American students generally have the legal right to express their opinions at home on their free time using non-school computer equipment. So here are a few students expressing their opinions about their teachers…
Do you know what your students are saying at home about your school? Is this something that educators should care about or just ignore?
WARNING: Language often is not safe for work or young children.
UPDATE: Some of you have asked what my intent was in publishing these videos without context and/or inferred that I don’t like teachers because of this post. Here’s some of my thinking.
See also: Cell phone cameras in the K-12 classroom: Punishable offenses or student-citizen journalism?
Wow. Wow. Some of these are quite poignant; others clearly could use some training in video production, scripting, and editing. Overall impression: I feel their pain.
Wow indeed, but not for that reason.
#1 is a child, maybe 5th grade. He has decided that something the teacher has done is worth killing and stabbing. He knows he’ll go to jail so he decides to destroy a picture of her, repeatedly jabbing and stabbing until the picture is basically gone. He has plenty of free time, access to all the latest tools and apparently complete and free rein to post anything he wants on the Internet. I’m not thinking about the teacher’s problems at this point.
That one struck me too. On the one hand, he clearly needs an outlet for his feelings. On the other, the violence he’s expressing is pretty disconcerting…
These are terrifying and telling.
1. Does the Internet create an echo chamber for these students who are obviously not seeking to improve their lot but seem to be more interested in gaining YouTube followers and acceptance among their peers. It seems that the teachers being hated upon are perhaps not engaging, but what kind of message about resolving issues have these parents instilled in their children? Seems like a poor one.
2. This is exactly what we get for being boring, rote, ineffectual, and for lack of a better word, crappy teachers. We expect kids to care about lessons because they’re the next concept in the book. That’s not motivation.
These teens and preteens are being neutered by society, telling them they have no value, but they are obviously creative and frustrated.
I was forced to read the “House On Mango Street,” and I was livid, like the second kid. I hated it, I didn’t get it, and it was developmentally inappropriate for me. I informed my teacher in a civil journal entry how I felt, and he didn’t respond. Thanks Teach…
I was lucky to have parents that modeled talking things out and proper self advocation, but the boy in the second video seems to believe that narcissism and comedy are better routes to fixing his education.
Actually, I sincerely doubt if he has even thought about fixing his education, now who’s fault is that? Everyone.
Not sure what your point in sharing such mean and distasteful videos on your blog might be-you could’ve easily made your point without sharing the videos. I don’t get offended easily, but the two videos that I watched were more than disturbing. Wow.
I suspect that the point was just what you said in your final sentence: the videos were more than disturbing. Pictures do speak a thousand words, and you could read a hundred text entries about how kids don’t like school – but until you see them talking about it in their own words, you just won’t get it. You won’t *really* get it.
You know I will counter with — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKm3oFCPKJ0
Plus, look to the right for more.
I think we need to be aware of the negative but we need to emphasize the positive.
Thanks for sharing some positive ones, Jennifer. I figured someone would since I didn’t. I wonder which is more prevalent. Perhaps the negative, if simply because people who are frustrated/angry are more motivated to act than those who are content?
Also, when I did searches in YouTube using terms like ‘I love my teacher’ I saw a bunch that were disturbing in a different way (very sexual, if you know what I mean)…
Hate speech is not free speech, and I’m sorry to hear you (Scott) echo voices that use such degrading language, there’s no point to that.
I’m sorry that the children who made these videos feel that this is an appropriate use of technology. So if you find yourself on the other side of the aisle from the mainstream asking “Why do we have so many filters on our school computers?” Scott just gave us 13 examples.
I think everyone has had a bad teacher that they hate. There are teachers that are bullies, teachers that don’t care about their students, and teachers that are mean. But I think that learning how to deal with it is part of growing up.
I’m just glad that when I was 12 nobody (including myself) archived the stupid things I said and did.
David, I’m not echoing anything. Just because I posted their videos without comment doesn’t imply my personal endorsement. See my comment below.
I agree with you that learning how to deal with people we don’t like is part of growing up. I also think, as many other commenters have noted, that does not excuse us as educators from providing learning environments that work for students.
