The Naked Teacher Principle Strikes Again!

Once the class sees Teacher like this, it's over...

The Naked Teacher Principle holds, in essence, that once a teacher is seen by his or her students cavorting in the nude, school administrators and parents are not being unreasonable or unfair if they decide that the teacher can no longer teach effectively. From the classic example involving internet photos, to exceptions like the male teacher appearing in a community theater production of “The Full Monte”, to strange corollaries like “the Naked Butt-Painting Teacher with a Paper Bag Over His Head Variation,” naked teachers create headaches for their schools, giggles (at least) for their students, and anxiety for the teachers involved.

Now we have another variation.

A well-regarded St. Louis County high school science teacher, Tera Myers, saw her new career fall apart when her past as a porn star “Nikki Andersin” was discovered by a student who was surfing the Internet. It turns out, though she never revealed it to her St. Louis employers, that Myers had lost another job five years ago over the same issue when she was a teacher (using yet another alias) in Paducah, Kentucky.

It seems cruel that an apparently talented teacher like Myers is still haunted by a fifteen-year old career choice that she abandoned, but the Naked Teacher Principle is powerful. She may be respectable and trustworthy now, but the students in her class, or some of them, will never be able to see her as just a teacher and authority figure, not when they can see her as a sex symbol and porn star too. And parents of teenagers can’t be faulted for not wanting a porn star as a role model for their daughters, or a sex object as an instructor for their sons.

Tera Myers knew it. She also knew that she should have informed the school about her past when she sought the job, but didn’t, a breach of her duty of honesty and disclosure.

She resigned. It was the right thing to do.

And the Naked Teacher Principle claims another victim.

21 thoughts on “The Naked Teacher Principle Strikes Again!

  1. As someone who recently graduated from the St. Louis high school Mrs. Meyers taught at (though I never had her as a teacher myself), the response I’ve heard from students who still go there seems to be more along the lines of “Who cares?” and “Why doesn’t the administration ask how we feel about this?” I suppose this is a case where the culture regarding how we feel about someone’s past has changed a little quicker than those who are in authority had expected.

    It’s not a fully applicable example, but I had a history teacher who was known to be a borderline paleo-conservative and a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, which didn’t stop him from being relatively well respected by liberal/libertarian-leaning atheist students (well, at least the ones I knew, anyways). A better one would probably be that I’m fairly sure at least some of our teachers received tickets when they were young, but I don’t think it would interfere with class if a student found out. (Whether you personally consider a career as a porn star to be on-par with a driving violation or not is irrelevant; in this cynical age, most kids are pretty well aware that most people have at least one skeleton in the closet, and I think the only thing that would really bother students is if their teacher was a sex offender or a murderer; then again, Parkway North’s students seem to be fairly socially liberal compared with most of the country).

    • I do agree that it’s something she still probably should have revealed though, even if only because it causes a lot of trouble for the school district as a whole when people find out.

    • Well, I’d say high schoolers, especially guys, would SAY the same thing whether it was 1960 or 2011. I have a hard time believing that pormo star teachers wouldn’t find that background a serious impediment to keeping order in the class, once it was discovered. I know that a lot of parents would think it was.

      • Actually, a lot of the girls don’t seem to hold it against her either, even the ones who are openly opposed to pornography.

    • Since when does being conservative and a member of the Russian Orthodox church compare with nudity, and what’s wrong with having a sprinkling of conservatives and religious people in our schools? This is a great example of the problem with our schools… toe the liberal line or you’re suspect. By the way, do some research on the Russian Orthodox Church: it is so like the Roman Catholic church, only more liberal, that I am amazed that you would bring this up as an example. Poor thinking, kiddo.

      • Absolutely nothing wrong with it (hell, the dude was one of MY favorite teachers). Also, I did say it wasn’t a particularly good example, but all I meant was just that students are capable of respecting a teacher even if they don’t agree with some of their personal life choices or views.

        • Julian—the issue isn’t whether they like the conduct or not, but whether thinking a of a teacher as a porn star is conducive to a productive student-teacher relationship…and I think not.

          • I can see your point there, though I have a feeling it might depend to some degree on the individual school. I do feel (a little) sorry for the administration that has to make the call, for sure.

