Then there are the bloody noses. Any teacher who isn't used to this stuff by the end of the first year is in for a rough career.

My sister in law is a high school art teacher and this post reminded me of a story she tells with great good humor. During the first week of classes she had passed out to her students some new art appreciation textbooks. Since they had large full color pictures of art works they were much more expensive than most textbooks. The students were sitting there with these books in front of them and she was telling them how the books were very expensive so they had to take good care of them, when one boy barfed all over his. The poor kid was mortified. She just told him it was okay, and handed him a wastebasket for his walk to the office.

CakeEater

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2300
Re: Keep Staring, She Might do a Trick!
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2013, 11:03:08 PM »
You know what, though? Sometimes bystanders are put in a difficult situation of not wanting to just carry on with what they've been doing as though they don't notice that there's a sick child in the room. It can feel a bit like you're ignoring their pain if you don't take any notice at all.

And sometimes I might be watching from a distance because I don't want to crowd around and be in the way, but I might be able to go for water, or a fresh bucket or a towel if I can see that it's needed, or the person actually attending to the sick child looks up and catched my eye, and an ask for something they need more easily.

And it's pretty natural to turn your head and see what's happening if there's a commotion in the room. And perhaps to keep looking so that you know that everything has turned out OK.

I couldn't really understand who was screaming about being grossed out. If that was a staff member, I'd find that very strange. If it's other kids, I'd be asking them to stop it, but I wouldn't find that so unusual.

I think that the best thing you can do is get the ill student somewhere more private as soon as you can.

AnaMaria

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: Keep Staring, She Might do a Trick!
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2013, 02:56:03 PM »
I can see where people would turn to see if everything was okay, but to keep staring when the situation is obviously under control (or there's nothing you can do) is what's really terrible.  A few years ago someone had a medical emergency in the middle of a church service, and our pastor asked everyone (except one member of the congregation who was a doctor and was caring for her) to please close their eyes and say a silent prayer for the victim while the EMTs came in and put her on a stretcher- obviously, we believe in the power of prayer in our church, but it was also just to give the poor woman some privacy.  There were plenty of other people in the congregation who were concerned and would have been able to help in some way, but, usually when you're in the midst of some health crisis, whether it be throwing up or a serious emergency, you don't want more people "helping" or watching you than necessary.  Privacy is the best thing you can offer someone in that situation!

CakeEater

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2300
Re: Keep Staring, She Might do a Trick!
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2013, 03:34:50 PM »
I can see where people would turn to see if everything was okay, but to keep staring when the situation is obviously under control (or there's nothing you can do) is what's really terrible.  A few years ago someone had a medical emergency in the middle of a church service, and our pastor asked everyone (except one member of the congregation who was a doctor and was caring for her) to please close their eyes and say a silent prayer for the victim while the EMTs came in and put her on a stretcher- obviously, we believe in the power of prayer in our church, but it was also just to give the poor woman some privacy.   There were plenty of other people in the congregation who were concerned and would have been able to help in some way, but, usually when you're in the midst of some health crisis, whether it be throwing up or a serious emergency, you don't want more people "helping" or watching you than necessary.  Privacy is the best thing you can offer someone in that situation!

And I just find that unrealistic. I don't always close my eyes while praying, and I don't think I could keep my eyes shut for the whole time it took for an ambulance to arrive and get someone on a stretcher. Plus, it's not really the job of the pastor to tell me what to do with my eyelids. I think I'd be weirded out if I was the paramedic walking into a room full of people with their eyes shut. If it was that important in that situation that no-one was watching, I'd have had everyone vacate the church.

I don't disagree that sick people would prefer not to be looked at, but it's unrealistic to expect that no-one will look at something unusual happening in the room.

shhh its me

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6450
Re: Keep Staring, She Might do a Trick!
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2013, 03:40:21 PM »
  Glaring at someone for being sick is rude.  Seeing someone is sick and thinking "hmm I hope the flu isn't going around, I'll need to be extra careful all the kids are washing their hands.  Gee Son had a fever this morning I hope he's well. That's the 12th time little Susy has been this sick that seems like a lot  in 8 weeks. I'm concerned for her."  those looks can all appear the same.