I, too, am glad nobody archived the stupid things I did in my youth (and I’ll extend that up to about age 35!). At least now when I say or do something stupid on my blog I understand the permanence of the record, the potential reach and viralability of that conduct, and the fact that not only am I archiving that but so are others…
>>WARNING: Language often is not safe for work or young children.
I find it EXTREMELY interesting that you think this language is not appropriate for children to hear….
Yet you tacitly approve it for children to speak.
Think on that.
>>>Is this something that educators should care about or just ignore?
We should definitely care about the ones that are threatening violence.
As for the ones that say hate their stupid/ugly/dyke teachers….no.
We should not care.
I have students express their comments in class to me, politely, and I politely respond all the time. THOSE are the ones I listen to. “Miss, can we do more fun stuff in class? Miss, I think you’re going too fast. Miss, I don’t get the notes when I have to copy them – can I just listen and copy later?” I respond and adjust to all of these.
(Just like IN REAL LIFE, I get better service from the customer service rep I’m polite-yet-direct to. I get a better relationship with a parent I’m polite-but-direct to, or a husband I’m polite-but-direct to, and faster food from the waitress I’m polite-but-direct to. And politicians who care listen to the “Hey, I think you’re making a horrible decision because ____________”, not “You suck you f***ing Communist! Die pig die!” Where are ya real-life 21st-century skills now?)
QUESTION: If a teacher listens and adjusts to their students, but no edtech “specialist” is around to hear it, did it still happen?
The world may never know.
I didn’t mean to imply that I personally thought the language wasn’t appropriate for children to hear. I was just trying to be cognizant of the fact that other folks sometimes like a warning when something may not be appropriate for the context in which they might view it. That’s why people share things on the Web with indicators like [NSFW]. That’s all that I was trying to do here…
Like many others, I take students’ voices pretty seriously. Glad to hear you do too (and that you adjust as best you can to the tempestuous emotions that they often possess). As others have noted in this comment thread (and as I know from my own 8th-grade teaching experience), adolescents in particular can hate you one minute and love you the next. The challenge is the potentially-greater impact that those expressions can have when they’re put on the public Web. That’s where it gets both interesting and challenging, I think. Thus the post.
Thanks for chiming in.
“Do you know what your students are saying at home about your school? Is this something that educators should care about or just ignore?”
I do know what they say about me and other teachers, well…at least in school. I ask…and the answers are ugly…well, not the ones about me 😉 No we shouldn’t ignore it, for each kid that makes a video like the ones above, there are many more keeping their feelings suppressed.
While I don’t exactly have a “response” video for your post. I do have a couple examples of just simply listening to kids.
I think we all need to just sit and listen to our kids first, “teach” them second. What’s that saying…”While we were busy teaching teaching our kids about life, they were teaching us what life is all about.”
This next video does include many positive things that have been said about a certain teacher (me). It doesn’t counter all of the above videos, but there are positive things being said about teachers, they just don’t all show up on youtube videos. I don’t offer it up as a pat on the back to me, but to all the other teachers out there not represented on youtube…I can’t be the only one…right?
Skip to 6:26 in this video for some positive comments 😉
I am thoroughly disturbed and repulsed. I watched the first four videos. The fourth was well-done and not filled with violence, hatred, and sickening threats. I decided to stop there so as not to ruin my weekend and the great week of teaching I just experienced.
I wonder what would happen to a teacher who drew pictures of his or her students, stabbed them with knives, and then lit them on fire? Hm. Probably wouldn’t fit under the First Amendment. Just a guess.
As adult employees of the school system, teachers typically are held to higher standards than students.
