• Wed, Mar 5 - 6:00 pm ET

British Teacher Exhibits Collosally Bad Judgment By Taping Students’ Mouths Shut, Also Wastes Tape

51WfA+mQFKL._SY355___1394039599_142.196.167.223What do you do when you are overwhelmed with a class full of students who won’t stop giggling? This is not a hypothetical question, I’m really asking all the teachers out there. Because I am pretty sure every, single one of you will come up with a better solution than taping their mouths shut.

Priscila Davo Ortega was temporarily suspended from her job as Spanish and art teacher after she taped the mouths of 20-plus giggling students shut. She just lined up the 10 and 11-year-old students and taped their mouths shut. Hmm. Unless it was duct tape I would argue that this was a colossal waste of time. And tape.

It wasn’t duct tape, it was Sellotape – which I had to look up because I’ve never heard of it. It’s basically clear masking tape, about an inch wide. One student claimed that the tape cut her lip when she removed it.

I understand the anger of the parents of these children and I certainly don’t condone taping the mouths of children shut – but does anybody else feel a little sorry for this woman? I’m trying to think of the lengths one would need to be pushed to in order to actually think this was an effective idea. Obviously the kids are going to tell someone. Obviously an inch of tape is going to do nothing here but make a whole lot of people think you are coming undone.

I don’t mean to make light of a serious situation, but sometimes my heart goes out to people that have to get upwards of 20 kids listening. I can’t even get my one toddler to. This teacher was way out of line – but kids also need to be taught by their parents to listen in class and pay attention when the teacher tells them to.

(photo: Amazon)

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  • Kay_Sue

    You know what they say, Maria.

    Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver…

    • Crusty Socks
    • Kay_Sue

      Interesting side note: I actually have a cousin who collects colored duct tape. She organizes them in interesting rainbows, and her collection doubles for crafts and decoration…

    • Valerie

      I prefer my duct tape covered in Hello Kitty motif.

    • Kay_Sue

      I am a fan of the old stand-by, but I’m always tempted when I see the motif ones. In fact, just recently, I pulled down a bin of sidewalk chalk from the boys closet, only to have the bottom fall out, spilling sidewalk chalk, paint and all the assorted paraphernalia across their bedroom. After I was done swearing, I turned that beautiful, absolute adorable, totally blue bin into a silver monstrosity. It would have been nice to have a pretty blue polka dot variety that I saw at Wal Mart once…

      It’s holding up beautifully now though!

    • Valerie

      AC Moore has like a fricktillion different patterns. I love staring at the display every time I go. It makes my OCD sing. :-)

    • Megan Zander

      I feel this way about the yarn wall. I throw myself at it every time we go to the craft store, just to feeeel it all. My kids are going to love being seen in public with me.

    • Valerie

      I love scrapbook paper too. I mean, its lined up in color order. It makes me twicth with The Happy.

  • CMJ

    My mom was my AP English Teacher (whole other story) but once, when we were being particularly horrible, she just looked at all of us and basically say: “That’s it! I’m done teaching. Just read for the rest of class!”

    The shame and guilt we all felt was so immense most of us went to apologize and we felt horrible.

    Do kids do that anymore? Feel badly about their actions? I’m really curious.

    • Sri

      It depends on the age group, area, and course.

      Even as a sub, ap classes usually responded well to personal responsibility talks.

      In blue collar areas, in my experience, appealing to common sense and the real ramifications that both students and I could face works. “Why can’t I climb up the bookshelf?” “Because you could fall and hurt yourself, and then you might have to go to the hospital. If you break your arm, you aren’t allowed to play in gym or at recess. Also, if you get hurt while I’m in charge, I could get fired.” “Ok. I won’t.” Actual conversation with an actual 4th grader about 3 years ago. With each point, he calmed down a little from obstinately trying to push past me to actually apologizing for it.

      I routinely struggle with kids who are wealthy, capable, and spoiled. The “do you know who my father is?” kids who know they don’t really have to try to do ok. There is one group in my school that even the veteran teachers don’t know how to work with. They get the work done when they want to, but they do the bare minimum, disrupt class, and get their parents to complain if they get in trouble. They don’t have to take responsibility, so why should they feel bad for their actions?

      I’m the mean teacher. When I can’t get students calmed down, I just say, “guys, you are going to get the work done no matter what. If you don’t get it done in class, it’s going to have to be homework. If you keep pushing, I can make it a graded homework.” That usually does it. I also make students write apology notes to subs if I get a bad note, have them get them signed by a parent, and then give them to the sub. There are usually 5 or so notes the first time, 2 or 3 the next, and 1 or 2 kids that just really really like being jerks and have to write a note every time there’s a sub. But 1 is better than 5, right?

