I’M NOT A PAEDOPHILE.

I have a confession to make that may actually surprise a few people…I’m…not…a paedophile. Phew, kinda nice to get that one off my chest! It’s been eating away at me for ages!

Relief GIF

You see I’ve been having to contend with a constantly crying child in my class this week, which deeply upsets me (of course), as I want it to be all laughs and smiles! A hunky dory paradise, filled with colouring sheets, and candies! Which it is with the other three students, as per usual! However with the child in question….well, different story –  she just sits and cries at every juncture – and if she isn’t doing that, then she’s standing with her arms crossed, pulling a “I’m over this” face, and basically not taking part in whatever activity we are doing. For a teacher this is a massive headache. In fact it is more than that, I would call it a cluster thunderclap migraine. It makes life very hard. And it’s not like I can just drink some water, and pop a couple of pills – it’ll take a lot more than that.

If it was your fully grownish friend, you would just say something along the lines of “snap out of it ya’ miserable bastard, how about you join in with us, and try and have a laugh? Life isn’t really all that bleak for you – try to focus on the positives.” But yeah, can’t say that to a six year old for some reason. Instead you just have to try, and be sympathetic, and continue to show that they are welcome any time…should they ever decide to grace the class with their attention. Urgh. 

But unexpectedly this saga has taken a strange turn, into even stranger territory.

Bilbo GIF

I had one of the teaching assistants come into class, and ask the kindergarten students (in Korean) if I am scary…the crying one nodded, and the other three also eagerly screamed yes with huge grins across their faces (we had just been playing monsters, so I don’t think they were taking the interrogation so seriously!) I got a disdainful look from the lady as she left the classroom. Instantly I felt like a criminal.  I was later notified that the child’s Mother was waiting downstairs, and that I had to go to talk with her immediately.

Uh-oh. 

We chatted for a little while – of course you can’t be totally honest in these situations, if only! I wish I could have said that her daughter only “cries” when another teacher is around, probably for some female attention (as she may miss her Mother), and that I don’t think she is truly as mortified with life in my class as she may be making out…she does smile, and play sometimes when she thinks I’m not looking, and I often hear her humming tunes to herself. Does an unhappy person do that? Oh, Frank – your Father just died…oh God, noooooo….hummmm, hummm, la-la-la, hummmm…

Doesn’t ring true, right? 

Instead I said that she is doing well in her work, and that I am sure in time she will become more comfortable. However I was sure to explain that I have literally never had a situation like this, most kids seem to like me, a lot. Actually while I was trying to have this conversation a number of my former students  spotted me, and ran up to fill me in with their latest drama…John, my tooth came out! John, I got a new coat, like it? John, want some of this candy? I was hoping that the parent would take note of these warm friendly interactions, and realise I am not some horrific child-catcher type, but instead just a nice normal person. Who on an unrelated note, just happens to be a male. No big deal…

Nerrr. Didn’t happen. What did happen was her telling me that I am scary to children, a threat – and that she would like it if I “keep my distance, and keep hands off”…well there we go, cheers – I replied that I would do whatever necessary to make her happy, as it keeps me awake at night worrying – I just want her to smile is all. That was it, and she left.

I'm FIne GIF

Unfortunately this isn’t the first time I’ve ran into a situation like this, and it probably won’t be the last. I remember in one class I had a seven year old student who adored my lessons, so much so she would run home, and tell everything to her Mother…who felt it was all too much, and pulled her out, demanding a female teacher instead. Allegedly the final straw was when her daughter had said she would like to marry me when she was older – SHOCK HORROR, OH MY GODDDD! Come on now,  really?! She’s a kid – that’s normal. But no, another knee jerk reaction engineered out of misplaced fear.

I think all of this stems from our over-sexualisation of…well, everything.  I can’t just be a kind-hearted young man, who loves kids because I’m one of five children myself…no, I must be something else – something much darker. I can’t just want to make my students, smile, and hopefully learn something…instead I must have a sinful prerogative. I mean, come on?! I apologise for the rant, but this shit is pissing me off. This world is fucked up in lots of ways, but that doesn’t mean you should paint me with the same brush as the child rapist…why does it have to be fucking weird that I work with kids, and enjoy doing so?

I need to calm down. Apologies. I’ll leave you with this video below…which is actually quite topical, and links in nicely. People are up in arms about it (it features an interpretive dance by Shia LaBeouf, and a younger girl), but again this is part of the same problem – people going for the extreme jugular – instantly leaping to sexualise everything, rather than allowing some innocence to remain in this world.