Russ Goerend prompted some interesting thoughts: When does this arise to the level of teacher bullying? Given the power differential between minor students and adult educators, can there even be such a thing as student-to-educator bullying?
wow. i’m conflicted over why you put this many videos up with so little commentary, but in answer to your questions: yes, we know what our students say about our school, and no, it isn’t something to be ignored.
i live in a semi-rural area in new zealand, and my local public boys school (where i teach) competes with three local co-eds, plus two private boys schools for our student body. this year, we have more students on our waiting list than another school has actually enrolled for year 9 next year (nb: our school year runs jan – dec). we care very much what our students think and say about us, and make a concerted effort to see that it is positive. part of this is the relationships teachers build with the students – something encouraged by our school’s culture, and part is the role the school plays in our wider community.
of course, there are still students who don’t like this or that teacher, just as there always has been. when i was a student, i typically liked the teacher no one else did; they were the ones that demanded high quality student output, and i enjoyed the challenge. so disliked teachers aren’t always the dull, boring ones!
recently, my dd ran into one of my students who told her he was happy i was out for the rest of the year because he didn’t like me. why doesn’t he like me? could be any reason, but i’m guessing it’s probably because between his chronic truancy and failing grades i kept him after school, rang him and his mum up at home on several occasions, and demanded additional work (after he failed to turn in required work) to ensure he gained at least literacy credits if not level 1 credits this year. i can live with him not liking me! of course, he’s never actually threatened to beat me up and destroy the evidence, possibly because in our communications together i have reiterated time and again that the reason i “pick on [him]” is because i care very much about his future, and that his actions now help determine what that future will be. he is important to me not just as a student, but as an individual.
teaching is not a popularity content. students need to learn that in life you will never like everyone (and everyone won’t like you!) and how to cope with those feelings in a positive manner. i have a feeling a lot of these kids have a lot of unsupervised time on their hands, and because they are alone a lot, they have not been taught, either explicitly or by example, how to handle conflict or disagreement. this is a wider social issue, and with that, i think i’ve taken up enough space here.
And why was he a chronic truant/failure?
It’s usually not just because ‘he’s lazy’, but it’s usually a symptom of underlying issues. That need help, not punishment. I know that staying behind might help him finish his work off, but in the state of mind he’s in at the time, it really wouldn’t make him like school would it. It’d just show him yet again that school sucks.
Struggling to find the point here, Scott. “Bad teachers are bad.” Is that it?
Vain, narcissistic trophy children … is it any wonder I have contempt for them?
Their parents deserve to be strung up for failing at their jobs.
1. Ignore all of the ones that complain. They have the right to babble, off-campus. Mention the video to the teacher and suggest he/she watch and decide if there is any merit to the complaint and to ignore it or change, as he/she feels appropriate.
2. Take seriously all the ones that threaten, slander or libel. Sorry, kid. You took it public. There are always ramifications for public speech that threatens, slanders, or libels. Under current interpretations of law, statements such as “Ugh, class … with the dyke … ‘That’s the point, you suffer.’ ‘Fucking dyke.'” constitute harassment.
3. Take seriously all those “hidden camera, gotcha” videos. Something is wrong but remember that students can drive a teacher to it. Don’t just react and fire a good teacher for a bad day with evil children. Notify and warn, but do nothing because you don’t have context. (Unless you have context.)
4. If school equipment was used, then someone needs to have a serious talk with the teacher responsible for it. That classroom in #2, for example.
…. Were they allowed into someone else’s room?
…. Did they film that for an assignment?
…. Did the teacher know that the school resources were being used to attack another teacher?
…. Why did he approve the script?
…. Why did he think it was okay to let students do this?
5. If you’ve got violence about to happen … Well, you’d better do something quick, don’t you think?
I’m like Matt, I don’t know why you saw a need to send these along their way on the Internet. Perhaps if the teacher of the child saw the video and could do something, but otherwise, no use. I certainly don’t plan to share this with anyone.
I think a few things are being overlooked due to the nature of these videos. Let’s be clear. None of those students are threatening to harm their teacher. Some clearly understand they need alternate routes to express their anger. It is obvious that they are speaking out against their teachers because their needs are not being met. Their teachers do not create an environment where they feel significant or belong. Knowing what we do about human needs& compound that with adolescent development. You have a breeding ground for contempt.
