Skip and the Troublesome Teddy…

1204070750_m_teacher6One of our favorite readers—Skip Rope—said something very interesting on our post about the Troublesome Teddy.  He said:

"In researching Muhammad, he tells his followers to be forgiving.  It was an oversight by the teacher that did not hurt anyone.  I imagine the teacher will be a bit more sensitive and aware of the customs in her new hometown."

We agree with Skip on this one.  We believe that this was an innocent teacher, and didn’t deserve to be sent out of the country for such a small thing as naming a teddy bear Mohammad.  She was simply stating to her students that she would let them name the teddy bear whatever they wanted.  The students were the ones who truly chose the name—and they should have known better considering they were probably born and raised in Sudan.  Their parents should have taught them better. 

But there is another side to the story. 

The teacher should have known better about the criticisms towards the sacred customs of the people of the Sudan.  Before making her decisions, she should have realized—or researched—if this was really appropriate.  Being a teacher, she should have learned about the laws against criticizing Mohammad. 

Do you think that teachers have a higher responsibility for knowing the culture of the country that they teach in than an ordinary tourist or visitor?  Is it shocking that a teacher made this "innocent mistake?"

Leave us a comment to share your thinking and join us again on the Blurb.


Drama Queen and Dance Star #1

Image retrieved from on December 14, 2007.


About Bill Ferriter

I'm a real-live, bona-fide, full-time practicing classroom teacher. #takeTHAT
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6 Responses to Skip and the Troublesome Teddy…

  1. The Joker says:

    I don’t agree with the 2nd part of the story, because the teacher was from england so she would most likley, and didn’t know about the religions there. so I agree with the 1st part part of the story.

  2. Spider Pig says:

    I think that if the teacher was going to teach there she needs to be aware and study more about the country.

  3. Skip Rope says:

    Hey Blurbers,
    That’s a pretty high honor and I will continue to try and provide constructive comments to your site.
    “Do you think that teachers have a higher responsibility for knowing the culture of the country that they teach in than an ordinary tourist or visitor?”
    My opinion: EVERYONE visiting or working in a foreign country should make the extra effort to know the basic customs and basic laws of that country. Our world is becoming much smaller; we will all be doing some sort of business globally and it will be important to the country and an individuals success to follow these rules.
    “Is it shocking that a teacher made this “innocent mistake?”
    My Opinion-
    Not shocking but suprising. It was an oversight on the teachers part and an oversight by the school administration not to provide her with a high level “do’s and dont’s” during her orientation.
    Students should learn from her mistake; understand a countries customs prior to travelling with your families.
    1. Do not touch or point at anything with your feet, they are considered dirty.
    2. Do not touch anyone’s head particularly the head of someone’s child. Children are held in very high regard in Taiwan.
    South Africa
    1. Do not present gifts with the left hand.
    2.Dress well in public, it will be expected by your South African host
    1. Do not use large hand movements. The Chinese do not speak with their hands. Your movements may be distracting to your host.
    2.Do not eat all of your meal. If you eat all of your meal, the Chinese will assume you did not receive enough food and are still hungry
    3.The following gifts and/or colors are associated with death and should not be given:
    Clocks,Straw sandals,A stork or crane,Handkerchiefs,
    Anything white, blue or black
    1.Speaking or laughing loudly in public is considered rude, as Russians are generally reserved and somber.
    2.Do not show the soles of your shoes, as this is considered impolite. They are considered dirty, and should never come in contact with any type of seat (like on a subway or bus).
    3.Women should always cover their heads when entering into any Russian Orthodox Churches.
    1. Beckoning someone with the palm up and wagging one finger can be construed as in insult. Standing with your hands on your hips will be interpreted as an angry, aggressive posture.
    2.Do not thank your hosts at the end of a meal. “Thank you” is considered a form of payment and therefore insulting.
    3.Gifts are not opened in the presence of the giver. If you receive a wrapped gift, set it aside until the giver leaves.
    Have a nice weekend blurbers,
    Skip Rope

  4. doctor says:

    what kinds of guns does finland have?

  5. ninjakitty says:

    i think you did a job! you know i did the same is iteresting to hear it from a different point of veiw good work!![: {;

  6. railroad says:

    I think that was very cruel of the people who tortured her just for naming a “teddy bear” Muhammed!!! I think that is a little bit extreme. They might just warn her not to do that.

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