*By the way here I see something almost parental – an inner struggle, possibly in one mind…the child can escape, and live in dreams, but the adult is locked into a cage, unable to live with the same freedom. I thought it was strangely beautiful. Other people find it “creepy”, well – I think it’s creepy that people instantly see a man, and a young girl – and instantly think PAEDOPHILE. That…yeah, that, is horribly creepy. 

www.facebook.com/storytimewithjohn

Advertisements

78 thoughts on “I’M NOT A PAEDOPHILE.

  1. Oh how awful for you. It is such a shame that you can’t get on and do your job as a teacher because of your gender and the added disadvantage that you are YOUNG as well. My nephew is currently teaching in Prague (he is 22 and loves kids)and it defies belief that someone could think the same of him. He is a lovely,caring young man as I am sure you are. Anyway, just wanted to let you know we don’t all think like that, and also keep up the good work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Edwina, that’s very comforting – I appreciate it. I certainly just hope he has the time of his life, and doesn’t run into anything like this, as it is no fun at all. I think in Prague he should be okay, naturally it has a lot to do with cultural background, for better or for worse.

      Thanks again, really 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • From what I know of you so far, you put such a lot of effort into your teaching, making it fun as well as educational that it is insulting that some people have to always thinks the worst. Life is cruel sometimes.

        Like

      • I was in shock, actually! She said something like “I hear you are a good teacher” so someone must have tried to talk her out of it. I just hope her daughter settles in, and calms down a little. It’s terrible that you have to prove you’re not some creepy weirdo teacher, though.

        But yes, haha – life is cruel, I have to vent sometimes 🙂

        Like

  2. Hey, sorry to hear people are being their judgemental, paranoid selves. Don’t take it to personally, everyone hits the roadblock of humanity at some point in their lives. Just keep being awesome with kids and leave them to their war-mongering. If most kids adore you, you’re doing something right 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you so much, what a warming message! 🙂 I was dreading going back in on Monday, actually I still am – but that really does help! It is what it is, I suppose! I’ll just have to do everything I can, and hope the situation improves 🙂

      Hey, again – thank you so much.

      Like

  3. I definitely agree with you, and I just posted about the video on my Facebook as well. It’s such a shame that something so beautiful can be redefined or framed by others as something dirty.

    Like

  4. LOL, oh dear, how awful! I’m sorry you have to deal with such things. It really is a shame that we have been led to see malevolent intent everywhere. People then project that onto their kids and they wind up carrying around all these irrational fears they don’t even understand.

    We had a couple of guys who were kindergarten teachers when the kids were small and they were delightful. To this day we remember them. One was a bit sarcastic and he was perfect for my youngest kid. She walked into his class and informed me he didn’t look scary at all and he told her he really was quite scary. I’ll never forget the look on his face when she told him that was okay, she could be scary, too. Poor guy, sheer panic, and wondering what he was getting himself into. It worked out well however, they were the best of friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s an unfortunate reality. Sadly you have to be careful with what you do. A friend of mine wasn’t very careful and his career with children was completely destroyed. I know him and I know he would never do anything to hurt a child, but he never thought that someone would think that he did and take action against him. The poor guy.
    I don’t understand completely what you have to deal with everyday because I don’t have to deal with it, but I know that it is unfair to you and any male teacher that loves what he does and wouldn’t dream of using a child’s innocence against them.
    I hope that girl does settle down and starts to enjoy your class. I wonder if her reaction to you and your class has to do with something that happened or is going on at home. Just a thought. Or it could be that she’s just homesick and doesn’t have a lot of time to spend with her mother.
    I wish all the best for your classroom. Some people just really stink!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought the same thing Julia, for all I know her Father may be a wretched human being and this has made her wary, and tearful around guys…I mean, yeah…a stretch sure but not impossible. It’s a shame, whatever is up – but I can only try! Wish me luck for tomorrow (I’m scared! haha!) thank you!