It’s also obvious that these students possess an intelligence that (it appears) they are prohibited from applying in school. Did you hear some of the language (not cursing) that was being used? Did you see the way they were able to compile their clips?
Let’s remember that just because we don’t agree or approve, or may find it offensive does not diminish their voice. We can’t continue to censor kids. This is the result.
If we’re getting hung up on the rough language in these videos, are offended by the raw content, or are focused on denigrating the kids (and their parents), then we’ve missed the point of these videos entirely.
Why isn’t anyone asking WHY these kids hate their teachers so much? Why doesn’t anyone question the classroom dynamics that led to the fury behind these videos? Is it just easier and more comfortable for us to blame the kids and their parents so we don’t have to look at ourselves, our relationships with kids and what we demand of students every day?
Why is it OK to show contempt toward students, but when they show contempt in return, we freak and attack the messenger?
Are we too afraid of the answers to look beyond student surface behavior and try to discover the root cause of so much hate?
None of these kids started kindergarten hating their teachers, but by the time they hit middle school, something happened. What was it? Rather than becoming so defensive, perhaps we should be asking WHY these kids hate us so much.
Eric: as a teacher who works with the most extreme behavioral cases you could imagine, I can say it’s either neurological or environmental causes.
Too many kids are being raised by parents who have absolutely no clue about how to do the job properly for different reasons.
My initial reaction to the videos was based on my detachment from the subjects. I don’t know them, so I can afford to be more knee-jerk in my reaction.
If I had to work with them, certainly some therapy would be necessary to find the root causes of their anger.
75% of the time it’s issues resulting from the home environment.
Yes, and what, does that mean that the teacher shouldn’t try and improve their situation by their own behaviour, rather than putting them in therapy?
there’s no real point just blaming the parents and home life for this. Their home life is bad, and they’ve come into your class with different attitudes than you were brought up with, and they already hate school and teachers. So. What are you going to do about it? How can you make them connect with their learning? Therapy is important but changing your own attitudes could really help the situation too.
And it’s a fallacy that poor parents don’t care about their kids, just because they don’t parent in the same middle class way we were. (sure, some don’t care but many do, just in a different way).
Some of these are pretty juvenile and possibly scary, but I’ll have to say that the most horrifying thing I saw was an English teacher who had no mastery over his own language. Get that guy the heck out of there; he’s got no business teaching English!
I don’t ask why so many of my middle school students hate their parents – they’re kids. This is not new. It will never end. It is not a major cause for concern.
Eric and others, why do we need to explore and examine why they hate their teachers? We could have the safest room, the clearest and fairest expectations and there will still be those at odds with us and our rules for many reasons.
It is good to have a read on our students – require that each student give their teacher an anonymous report card at the end of every quarter. They’ll share what they think and we as professionals can decide how to react and adjust.
If the teachers are bad, get rid of them (how to do this is not so clear). If they are unmotivated or out of touch, them we as colleagues need to motivate them to improve (a path to improvement is also not clear in many cases for many reasons).
If kids are just venting, let it go and spend your time focused on better lessons for the benefit of all students.
Why do they hate their teachers? Because even the best teachers are telling them what they have to do. Freedom is a need for human beings. I wouldn’t blame the teachers. I’d blame the system.
Calling the teacher a dyke is hate speech, and if someone knows the people involved, I think the child should learn that it’s not ok.
Disclaimer: I did not watch the videos.
Most teachers have a choice about how much freedom they allow their students, and how many choices they allow them to make. Powerlessness is a horrible feeling.
More interesting to me would be a follow up with these students the next day. How many of them still hated their teacher.
For example, even before the entire video of the hand drawn girl was over, she was already over her teacher hatred. She didn’t really have teacher hatred, either. She was just upset with perceived hypocrisy.
Those of us who teach the teen (or barely pre-) age group knows that nothing can set a student of more than something they perceive as hypocrisy. Accommodations due to 504s and IEPs are perceived as such. Administrative commands to deal with particular cases in particular ways are perceived as such. Honest human mistakes (such as the computer teacher forgetting to allow the student to put her music in the computer) are perceived as such.
