I have previously written about the increasing monitoring and discipline of teachers for conduct in their private lives. A new case this week highlights this trend. A Mexican elementary teacher has been fired after she was seen on a video twerking in a dance contest in Cabo San Lucas. The 24-year-old identified only as “Miss Clarissa” on the film won the top prize of $260 but then lost her job. The teacher won the contest to the beat of Daddy Yankee’s “Rompe.”
The teacher was on vacation during Easter and enjoying herself in her private time. However, when she returned, she was called to a meeting with the school’s administration and lawyer who pushed her to resign from the Instituto Cumbre Del Noroeste in Ciudad Obrejon.
I have previously written about concerns that public employees are increasingly being disciplined for actions in their private lives or views or associations outside of work. We have previously seen teachers (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here) students (here, here and here) and other public employees (here and here and here) fired for their private speech or conduct, including school employees fired for posing in magazines (here), appearing on television shows in bikinis (here), or having a prior career in the adult entertainment industry (here).
Frankly, I tend to be a bit of prude about such things and find twerking rather off-putting. However, many do not and this teacher was on vacation. The message seems to be that a teacher cannot engage in any conduct viewed by parents or administrators as suggestive or inappropriate in her private time. What if this was a case of an artistic or expressive dance in a studio? Would that be allowed? The fact is that much more conduct is observable on social media today. However, that has given rise to a type of fishbowl existence for teachers. One teacher was even disciplined for a picture drinking wine in Europe while on vacation. The obvious (and preferable) alternative is to explain to students that teachers are entitled to enjoy their private lives as they deem fit — according to their own values and interests.
What do you think?