      Like

  6. It’s interesting that this is the parent’s first reaction. My son, while in kindergarten, was a troubled child. I NEVER blamed the teacher. Parents these days have such an entitled outlook on life, and they’re passing it on to their child. If little Susie or Billy are “difficult” at home, what makes you think they’ll be any better in a different environment?
    I don’t know the statistics over there, but the overwhelming amount of inappropriate teacher/student contact in America (where other adults are completely clueless) is staggering. Take heart in knowing that it’s usually the ones who are never suspected…I hope the little urchin does snap out of it, and mommy chills out.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, it does seem to have turned around – whenever I was doing badly in school, or if there was a situation – it would be on ME the student, not placed on to the teacher. It’s strange how things have turned around in that way. Especially in Korea…but we don’t need to get into all that! 😀

      Thank you for your insight as a mother, it is very much appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Some women seem to be very suspicious of the sexual motivations of men. It could be due to a few abusive men in the news who give the rest of us a bad reputation, or due to some bad experiences they’ve had with men, themselves. I can see how difficult this can make things for you sometimes, when you have to somehow try to assure them that your motivations are pure. Be careful. I don’t know where Korea currently is, in the pedophile-phobia-witch hunt cycle, but about 30 years ago, in the USA, the practice of law enforcement was to plant lurid stories in the minds of small children, then put innocent men behind bars for many years, who were wrongly convicted of child molestation.

    Like

  8. I agree everything is sexualised and everything our children see is sexualised. This is a huge problem as far as I’m concerned. I’ve written about it often.
    It’s difficult as a parent today to not worry about our children in the care of others because of what we see in the media.
    And you’re right that, teachers and child care providers all need to be so much more aware now when touching or talking to a child, just ‘in case’ it is misconstrued.
    Worrying and scary times indeed for all parties involved 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is just a shame. We can’t control what other people think, their twisted perceptions– and that applies to life in general, not just this topic– for instance homophobia & racism. The innocent (you) bear the social punishment of those actually guilty of this thing.
    ‘Guilty until proven innocent’-(the American courts tenet turned upside down)–but how does one ‘prove their innocence’.to the poisoned minds..
    .It’s an ugly situation, with those kids now probably pushed to a different perception of you. It;s just ugly, and sad. We ‘out here’ are thinking good thoughts for you

    Like

  10. Oh, John. That is so unfair. My favorite thing about you is your love of children. Try not to let it get to you -oh, who am I kidding? I would be indignant! As a mother, I also understand her concern. Is there any way that she could come and sit in the class? Perhaps the child needs to see that her mother also considers it a safe place – she’s probably throwing off some negative vibes at drop off and her kid is picking up that energy. I sat in my son’s preschool class once a week for a month and I feel it made a huge difference for both of our comfort levels. He never cried more than a minute! My daughter, on the other hand, did not receive this special treatment, and she cried for over a month!!! I wish I had been given the opportunity to do the same with her, but different schools, different rules. Anyway, best of luck. You dont deserve that lady’s ire, but a mother is like a lioness when it comes to her cubs. She’ll attack at any threat. Hopefully, you can find a way to allay her fears.

    Like

  11. Parents don’t always know who is to blame. If something happens and it is out of the ordinary they just well want to know what’s going on which may bring undeserved focus towards you. They think it is either the teacher but if it’s them they won’t easily do self-critique. So, I know you are mad but try to forget about it. Keep calm and don’t let it bother too much 🙂

    Like

  12. By the way why did she say suddenly “keep distance and hands off” O_O that also felt strange? Why is she telling you that? Didn’t you ask her why is she saying that to you? It felt kinda weird 😦 and kinda accusatory. I don’ know why she said that :/

    Like

  13. Haha, and I know her name…lol! Well, John this is the perfect example that we can’t make everybody happy. Whether they adore you or they are scared; either way someone gets unhappy. Like in real life. So what? Just never forget the three smiling faces in your class.

    Like

  14. Oh one more thing. I admire every teacher in this world – may it be kindergarten or school. I can’t imagine myself in such a job. So you are great in your joy for caring for children.

    Like

  15. This is sad for you. It helps me understand why so many men stay away from the elementary years when they go into teaching?? Not sure about that. I, for one, chose secondary ed for myself. I like the interaction of the “smart ass” years, I guess. Hang in there.
    p.s. Your use of gif’s is exceptional…enjoy your blog. Also…fully agree on the Sia video, it is art, people, get over it ! Van

    Like

  16. A lot of this kind of behavior is rooted in the sexist belief that being a teacher–particularly to young kids–is a “woman’s job” and that women are “the nurturers” (the people who deal with children) while men are the “aggressors” (they have to go out and earn a good living). So when you see a young man like yourself who willingly works with young children, it goes against this subconscious conditioning and they automatically think there must be something “off” about you, because why would a man want to work with young children? They probably couldn’t even tell you WHY they feel this way, if they were asked outright, that’s how deeply ingrained that line of thinking is.

    Sorry to get all sociology major on you, but situations like this are part of the reason why I study what I do.

    I’m also terribly sorry you have to deal with such things! Especially being someone who loves children so much, being accused of something so horrible must be particularly awful.