            • More importantly, I’m sure that for some people, thinking of their teacher as being gay or black or liberal or conservative or atheist or Evangelical or Marxist or an ex-banker would be an impediment to taking them seriously as a teacher. It’s a subjective call, and I’m not 100% convinced it was necessarily the right one.

              • You can’t get around the fact that a role-model’s beliefs and a role-model’s naughty bits are different in kind. And impact. I had a teacher in highschool that if I could have gone on line and seen her in the buff, I never would have been able to concentrate on anything else in her class. Ever.

                • Heh, I think one universal is that students will always be capable of objectifying attractive teachers, regardless of how much they do or don’t see.

  2. I agree with you, Jack. I work in a high school (private, all-girls) and I hear the kids say a lot of things and right then, at least, they believe them. But later, I notice that many times what they say doesn’t square with how they act. Well, of course, they’re young and still making up their minds about things, so naturally everything doesn’t fit nicely.
    So, yes, they might say that this woman made a mistake and it shouldn’t be held against her; but on another level I suspect they would be thinking “What is wrong with her? How could she do those things?” So that, the first time she issued a detention, the student involved would start thinking “Who is she to criticize my behavior? I didn’t hold her’s against her.”
    In addition, I can guarantee our parents wouldn’t like it. Some-to-many of them would almost certainly agree that the teacher’s past shouldn’t be held against her, and wish her well in her future endeavours—in some field other than education.
    Perhaps Ms. Meyers can put all of this behind her, go on to do many praiseworthy things and thus find that people really are willing to forgive and even forget her checkered past. And perhaps then some people would even be willing to see her in a classroom again. But that will take a goodly amount of time, and until that happy occasion, you have the true of it, Jack. For now, at least, she needs to be making whatever contributions she can, elsewhere.

  3. At the end of the day, as long as teachers do their job effectively, it’s none of the school’s administrations damned business what they do with the other parts of their lives.
    If I was the teacher, I would have taken the admin to court for blackmail.

    • People like to say this, but of course it makes no sense. One’s private life, especially if it isn’t really public, does matter to those you do business with. because human relationships are part of every business relationship, and what employees do and have done reflect on their employers. You can wish this wasn’t true, but is true, and will always be true. A bank VP who is a candi-gram stripper on weekends will lose his job—every time. And should. Because depositors won’t trust a bank who has a stripper as a VP. That, as they say, is that.

      • I don’t know, is it ethical to deny someone a second chance just because most people are judgmental and unforgiving? I guess the more general question I really want to ask is if the practice of ethics should depend on what the majority of people think, knowing as we do that the majority opinion isn’t necessarily the most intelligent or ethical one.

        And what would we do with all the people who have been released from prison and are looking for a fresh start at life? Having paid their dues are they not deserving of a second chance? I know there are many people who don’t think so but really, from an ethical standpoint, surely there must be a better answer than “bummer”.

        • As with convicts, some acts permanently destroy trust. Might they be worthy of trust? Maybe. Should anyone be expected to trust them? NO. Same with the porn star. She might be 100% perfect, but given the choice of a non-porn star competent teacher and a former porn star competent teacher, rational people will pick the no-porn star every time. It’s too bad, but the way to avoid the problem is clear: Don’t be a porn star.

      • You also seem to have forgotten about Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr. Clinton of course retained his job despite that whole salacious debacle and Bush also had a checkered past involving alcohol. And there’s a whole slew of politicians who have dipped themselves in scandal and yet some of them are now thinking of running for President.

        And we are here talking about whether a porn star deserves a chance at teaching at a high school. I don’t know but maybe people don’t have a really fair and logical way of judging these things.

        • How is this relevant? Alcoholism is an illness, not a moral failing. As for Clinton: I didn’t vote for him because he wasn’t trustworthy, and I was proven correct. In either case, “they got away with it” isn’t an argument.

          • It does apparently imply that the public can be more forgiving (in some cases, probably too forgiving) than we sometimes give it credit for, though. I do personally find it hard to take Clinton too seriously whenever he speaks on public issues, though I suppose the whole cheating on his wife and abusing his authority over his staff thing gets to me a lot more than simply being a former porn star.

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