Teachers being bullies?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Polka_dotz21, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. Polka_dotz21

    Polka_dotz21 New Member

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    Has any teacher heard another teacher being a bully but that teacher calls it "tough love"? For example, she says things to her students like "What's wrong with your brains? You guys are so behind the standards." Or punishing the kids for her lack of teaching ability? If you heard another teacher say this and the principle didn't believe you, how would you handle this?
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I heard a teacher say far worse, and I documented it, but nothing was done about it.

    Ultimately, the person chose to leave the position, so it resolved itself.

    In your situation, with what you've said, I'd not report that. It's certainly not nice, but I'm not sure much would be done to stop it.
     
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  4. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    It didn't really resolve itself, you know, unless the person left teaching entirely. It just moved on.

    (Not criticizing you--obviously there's nothing you can do after that--just noting that for teaching as a profession, that person would still be a problem)
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Any more details on what you mean about this?

    I've met some teachers who say in my opinion some VERY off the wall things, that taken out of context might cause them to lose their jobs. I would never say some of the things I've heard this teacher say because I am so careful about anything being taken the wrong way. But it is VERY clear that this teacher cares about students and her methods are reaching them, and they LOVE her for her frankness.

    I wouldn't call it bullying (though I'm sure some would). I would call it good natured ribbing. I would just be careful that you aren't judging someone without too much information or without knowing the teacher and her students well. That could be just the way she teaches and students might be fine with it. If they're not, and a student has come to you saying "Mrs. So-and-So said this and it didn't make me feel great..." then you need to take that to the teacher and tell her that her words are having this effect on students. Not the principal. Give her a chance to make the changes she needs to without all of a sudden jumping to the top.
     
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  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I think there's frank and then there's tactless and then there's bullying. I also believe some people just look to be offended.
     
  7. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Yes, I agree. It's a tough spot to be in - I did let admin know, so that was really all I could do (it wasn't abuse, legally at least). However, these problem people surely cycle from employer to employer.
     
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  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I'd never in a million years think those statements were bullying. Or worthy of reporting to the principal.

    And unless you had something more damaging to say about her teaching methods, I'm not sure you can state with certainty that she is a poor teacher.
     
  9. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    I really couldn't agree more with otterpop!!! These people that come across " I say what's on my mind and don't hold much back no matter what anyone thinks" are the ones I know that have this egotistical non filter personality have been in like 7-8 jobs across the district in the last 10 years or so. These kind of people may seem interesting and somewhat amusing at times but they are can also be quite rude and tend to cause the atmosphere to be quarrelsome when this type of person is around. That only makes the job for everyone harder. You don't like having to confront these types of people, even though I have had to before (got administration involved as well). I won't let these know it all people act like that around me. They tend to think any kind of stability is boring or weak and try to start drama.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  10. TeacherCuriousExplore

    TeacherCuriousExplore Cohort

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    The last place I resigned from my TA would bully the children terribly. She would cut kids snacks in half if they would not finish their lunches, forced kids to eat things on their plates that they disliked. It went to the point where many of the children were literally afraid to eat lunch around her. She would make the children eat vegetables first and if they did not like their vegetables she would force them to eat them anyway. I told her that was abuse and she calmed down from forcing children to eat and deprived those that wouldn't eat from food. She would then call the heavier kids "wide" or "big", spanked a young autistic girl on the hand with a block, and then she would just downright belittle the kids. I told her it was wrong. However, I did not go to the director about it because she would tell the TA I said it and that would have made an uncomfortable work place. The place is unprofessional.

    In your case, I really would talk with the teacher about her language around the kids. She isn't saying anything horribly harsh, but it shouldn't be told to children. Their learning abilities should be discussed when they aren't around. The way that she speaks will definitely withdraw them from learning.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
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  11. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    Dec 14, 2016

    I had several of my teachers as a child who were bullies. My 2nd grade teacher yelled frequently and I remember her berating a girl who didn't have her field trip money (family had the money, but her mom had forgotten and had to bring it to the school later). She yelled something along the lines of, "What's the matter with your family? Are your parents that poor and lazy that you can't have $3?" - clearly bullying territory. My 8th grade gym teacher swore at us in three languages, a Spanish teacher threw a dictionary at me (considerably worse when you know I'm partially blind), and the marching band director threw a chair at a kid. All of those behaviors are incredibly inappropriate, not just insensitive or overly blunt.