    Like

    • Aidan I had to stop myself from saying so, but that was exactly what I was basically getting at!!!! It is so infuriating! In fact I had some “old friends” (yeah, right) get in touch with me out of the blue, which I was pleased with…until they started asking “what was up with all the pictures with kids” and implying the very worst. How horrific. Well, I could go on all day about this – I better stop or I won’t get to sleep, haha!

      Like

  17. My dad hums when he’s upset. Always after he’s let of a string of expletives that he wants to cover up. To protect me and my sister from nasty words. (It’s exactly hiw we learnt to swear as we knew that the words he’d just used were naughty.) He still does it now. To protect me and my sister. I’m 39 and she’s 38.

    Like

  18. Btw, you’re absolutely right about the way the world distrorts everything to make it sexual. You can teach and be a man and not be a paedo. Le Boeuf can dance with a girl and not be a paedo. The assumption is only going to get broken with people like you showing how wrong it is. Keep up the good work. Xx

    Like

  19. Man thats really awful 😦 teaching is a great thing and its sad to have it tainted by such views. As a female teacher I’ve even had a tough time once when a 7 year old bought me a bouquet of flowers and another time when another 7 year old ran up and kissed me on the cheek unexpectedly. And I know all about the kids that throw fits for attention when really you know theyre getting on fine. Out of my 16 students 3 are that way and their parents swear its on me.
    Just gotta keep your chin up I suppose. I liked the vid as well – quite interesting and thought provoking.

    Like

    • Yeah, I mean – I’ve had it where little girls have kissed me on the cheek, and I am all “urghhhh noooo!” Taking it as fun, and trying not to make a huge, DON’T EVER KISS MEN situation of it. You know, to avoid like scarring them for life, potentially. But knowing that the Mothers watching will probably be horrified. That’s a whole can of worms, it’s a lot to get into!

      Hard with the parents, you just have to have faith in your own person, and your ability – which I am sure is out of this world Tessa – seems that way anyways 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Guess I should have mentioned that the flowers etc were from a boy whose mother didnt care cause she thought it was sweet, but other mothers in the class were all in a tizzy and got the headmaster involved. Not pretty. But good luck with your situation because youre right its so skewed against men, its ridiculous. But I’m sure those who would actually know your character could speak volumes on your behalf. Its hard when you love kids but still have to remind them to keep their distance. Sad part too is it teaches them to be less trusting at a young age.

        Like

  20. Lovely post, John. Sad that you go through those situations when clearly they do not warrant that reaction at all. I admire your love for children and wanting to work with them and help to guide them.

    I also watched this video as I saw it on another post.. I was quite drawn to it in other ways. I quite loved your interpretation. Mine leaned toward a more DID interpretation. i was considering using it in a post as well. Isn’t that the great thing about art? We each make it our own. Also, the sad thing to me that people still need so much more education about what pedophilia actually is. Great post, thank you.
    -CC

    Like

  21. Oh goodness, this is just terrible, and I really do think you have a point about this whole over sexualization beginning with crap like 7 year olds not being permitted to wear sun dresses because it might show too much shoulder!!! So sorry you have to deal with crap like this.

    Like

  22. My daughter so loved her teacher that she was going to marry him! She wanted to bake him cakes and she wrote stories about him. I thought it was a good relationship, and I was grateful to watch her blossom. Suspicion at every turn is going to create horrible, frosty relationships.

    Like

  23. Until reading this, I hadn’t once thought that people could think that you were a pedophile! It’s very sad really that people are so quick to jump to conclusions about others. This world is a fucked up place but there’s still good left….I think people find it easier to suspect everyone of malice, takes the guess work out maybe?
    But I tend to be a very optimistic, trusting person; it’s not too hard for me to try and find the good in most people. I feel sad for you now 😦
    Remember you have a lot of awesome followers who think you’re the coolest and who support you so much! Don’t let the meanies get to you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’m really sorry that happened to you. This world needs good teachers who care about children and their education. Sometimes I think people have way to much time on their hands if they can worry about whether or not a toy looks like a penis, Donald Duck is a pervert because he doesn’t wear pants, or that Tinky-Winky is gay. Seriously what rational adult sits and thinks about that?

    Like

  25. You seem like an extremely kind teacher who just wish your kids to be having a good time and wanting them to bring home a smile everyday after school. It’s a pity that parents actually think such awful stuff about you and I hope all goes well throughout this year… Good luck and stay strong!!

