Post # 1
So, I’m applying for a job working within a school library and trying to prep for an upcoming interview by figuring out answers to any questions the hiring team could possibly ask. I stumbled upon this one and am not quite sure how to answer it:
What would you do if a student began to flirt with you? How would you handle it?
So far my answer looks something like this:
I would remain professional and direct them to library resources. For example, if I received a complement from a student I would thank them and then ask if there was a particular book they were looking for. If the flirting is reoccuring I would bring it to the attention of my supervisor.
Is this an adequate answer? Am I overlooking anything?
Really hope if I get the job this will never, ever happen!
Post # 3
I’m not a teacher, so I know my answer isn’t exactly “politically correct” for the career… but honestly I think I’d laugh and report it to my supervisor and the student’s guidance counselor. Flirting isn’t really your supervisor’s problem, unless the student is harassing you. But the counselor might be seeing a bigger pattern and it’s sometimes just a good idea to have a written record somewhere.
Oh, if it was reoccuring, I’d also keep a written record of what was said by the student, when and where. I’d submit it to my supervisor with the initial report, sort of like a CYA precaution.
Other than that, I wouldn’t engage it at all.
I think you’ve got the right idea with your response.
Post # 4
I’m a teacher. I agree with Pp about adding in talking to the students counselor.
Post # 5
They might think that thanking them might encourage the student. I’m not a teacher, yet. Almost. But in the environments I did work in, I’ve never been asked that question. Also I’ve always worked with younger kids. I would tell them I’d ignore it and carry on with helping. If it kept progressing, I would tell the student that their behavior is inappropriate and unacceptable in your library and that was his warning. Last resort would be to report/seek help for the student. Usually administration would rather see staff resolve their own problems unless they cannot. This was told by my interviewer when I was applying to the teaching program.
Edit: Oh the counselor is a good idea. Didn’t think of that!
Post # 6
@CakeyP: Yikes, you’d do all this if a student said ONE flirty remark to you? Unless the student was coming on extremely strong and using totally inappropriate language, I would not make a big deal about it. I’d just be afraid that it would be on the student’s permanent record and it might get him into trouble when entering university or something. If it was a recurring thing I would talk to the student and use this as a life lesson teaching moment, and mention it’s inappropriate and that in lots of workplaces he could get in big trouble… and that if he continues, I’d have to report it. If it still occurred after that, I would definitely tell my supervisor and then maybe bring in the guidance counselor or whoever.
I guess I’m always a bit wary of doing anything that could lead to permanent consequences when you’re dealing with something that isn’t totally black and white. Some people are naturally more flirty than others, and interpretations of what constitutes flirting can vary wildy. I think in general flirting is pretty harmless.. but yeah, when it escaltes into something very sexual it can be uncomfortable and is not appropriate.
Post # 7
Lol, this makes me think about about the times I told my male teachers they looked nice.
Post # 8
@canarydiamond: Right, but like I said, I’m not a teacher. 🙂
I think I was sort of saying to try that in case of multiple flirting incidents, but I realize now that I didn’t really write it that way.
Even if you report it only once though, someone would have to be crazy to put that on their permanant record. Maybe put a sticky note in there, but not on the official record.
I guess I was also trying to emphasize going to someone else besides the supervisor… because if the situation blows out of control (i.e. student feels rejected and accuses teacher of doing the flirting) you want a paper trail with multiple people just in case.
Plus the counselor is qualified to speak with the kids about it, not the head librarian.
Sorry if I came off harsh! I work in a field where I have zero interaction with kids (construction). I just wanted to stimulate some conversation, since OP’s question had sat unanswered for so long. 🙂
Post # 9
@CakeyP: Makes sense!
Yeah, your response generated lots of replies haha, hopefully the OP will check back here.
Post # 10
High school teacher here….I’ve had more than a few students give me compliments about the way I look, and unless it’s a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable in which you know they mean what they’re saying in a seriously flirtatious way, I wouldn’t report it, but I would keep a record if it’s the same student repeatedly. I think if I had to answer that question, I’d say:
For any student who make remarks that were inappropriate, I would let them know that their comments were unacceptable toward a teacher or adult. I would record the incident, and depending on further contact, meeting with the student’s guidance counselor may be necessary as well as communication with the parent of the child.
I dislike this question, FWIW. There are many times a kid can say “Hey, Ms. ______ you look really pretty today” and I personally don’t consider that flirting-it’s a compliment, and I give my co-workers as well as students compliments too…people are always trying to peg teachers as creepers :-/ Maybe that school had a past issue with teacher/student relations.
Post # 11
@WhatMaeBee: I completely agree. I teach high school, and I look like I could be in high school still myself, so I have to be very careful about where to draw the line on “flirting”. I have students tell me that they like my outfit or that they think I look pretty. More times than not its a completely innocent statement. I have had an issue where a boy told me I looked sexy. In that case I pulled him aside and told him that I didn’t think he meant anything by it, but that his comment was completely inappropriate. I told him that if he continued to make such remarks that I’d report him to the counselors/admin because it made me uncomfortable. He apologized and he never made a remark like that again. I didn’t report it immediately because our district is pretty strict about sending kids to alternative school for any kind of perceived sexual harassment. I think it should be on a case by case basis. If you get really uncomfortable around a student based their remarks and they’re explicitly flirting, then I might report it immediately to a mentor teacher or a counselor.
Post # 12
Thanks everyone! I agree that this is a tough question to answer because most complementary remarks are said out of niceness not because there is any flirtation going on.
I’m definitely going to take the “thank you” part out as per your suggestions.
I highly doubt this is going to be asked as the interview is only 20 minutes long but want to be prepared just in case. Like some previous posters, I’ve worked with children for some years but mostly those in elementary school so I obviously haven’t been flirted with by students hence my difficulty in answering this question. 🙂