    If you're sure that the behavior is well into bullying territory, start documenting what you're hearing. Write down what she's said to what kid(s). If your principal won't do anything about it now and it does escalate, you'll be glad you did. You can hope that parents will complain, but there's not much else you can do without souring your work relationships.
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    You reminded me of this thread about we teachers who have HAD bad teachers. It makes me wonder what would have happened if someone had intervened back then.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't think that it counts as bullying for a teacher to tell students that they are behind on the standards. It is a teacher's job to tell students how they are doing, and sometimes that means telling them that they aren't up to snuff. I'm sure that there are more tactful ways of saying that, but saying it in and of itself isn't bullying or even mean.
     
  14. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    That is true, but it was the first thing that I found more concerning: "What's wrong with your brains?" Again, I don't think it's something the person would be formally disciplined for, but this is not a professional thing to say.
     
  15. Strick18

    Strick18 Rookie

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    Dec 14, 2016

    I agree that this was not professional, but I wouldn't consider it bullying. The teacher might have been frustrated and accidentally said something that seemed a bit out of character.
     
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  16. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Dec 15, 2016

    My brother had a bully teacher when he was in elementary school. She told the kids if they didn't have a pencil to write with then they could write with blood :dizzy: She didn't deny saying that when asked either.
     
  17. 2ndTimeAround

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    If my child came home and told me that his teacher said that, I'd chuckle a bit and then ask why he didn't have the supplies he should have had. I wouldn't even question the teacher to see if it was true.

    Was your brother harmed by that statement? Did it make him give up on school forever and now he's out on the streets begging for food? I sure hope there is more to this story because I cannot see why it is worth an eyeroll.

    Maybe because I've said the same to my students. Just last week I had yet another student inform me that he didn't have a pencil. And??? Is this a problem I am supposed to fix for you? Are you asking me if you can borrow one of mine or just expecting me to swoop in and take care of you? I told him I didn't care what he used for his quiz just as long as I could read it. Then I said he could even use blood as long as it was his own and not a neighbor's. And smears of poop was off-limits.

    It got a smile from him, a chuckle from others and the point across. He walked over to the supply bin and found a crayon to use. Should I expect a call from his mother? In ten years will he whine about the bully teacher he had that told him to write with his own blood?
     
  18. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    No, it didn't happen to him. It was his friend, the kid who lived down the street from us. That's why we heard about it. I know for a fact my brother always had pencils because he took them from ME LOL
     
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  19. miss-m

    miss-m Groupie

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    Dec 15, 2016

    Replying to this because as much as I hate to admit it, I've caught myself being dangerously close to a bully teacher a few times this semester -- not out of any intention of bullying or being mean, but out of frustration and stress and being completely overwhelmed. There's one student now with whom I'm reaping what I sowed - I've pushed him one too many times and he's shutting down on me. I think there are other factors as well, but now I'm actively catching myself and making myself point out what he's doing WELL because I don't want to do any more damage.

    Obviously I can't speak for every teacher, and I'm definitely not trying to justify any bullying behavior, but sometimes it's not about bullying so much as having too much to do/think about and kids who push your buttons at the wrong time. :(
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree with you. That's definitely not a thing I would say, and it would bug me if someone said it to one of my own kids. In my post above I was only addressing the other part of the comment.

    I've had students and parents come at me because I denied a request, assigned a low grade, or told a student that their work wasn't up to par. I do my best to always be professional at a minimum; usually I think that I am very kind and compassionate and that I come across that way. Anyway, saying those things is well within the parameters of my job, but it really can rub some people the wrong way. You can say, "Right now you have an F because you haven't turned in 6 assignments" but some people will hear, "You're a terrible student and I hate you and you're failing at my class and at life." It's upsetting and frustrating to be accused of being a bully when all you did was kindly and professionally tell a student where he is at and how he can improve.
     
  21. Polka_dotz21

    Polka_dotz21 New Member

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    Well that's not all she says. She has called a girl a lesbian for dressing like a boy and called another one black even though she is Mexican. Parents have complained that they have to get tutoring for Math because she is not teaching their kids right. I'm sorry but when all of your students need to get extra tutoring and the kids beg to be taught there is something wrong.
     
