What was Christina Mellon, a high school humanities teacher, thinking when she danced around her classroom performing cheerleading moves in front of her students instead of teaching? Mellon added pompoms to spice up her well-choreographed and silly routine. Once school administrators found out how she spent class time, Mellon was placed on paid administrative leave. Some parents applauded the move.
In this day of cell phone cameras and YouTube, it wasn't surprising that the teacher was busted online. A student in the classroom captured the routine and posted Mellon's dance on YouTube. Now it is fodder for TV and talk radio.
Administrators have to question the judgment of a teacher who behaves this way in front of her students. It looks like clean fun — and I'm sure it was — but the bigger issue is the questionable behavior of adults (teachers) who are desperate to be liked or accepted by kids. It seems some have little problem with behaving foolishly for a few minutes of attention, a few laughs.
I'm all for connecting with students and getting them to trust adults, but students are not a teacher's peers. Students need to witness good judgment on the part of adults both inside and outside the classroom.
Take this more extreme example of poor judgment in academia: Melinda England, an elementary school teacher, posted revealing photos of herself wearing what appears to be lingerie on her MySpace page. According to "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy — who covered this story for us on Monday — England is still teaching her kiddies while school administrators investigate whether or not the pics of her in skivvies violate any laws.
One official said told Kennedy, "We don't have any information at this point that would indicate she's done anything inappropriate with respect to what she does during the school day or with her relationships with her students."
An elementary school teacher poses provocatively, posts it on Web for all to see and that's not "inappropriate"? Taking this a step further, could she engage in any behavior or any profession when she's not in school? If that's not a sign of poor judgment or inappropriate behavior, what is? What if she appeared naked?
The Web has given educators and parents a valuable tool: The ability to see who is teaching their kids and how much those teachers and administrators can be trusted to make good decisions.
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