To Touch or Not to Touch

She was quite eccentric, and visibly older than most of the students attending our program. I’d had five years between first and second year, so I guess she was drawn to my maturity. We both wanted to be teachers.

After graduation, she went on to her Bachelor of Education, and I gave birth to my third child. The next time we encountered each other, I was the parent and she was the teacher. Eccentric as ever. The kids loved her.

Except for the one that didn’t. That one complained that she touched the kids too much – her hugs and hair stroking unwelcome. Her license was at stake.

“If I can’t touch my kids, then I can’t teach,” she told me in confidence.

I never knew what became of the investigation, but years later when I would follow in her footsteps and have my own classes, I thought of her. It’s in my nature to touch, too.


The focus this week has been on the subject of touch. Thank you to all the participants for touching me with your creativity. Virtual hugs all around.

MMA Storytime
I Write Her
Eugi’s Causerie II
Culture Shocks
Heart to Heart
Stuff and what if…

(The featured image is my last photo of July, unedited. I am sneaking it in here for Bushbay’s challenge of the same name.)

See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

23 thoughts on “To Touch or Not to Touch

  1. There are other ways to express warmness toward students as a teacher other than physically. I’ve learned from 28 years of teaching that it’s not worth the risk.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such an interesting and layered topic – I think that being touched can be so wrapped up in other “stuff.” I personally think it connects to early childhood and what happens or doesn’t happen. As an adult it is so hard to gauge someone’s comfort level and not wanting to offend. I do vividly remember dreading the end of second grade when the teacher hugged everyone individually as they left on the last day. The disconnect between a hug and the mean spirited way she conducted the class throughout the year felt so wrong to my 8 year old self. It wasn’t something I could even verbalize at the time. But I remember how it felt all these years later. I don’t remember hugs from other teachers, but I know there are many teachers whose hugs I would have welcomed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What an enlightening tale. Some touch is definitely unwanted. I even started a petition, in grade 8, against a teacher who was inappropriate. I can only remember hugging a couple of students, mostly because they initiated. Some students just needed a kind pat of reassurance, and I particularly remember one young girl who self-injured unless I held her hand (in a special education class).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A very thought-provoking reflection, particularly now. I can’t imagine how I would have reacted if any of my teachers had touched me when I was in school. It just wasn’t done, and I was a child who did not like to be touched.

    Liked by 2 people

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