But just as quickly as these frustrations boil up, they are gone.
I’ve had students upset at me for the perceived hypocrisy of catching them texting “this time but not any of the other times”, who have suffered no punishment other than a request to put their cell phone away so as to better concentrate on what they are doing, who have said worse to me in class on their way out of the door, but then the next day they come in and all is water under the bridge.
I long ago learned to quickly evaluate the student’s message and if it is just a case of, “This upsets me and I lack the skills to properly express it,” I just let it go with nary a thought. I was that way once, too, and I have my diary to prove it.
I, like others, am having trouble seeing the point of posting such videos, unless the point is that they exist. That point could have possible been made with one, or maybe two clips.
As for rants on Youtube, that’s hardly anything new. 5,140 results for “I hate my job” (plus 5,160 for “boss”), 5,060 for “I hate my parents” (plus 5,260 for “mom” and 5,080 for “dad”), 38,700 for “I hate my friends”, a whopping 562,000 for “I hate my life” and at the bottom is 4,640 for “I hate my teacher”.
Should we be warning parents, bosses and friends, too?
Came here via Dan’s website. This is the first and last time I’ll visit your site. What a waste of my time. Almost as bad as these kids using the internet as their avenue to express their frustrations is you having the opportunity to do the same.
Alex: that’s the best blog response I’ve read in a while! It’s a shame you won’t be back to read my compliment.
@ Matt Montagne @ David @ Mark Hauck @ Dan Meyer @Alex (and others):
Below is the comment I left over at Dan Meyer’s site. I reiterate that there’s nothing in my post above that says I endorse or echo the comments and/or feelings that these children have about their teachers. All I did was post some videos without any reflection of my own. Some of you – for some reason – took that to mean that I personally hate teachers. Not sure why, ’cause I don’t.
My comment at Dan Meyer’s site:
WAIT A MINUTE.
Why do the videos I posted on my site somehow mean that I personally am contemptuous of teachers? I said no such thing in my post. All I did was say that students generally have the right to express themselves off-campus, gave some examples of students criticizing their teachers via online video, and asked the following questions:
1) Do you know what your students are saying at home about your school?
2) Is this something that educators should care about or just ignore?
Nowhere in what I said did I express ‘low regard for teachers.’ Nowhere in my post is there anything from me that slams classroom teachers. Why is this any different from the other videos I posted in March 2008 of students capturing their angry teachers in the classroom with their cell phones?
Look, I’m interested in things like the following:
1. How students who generally have little to no power in schools take back some power at home or in other settings
2. How students express themselves, both positively and negatively, with the new technological affordances that they now have at their disposal
3. Legal and ethical implications of off-campus and/or technogy-mediated student and educator speech
4. Parent and educator supervision issues related to uses of technology by youth
And so on…
I also like to sometimes throw out things for discussion before I weigh in. So a post like this – where I post something but let the conversation develop without my initial input – is not uncommon.
Dan, I’ve been a strong supporter of you in a number of different contexts. I also know that I push pretty hard for schools to change their practice, but I try hard not to single out teachers versus other groups (e.g., administrators, policymakers, parents). I’m not sure where the anger at me is coming from – hey, if I say something stupid, by all means call me on it – but I don’t feel it’s warranted for this post.
Even if Scott had intended to express contempt for teachers, then that would be OK, as long as he explained why.
Personally, the gladhanding and butt munching that goes on with many blogs is to me rather phony.
Scott, I think that you left the context out of this post with the videos. As a viewer of this blog entry, I am left to create a reason why someone, as thoughtful as you are in your other posts, would leave out any explanation about your reasons for sharing these videos.
Therefore, since you did not preface this entry with here are a few videos that I found on YouTube about blah, blah, topic. You also don’t balance the post with, “here are other videos on the other end of the spectrum.” Therefore, you lead your readers to believe [intentional or not, as you have explained above] that you support what these kids are saying about teachers and by extention that you have contempt for teachers.