  22. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Those things do add to the story and are concerning.

    I find it odd though, that all of her kids are begging to be taught. That is one awesome place to work if all of the students care that much about their own learning!
     
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  23. Strick18

    Strick18 Rookie

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    In all the grades and kids I taught, I never had "kids beg" to be taught. Many of them could care less and throw fits if I give them homework in more than 3 subjects.

    Also, did she specifically call the girl "black" or did she say "African American". Maybe she got confused or in a stupid moment accidentally said the wrong words.

    I have another question. If you are in your class teaching, then how is it that you are able to hear her calling student's names and making inappropriate comments.
     
  24. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    As an aside, how is "African American" better than saying "black?" Is "black" taboo? I've never had a black student say he/she preferred being called "African American." In fact, I've had many, one of which is French, have major issues with "African American."
     
  25. Strick18

    Strick18 Rookie

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    It's not explicitly offensive to use the term "black" -- it's on par with the term "white". But referring to children by their race is not the most polite way of referring to someone.

    For example, most people don't normally say "the white guy with the striped shirt" either; they say "the guy with the striped shirt". If you need to be more descriptive you can say "the guy with the striped shirt", "the blue eyed guy with red hair in the striped shirt in that corner", or something else. We just avoid using either "white" or "black" (or "brown" or whatever other similar terms there are).

    Our superintendent is African American and his idea was that black Americans should be able to identify themselves with a land base, putting them on the same level of cultural identity as Polish-Americans, Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, and so on.
     
  26. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I work as a teacher, and I'm not really sure what I would consider "bullying" still goes on in the schools from the teachers' side. It did when I was a kid, and that's probably one of the reasons I became a teacher in the first place, but I seldom see it these days. I think the tables have turned; teachers can't get away with a lot of the things they could have gotten away with when I was a kid. In fact, it's sort of gotten to the point that the teachers can't even defend themselves against their unruly students. Ever heard of cyber baiting? It's a real problem in the schools, where students make their teachers mad and then record their angry reactions for social media. Teachers, on the other hand, aren't allowed to record their students, and it's really difficult to prove these instances of misbehavior.
     
  27. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Telling students that they're behind grade-level, mistaking their race (if it was done by accident), or needing to get tutoring is not bullying, while some of it may be concerning. But the bolded statement is inappropriate for a teacher to say.

    I don't mean to offend, but I would like to clarify, are you a teacher at this school or a student?
     
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  28. Sarahkjt09

    Sarahkjt09 Rookie

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    I would hear teachers on my team during team meeting say horrible things...retard, etc. Some would say the F word constantly. They came off as very crass. There are a lot of unprofessional people in education, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
  29. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  30. McGonagall

    McGonagall Rookie

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    As a child, I had two teachers that I would really and truly consider bullies. Both of those teachers have shaped who I am as a teacher.

    The first was my fifth grade teacher who - to be honest - was not all that bad as a person, but had some teaching strategies that were on the brink of humiliating. After passing back tests, she would call out a letter grade and have those students stand. And yes... she would go all the way down to an E. It was humiliating for anyone who got a bad grade. Her theory was that it would encourage those students to do better. As a poor math student, I was often left standing at the end for my peers to look at. I got all As in other subjects, but nobody remembered those who stood for the As. Let me tell you that it not only completely discouraged my innate aptitude for math success, but it also encouraged my severe anxiety driven by a need for perfection.

    The second teacher was far worse - a true disgusting individual, who frequently called out students for their flaws. He was actually the band teacher, and he was, in every sense of the word, a bully. Instead of calling students by instrument to play, he would shout out something like: "only ugly kids play!", and if nobody played, he would point out the kids that "should". There was a girl in our class who had a disorder that resulted in her pulling out her hair... and she was picked on mercilessly not by her classmates, but by this grown man. He would call out kids on weight or appearance, and, no, he was never fired for it.

    I have very little tolerance for adult bullies, particularly when the victim is a child. If something is seen, I don't care if it is a coworker - say something. I wish someone had said something to the administration about either of my bully teachers, because maybe something would have changed.
     

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