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Sometimes they do. I’ve done that very thing. And it’s pretty effective (I teach 11-12 year olds like this woman). I walked out once for like 2 min. because I needed to calm down and not cry in front of them and when I returned they were a very different class. Also, every now and then when I’m upset I say, “Guys, there’s a moment about once a year that happens that makes me think I just don’t really want to be a teacher any more. I wonder if I could do an office job….” They always start apologizing and begging me not to give up on their class. (And please nobody accuse me of doing this on purpose to manipulate, because seriously, a couple of times a year, it gets rough).

      But yes, AP kids are different because that’s the serious students. They can be pains, but either they care about school, or their parents do.

    • logica

      I will always remember in my 10th grade Spanish class, I was in a very rowdy class, most of the other students were rude bullies who bullied both me (because I was the only nerdy kid in the class) and the teacher. One day when other students were especially rude the teacher ran out to the parking lot crying. The class then fell into complete chaos, waited a bit, and when it was clear that she wasn’t coming back, went to the main office and explained what happened. The vice principal ended up watching the class for the rest of the day and several students got suspended
      btw the students set a trip wire up across the front of the class and she fell, that was what sent her over the edge.

    • Sara

      In my experience it depends on the teacher. In my high school we have this one teacher that plays favorites and bullies everyone else. I know personally I try to be polite to all adults, but after you make me dread going to a class that was previously my favorite subject? All bets are off.
      My AP Lit teacher? The majority of her students would throw down with anyone who made her feel like quitting her job.
      I feel bad about my actions (as a student) and usually if I feel I’ve crossed a line I’ll apologize and try to make amends. Most of my friends are the same.

    • Kay_Sue

      This is a good point. I had an economics teacher in high school who was a sexist, ignorant pig. No way did I respect him and I did not feel bad about making him look like an idiot. He did not earn my respect, and although I believed (and still do) that authority figures like teachers demand a certain amount of respect just because of their position (and the work they put into getting there)…well, let’s say he used that up very, very quickly.

      On the flip side, I had an AP US History teacher that I still adore nearly (EEEK!) ten years later. Not only was she an effective teacher, but she was the type of person whose very presence commanded your attention and respect (although she was tiny! shorter than most of us even then). I always credit her with my success in both her class and several other AP courses, as well as my college career, because of the way she taught. It was the only class that I feel prepared me for college.

      Like most positions, it most definitely comes down to the individuals involved.

    • Sara

      Yes! Personally, most adults are given a certain amount of respect yes ma’am/sirs, not making them look stupid, and other things. How the person acts dictates whether I treat them with greater respect or whether I continually undermine their authority using passive aggressive (and sometimes down right aggressive) means.
      I will say there have been people where I have just immediately lost it on someone because they were so unbelievably disrespectful.
      Do you think kids have to be 100% respectful to adults that aren’t to them? (Like the kid isn’t blatantly disrespectful, just a little)

    • Kay_Sue

      Not necessarily. There’s a certain respect that’s due, regardless for positions of authority. But there is a point where I think that respect can be used up. You’re polite, you’re courteous…but the respect is gone.

      And then the obvious–we recently had a football coach in our area arrested for sleeping with students in his high school. Definitely not required to respect that.

    • Sara

      Ugh, we had the same deal with a softball coach a few years ago. It just feels icky when I hear about it. The teacher student thing is weird to me.

  • tk88

    When I was in the third grade one of the other third grade teachers did this to one of the students and was fired. It’s totally wrong to do this, but I remember thinking at the time the little jerk it happened to totally deserved it. He was awful.

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    Sometimes my students play with my tape and tape their OWN mouths shut. I tell them not to, because I’m sure somehow I’ll get blamed for it like it was my choice all along. But secretly, it makes me laugh. It just hurts me so very much when you do that, gosh!

  • cabecb

    Once I was at my desk and a student asked for some tape. I didn’t ask why and give it to him. I looked up and saw he had taped his own mouth shut. I just told him that he had to tell people he did that to himself. He seemed to like taping his mouth shut.

  • Aldonza

    *Lookingaround* I’ve definitely never wanted to do that to any of my students. Nope. Never. Ever. Especially when they like to chant “Teacher’s getting annoyed! Teacher’s getting annoyed! Hi-ho the derry-o, teacher’s getting annoyed!” Nope, wouldn’t want to stop that delightful chanting.

  • Sara

    One time my mom taped cotton balls to a student’s fingers because his tapping annoyed her, but she understood he was a fidgety kid so their solution left everyone happy.

  • Gabriella Felix

    When I was student teaching I quickly realized that trying to talk over them was just escalating the problem. So instead I started issuing instructions very quietly and calmly, kind of like a really quiet game of Simon says. It ended up being a really useful tool, but this was elementary school. Not sure how it would work with older students.

  • medimus

    In preschool and elementary school this was a completly normal punishment, were I was. This was in the mid-late nineties. It was usually just one or two people though, not a whole class. It seems an insane idea now though.