I feel that it would be helpful, to maintain your credibility as a blogger, to have prefaced this post with some kind of contextual frame or lens to view this entry with.
Perhaps some videos about kids liking their teachers who operate in the kind of school reform you advocate for, might hit your overarching point home more.
Here are two great posts that extend this conversation in other directions:
You note above:
“All I did was post some videos without any reflection of my own.”
I subscribe to your blog b/c I value your reflections/opinions/etc. I want your context, your opinion.
Professionally, I’d say that would mean I have a great deal of respect for you, your voice. Maybe others feel this way?
Additionally, you noted in a reply above that educators are held to a higher standard. Posting without reflection just doesn’t seem to gel with the fact that you are an educator.
However, I appreciate that you’ve taken time to explain and clarify.
I think some of the negative feedback Scott is getting is ridiculous. He brought out a discussion topic, conveyed the scope of the situation, and was attacked because he didn’t condemn students and therefore secretly hates teachers?
There are hard questions here, and Scott invited people to ask them and discuss them. It was others who assumed malicious intent on Scott’s part, wrote their own questions and straw-man answers, and tried to shove them in Scott’s mouth.
No one here thinks or is saying these videos are representative of students as a whole, and no one thinks that these videos mean that most/some/any teachers are making some kind of crazy faux pas. All of us, including Scott, are much deeper into education than that, so let’s try to have a discussion where we don’t assume the worst in our peers.
The chick in #4 actually has something to say, and she says it quite well.
I kind of felt like this was a big game of “Which one is not like the others.”
On the whole I see the videos as an audio/visual version of sites like ratemyteachers.com.
Should we (educators) care about what appears on those sites or in these videos? To some degree I think we should. It’s personal raw feedback from students so we should take notice. On the other hand we need to consider the student’s motivation for his/her comments. Did the student just come home from an overall bad day at school? Did the student have some underlying issue that was unintentionally exacerbated by the teacher?
The question about knowing what our students are saying about us at home is one that I think about almost everyday. That question guides me in making sure that I am compassionate when compassion is needed and a provider of discipline when it is needed. It guides me in striving to make sure that students don’t perceive favoritism in my classroom. I consider the question because I don’t want my students to be one of the students in the videos above. In the interest of full disclosure, I know that I’m not always successful in that endeavor, but I’m trying my best to always be successful in that quest.
As a preservice teacher- I totally don’t blame them. It’s really sad. I hope I won’t provoke videos like that but I’m sure I’ll screw up sometime, and for that, I’ll feel bad, and try to fix it for next time. However so many teachers just don’t seem to care. The amount of abuse I saw, and the lack of caring I saw while on placement was huge. And what sucks is that the good teachers are often surrounded by mediocre or horrible teachers, and have no support system on how to improve themselves. It’s why I created my forum.
I can’t feel any annoyance towards these kids.
Hating a teacher or two is just a right of passage. But the real problem is obvious – boredom. If these kids have enough gumption to make a video and have fun doing it, then the teachers in their lives should have something lined up to keep them interested.
“something lined up” Mary? How about compelling them to develop an engaging personality that doesn’t bore kids?
I appreciate all the time and effort that it takes to post to a blog. I have a hard enough time READING and VIEWING let alone CREATING…!
I will admit that the “I Hate My Teacher” videos were a little troublesome. The first one made me think about the child, the issues that he must have at school, the anger he has towards his teacher, and how is the school going to help him cope with his anger in an appropriate manner. What is the family like? What is the classroom like? Who are the students in my school feeling the same way?
I appreciate the links Scott shares. I think Scott helps us all to see that students in these videos are the same types of students in our school, and we need to reach each and every one of them.
Each child deserves a competent, caring teacher AND administrator. What can we do to make sure that happens? Scott could tell us what he thinks, but we are the ones that need to implement those changes in our specific situations.
I went to a DuFour conference in Minneapolis last August. One quote that was mentioned at that conference that really resonated with me is the comment, “We are the ones that we have been waiting for.”
These videos and articles challenge US to make the right decisions for our students. We can do it.