Best Way to Deal with Rumors at School

All students love rumors, particularly “juicy” or possibly scandalous ones. As a teacher, you can be particularly vulnerable to rumors due to your position within the school. Rumors are like bushfires; once they begin they can be very hard to stop. All you can really hope for is to try and stop them spreading.

Not all rumors are nasty though; indeed some can even work to your advantage. I found that by starting a rumor myself that I had a brown belt in karate meant that I was given a new level of respect from unruly students!

Students also love gossiping about other students. The playground grapevine is full of intriguing tales of ‘what Emma Smith supposedly did with Tommy Johnson at the weekend”. Be alert for any potentially damaging or hurtful rumors, as these are a form of bullying and should be approached and dealt with promptly.

Rumors at School Best Way to Deal with Rumors at School

Notes, graffiti and ‘Chinese whispers” regarding particular students or staff should also be removed and the perpetrator admonished. Even if it feels like a bit of harmless gossip, always consider how you would feel if it were directed at you.

If a rumor or piece of gossip does start about you, take care to keep calm and don’t let it upset you. It is unlikely that the rumor is due to any personal dislike or real desire to hurt you. Sadly, some chil­dren can be very malicious and vindictive without considering the implications. If the rumors give you any real concerns – for example, the subject matter is potentially damning or could be construed as a real slur on your profession – always ensure you tell a colleague and ask for advice on how best to stamp it out.

Top tips

  •  Never give fuel to the fire and react to a rumor, even if it is to deny it.
  •  Tactically ignore direct questions or attempts to engage your attention.
  •  Never be tempted to comment on rumors about students or other members of staff.
  •  When dealing with rumors, don’t make any assumptions about who said what. What was said is not as important as how it will be dealt with.

Be aware: rumors may be spread verbally or through writing. In addition to notes and graffiti, electronic formats such as email and SMS text messages may be used to spread malicious gossip. It is impossible to monitor or censor all these formats, so try to exercise damage limi­tation rather than resorting to Big Brother-style monitoring tactics.

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