Monday, June 26, 2006

On Naked Teachers

No, not that way, perv.

In a conversation with my mother in Kansas City the other day, I found, much to my chagrin, that the Austin story of the naked teacher made national news.

In case you missed it, our local daily has had a great old time with this little bit of salaciousness. Seems that Tamara Hoover, an art teacher at Austin High School posed for some nude (topless) photographs for a friend with another friend, presumably her partner. Most were fairly obviously artistic, apparently some were sexier than others. The friend posted the pictures to his website, without the art teacher's knowledge. Somehow word gets out to her students, and this information gets back to the other art teacher, who hates Ms. Hoover. So, this other art teacher OPENS THE WEB PAGE IN FRONT OF HER CLASS, and of course the shit hits the fan.

The board announces that they intend to fire Ms. Hoover due to the school district's policies regarding employee behavior, which include a moral turpitude clause that prohibits "base, vile, or depraved acts that are intended to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the actor."

OK, as a person in the field of education (but no, I don't teach your children anymore, so just be grateful for that,) this decision affects me to some degree - so here's an opinion, damn it. Those uninterested may wish to peruse another blog to my right, or read this, for no apparent reason.)

First of all, I don't know any teachers that would be so dumb as to think that this would NOT be a problem for them. But...and I mean this in an absolutely non-disparaging way...she is an ART teacher. These are naked, "artistic" photographs; hello? It's not likely that she would see a problem with the exercise itself, no? But, the reality, as to what you can get away with as a public school employee, is that people will notice, and will care. I don't even put the bumper stickers on my car that I really want on there, much less reveal too much about my personal life.

So was she clueless, or hopelessly naive, or defiant? Interviews with her suggest something along the lines of the first two. But...really, to ask the board...is this offense THAT serious? I agree that she needs a stern talking-to, a note in the file, maybe even a probationary period. But fired? For some boob shots? In Austin, supposedly the liberal bastion of Texas? The Statesman said that she didn't have any other problems in her file, and she had even gotten some administrative commendations.

I just DO NOT see what is the big deal about this. And I SURE as hell don't get why Tamara Hoover gets fired, while this other woman, who discusses a fight with another teacher WITH HER HIGH SCHOOL CLASS and OPENED UP THE WEB PAGE IN FRONT OF THEM, does NOT get fired. Seriously, people! Who is the unprofessional one, here, at least in the school setting?

I may be biased, though. I guess I kind of resent the feeling that public school employees can have no life whatsoever. I feel strange if a student I've ever had before sees me in Central Market buying beer. But seriously; is it just me? Does anyone, with or without children in the public school system, really, really feel strongly that this woman represents a threat to our kids? And if so...then what if you really knew about my life, or other teachers' lives? Would you care if your child's teacher were gay? How about if they smoked pot at the odd party, or drank too much at surreal reeenactments of "Annie?" Hell, maybe they wife swap, or sleep around! (I've news for you; they do; or at least some of them do. AND THEY'RE STILL GOOD TEACHERS WHO POSE NO THREATS TO YOU OR YOUR CHILDREN.

So, my questions are:
1. Boobs = porn? Really?
2: Where exactly does my "moral turpitude" begin? Where yours ends?

I welcome thoughts...am I completely wrong?

5 comments:

Karla said...

i agree with you.

My thoughts are, if you take nekkid pics, you have to be aware of the fact that they might end up somewhere you don't want them to be. If you are ok with that, then fine. And they were just boob shots, not sex with animals, kids or cucumbers, for God's sake.

For that other teacher to be so vindictive, to me, that's the problem. That is severely unprofessional. Not to mention what it teaches her students about being nasty and crossing lines into personal spaces. People can be so nasty. I Think that teacher who showed the pictures should be severely reprimanded.

Badger said...

I'm witchew. As long as my kids' teachers aren't flashing their tits around during class, I don't care what they do with them in their free time.

In fact, I have found that my kids will tend to learn more from someone who has LIVED a little, you know? Not someone who just teaches from the lesson plan, goes home, pets her cat while watching Sex And The City reruns, then gets up and does it all over again. Er. Not that there's anything wrong with THAT, but you know what I mean.

Oh, and trash talking another teacher? During class? And involving the students? That shit deserves disciplinary action PRONTO. I don't even care that she looked at boobie pictures with her students -- it's the fact that she was so pissed at this other teacher that her students knew it, and that they offered a suggestion, and SHE TOOK IT.

But my kids are both kind of effed up so what do I know?

Bill said...

On naked teachers? I'm married to a teacher and I'm on her almost every night. Cool!

Mags said...

See, Bill, it's pervs like you that I'm talking to.

Married to a teacher? Ewwww!!!!

Chus said...

This is what I think: Tamara Hoover. There are some photos here: Tamara Hover's Photos.