    Like

  26. I so get that! I was accused of some perversion or another for leaning over a young coworker’s shoulder, at their request, to look at a computer issue. The focal length of my glasses dictated a certain distance from the screen that wasn’t, in some minds, politically/sexually correct. Sad, John, but it seems to be the way of the world these days. On the other hand, your students will benefit from your teaching and that’s what makes us keep being the way we are.

    Like

    • How odd Clive! It’s the world we live in I suppose, but it’s not a comfortable thing to accept – after all it is very judgmental and discriminatory to just think the worst of every man, rather than hoping for the better.

      Like

  27. You are a ‘sweetie’ John! Now if you had a class full of crying kids perhaps you would need. to examine your classroom technique. It is true that seperation anxiety usually occurs because a child feels unsafe. Maybe something has thrown the child’s world off balance, changes to a new school can trigger it, along with over protective parents. Consistentsy and routine should help her feel more secure with predictability always help. Be big on the praise when she is happy to join in. There is also the idea of the child only staying for a part of the day until she feels more comfortable. Good luck!

    Like

  28. I think you’re completely right that the world oversexualizes everything nowadays. In my time, it was very normal to adore your teacher just like you can adore a celebrity (teachers are like local celebrities. Everyone knows them). But because there have been a few wrong people who have misused their authority, apparently everyone is considered a paedophile until proven innocent. It’s stupid really. What’s most important is that YOU know who you are, and you know that you’re a good person so the rest of the world can go screw themselves. I do hope, though, that the girl settles in quickly! Take care! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right? Well that was the way it was with me anyway, but I suppose times have changed (for the worse) and now I feel like total Grandad saying sentences like that, urgh, hahaha! You’re totally right though, and put it a lot more eloquently than I ever could. Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  29. 😦 😦 this is so sad!! i am sorry!! you put so much efforts and the society doesn’t understand 😦 but believe me you are kind, compassionate and t=one of the best person here 🙂 “Chin up” 😀

    Like

  30. John I can completely relate to your situation and feel sorry for you, I have this exact problem all the time. Just love working with kids and yes some of them happen to be girls, but then you have select parents that aren’t happy because their child enjoys a class and give you funny or sometimes downright disrespectful looks because you are a male and there must be something else to it than just wanting to help these kids. You aren’t the only one getting angry about it, I’m beyond pissed off with it. Luckily I haven’t had any conversations such as yours with that parent, I feel for you. I hope everything settles down and is alright for you.

    Like

    • Cheers Luke, for reaching out like this – it’s nice to know someone else feels deeply about the issue – other teachers I’ve spoken to me just shrug, as if they barely care, or even notice – which seems bizarre to me. You’re right in what you say, it’s often certain looks, and assumptions, which I feel are just thoroughly unhealthy! Pissed off is right!

      Liked by 1 person

  31. This sense of lunacy is present in a number of different cultures. Male in the presence of children=bad, but female in the presence of children=good. Interestingly, studies disagree with this fear mongering. I understand the stereotypes of why they have this negative image involving males, but it is rooted in fear mongering.

    Terribly sorry this is happening to you mate, because I did read someplace that families are uncomfortable with male educators, especially during the younger years of their children.

    Like

  32. How sad, John. You’re right, there is so much sexualism (is that a word?) in this world it’s hard to be yourself without people wanting to interpret into something awful and gory.
    Oh God I could fill a whole journal with the horror!

    But hang in there. It’s nice you’re taking this in strides really. I always feel this wave of shock when a guy is gentle with kids and sweet….because well, it’s something usually ascribed to the female gender. But it is sweet and nice you’re that way.

    Like

    • Sexualism? Hmm…if not then it should be – well done on coining a new phrase 😉

      Yeah, there is usually that reaction – Mothers are a little whoa…and then, I guess they hear their kids talking about me, or see me “in action” so to speak, and realise there is nothing to worry about. That’s okay, you know? But the sustained negativity based on gender, well yeah…I could fill a journal too!

      Like

  33. I know what you mean. I saw the video before reading your blog. I don’t see anything ‘dirty’ in it. If it were salacious, Shia would be making salacious faces. Anyway, one of my most memorable moments was teaching Speech and Personality Development for Children. Their final project was a video variety show featuring their many talents. I think you’ll be the teacher who stands out among the many teachers in their lives, making a difference. 🙂

    Like

  34. I feel bad for you. I am Asian and apparently your experience is no surprise for me. Gender gap is still a dominant traditional nature in most Asian countries. I hate to use the words “too inhibited” and “paranoid”, but these two words come together concerning any male and female interaction. It’s tough to get around in an oversuspicious environment,. Strangely, your experience rarely happens to foreign teachers in my country, unless a proof is shown that they are being creeps.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s