Kindergarten teacher criticized for drinking and swearing in restaurant with students nearby

Is it wrong for a teacher to drink and swear outside of school?

A kindergarten teacher was criticized for drinking and using swear words at a restaurant. The woman had been celebrating her birthday and was on a night out with friends when two of her students had walked in and greeted her. She’d greeted them back and then continued to enjoy her night. Shortly after, the mother of one of the students had come up to her table and asked her to stop drinking and using foul language. Furthermore, she explained that she was setting a bad example for the children she teaches as they could hear her swear and see her drink. Surprised, the woman replied that she is not working and that she should be allowed to enjoy her night just like everybody else. After her experience, the teacher decided to share what had happened on the Am I The A**hole (AITA) subReddit forum to ask people what they thought.

The Redditor u/PhysicalLoss7706 asked ‘AITA for cussing and getting drunk in front of my kindergarten students?’:

Last weekend was my (27f) birthday. I went to a restaurant with a couple friends for outdoor dining. While we were there, two moms come in with their children and are seated behind me. I recognize them as students in my in-person class. They say hi to me, and I say hi back, but then don’t interact further. Through dinner, I’m just enjoying my time with my friends. I have a few glasses of wine and get a little tipsy (not rowdy or obnoxious or anything). I’m conversing normally with my friends, occasionally using cuss words like “f*ck” or “sh*t” or “damn.” Not excessively, just the way some people would in every day conversation. Maybe a little more than I would have if I were not tipsy, but again, I’m not speaking loudly or anything. Just having normal conversations with my friends. One of the moms then comes over to me and reminds me that my students were there, and that I shouldn’t be drinking and cursing in front of them. Since I’m their teacher, it was my job to set a good example to them. I just told her I was off the clock and that if it was bothering her, she could move or stop listening to me. She got all huffy, and they soon left.

The students’ parents took this further as they complained to the school.

After their encounter at the restaurant, the mother and teacher were forced to meet again. The woman explains that she had been called to the principal’s office where she found the mom from the restaurant. Immediately, she understood that she had complained to the school. Explaining her side of the story, the teacher found that she received understanding from the principal although he did suggest that she should have stopped drinking just in case.

Earlier this week, I was called down by the principal who was with that mom in his office. She was angry and complained that I was setting a bad example for my students. And now her daughter was using some of the same words I was using, saying that if her teacher can say it, so can she. He asked for my side of the story, and I just explained exactly what happened. Given that she verified my story, he told her that I was not their teacher at the time, and since I wasn’t doing anything wrong, they coudln’t control my behavior off the clock. She protested a bit, but eventually left, but called me a terrible teacher. I thanked the principal for backing me up, but then he suggested maybe that one time I should have just stopped drinking and using foul language.

She was left confused, wondering if she actually did do something wrong. 

After the principal had suggested that she should have stopped drinking and using foul language, she wondered whether or not what she did was wrong. The teacher explains that she does not think she was at fault; however, she decided to ask fellow Redditors for their opinions.

I really didn’t think this was a problem, since wasn’t acting out. Just talking casually and enjoying a couple glasses of wine. But am I really the a**hole for drinking and using foul language in front of my students while off the clock?

On the AITA subReddit, people can judge whether the original poster (OP) is at fault. 

Redditors can pass their judgment by voting one of the following:

  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • ESH: Everyone Sucks here
  • NAH: No A-holes here
  • INFO: Not Enough Info

Most Redditors agreed that in this case, the teacher was not at fault. 

It was voted that the teacher was NTA and that she had every right to live her life as she sees fit when she is not at school. One Redditor (@ACBaker99) wrote “NTA, it’s honestly my biggest pet peeve that people don’t think teachers have a life outside of school. You are allowed to have a life, this mom needs to back the heck off.”  In addition to this, a teacher commented saying that although she sees both sides of the story, she does not agree with the parents:

Eh, but I can say as a teacher, one of the things they warn you in college and at orientation for a job is that you do represent the school […] Its absolutely shitty and I hate it, but society sucks. But in general, this is a golden rule of thumb teachers have… don’t get tipsy or drunk or curse in front of your students… in or outside of school. Because they’ll always remember it and thats your reputation for a longtime. Unfortunately, this mom will most definitely tell other moms in the area about this encounter and it won’t be a great look.

Again, I’m not saying I agree with it, its just the reality of it.

– symphony789

What would you vote?

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