Verbally-abusive, authoritarian teacher

Discussion in 'General Education' started by jvanwagner, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. jvanwagner

    jvanwagner Rookie

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    Oct 27, 2012

    I was substitute teaching a couple of days ago for a "high needs" (which seemed more like "troubled kids who don't like school" from my experience, though I can't say for certain they had any learning disabilities or anything at all besides) class of about eight kids. Not knowing it was high-needs, I feel I handled the situation(s) pretty well, and most of the material (all but one thing, really) was covered and completed.

    During the final hour of the day, I was an aide in another teacher's math classroom, and it was one of the worst experiences I have ever had as a substitute teacher thus far.

    This teacher (an older woman, though I am uncertain as to how long she'd really been teaching, or teaching there) was borderline verbally-abusive to her students. She seldom addressed students individually (unless they were somehow "unruly", in which case she embarrassed them in front of everyone else by shouting at them for misbehaviour in the middle of a lesson), and seemed to be blaming the entire class for one or two kids who were slow to take out their notebooks and writing utencils, or who talked (at all) during her lesson. This caused her to both take a very long time to get through the lesson, and to lose nearly all of her students' interest. If one student said "I don't get it", she would sigh and shout directions back at the whole class, often including snippy remarks such as "just like I told you before", "the way you should have been doing it the whole time", and "why weren't you listening when I was talking?" Meanwhile, I helped students individually, and they seemed very receptive to me.

    I get that teachers have bad days. Off days. My off days, I'm usually a lot quieter and a bit less patient, for example. But I found this to be inexcusable, especially after hearing remarks like "I was having a pretty good day until you all started acting up".

    I could probably write a page with all of the nasty things she said to the class and how I felt she handled things poorly, but I won't. I think you can all get it.

    When I left for the day, it crossed my mind to say something at the office about what I had seen, but I didn't, for fear that I might not be called back to that school (where I have previously subbed and been requested back by students). I do feel like speaking up might be stepping on somebody's toes, but I feel like nobody will hold the teacher accountable if nothing is said.

    What should I do? Anything?
     
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  3. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Oct 27, 2012

    You describe her well, because I can see the type you are talking about. Unless any specific behavior was documentably inappropriate (e.g. cursing), I'd ignore it.
     
  4. DigitalDiva25

    DigitalDiva25 Companion

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    Oct 27, 2012

    did she say anything else besides those things like labeling or calling students stupid or slow? to me it doesn't sound that bad. But yeah I thought that's rude how students talk during a lecture
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 27, 2012

    I have a teacher like this. I have to sit in her class twice / day for 2 weeks as an additional teachers (subbing for sped.). If possible, I think she's worse than your teacher, she talks all the time 20 minutes straight, and gets off topic ALL the time. They never cover anything, except for reading 2 paragraphs, and discuss it, but even that is all over the place; the students really don't learn anything. Because they get bored, they misbehave, and get in trouble. Often she's confused who's doing what and punishes the wrong kid, for example 1 guy has received 3 warnings, and another received 1, and she'll kick out the second one. When she praises them it doesn't do much, because she'll either praise them as a group for something vague, or because most of the time she's talking down to them, her praise doesn't mean much to them. I have heard her calling them horrible, worthless, she pities them, even called them criminals once.
    Another thing I noticed she even gets annoyed when they actually try and shout out a wrong answer. No, they shouldn't shout out anything, but she actually gets upset that they gave her a completely wrong answer, and looks at them like they're stupid.

    We can't do anything. Complaining won't do anything, trust me! If the P is doing his job, he's aware, but in any case, this is not our battle to fight. Try to stay out of it, because you can't win in this situation.

    What I've tried: As a second teacher in the classroom, I always ask her what she would like me to do, and she always says nothing! So I sit there and try to help her with classroom management (just by taking notes on who does what makes the kids behave so much better), but also sit with students, and try to keep them out of trouble. I suggested team teaching, told her I could teach part of the lesson, the whole lesson, whatever makes it easier for her. She seemed like she'd want that, but it would seem that it requires additional planning (as in telling me what to cover) and she has no time.
    One time she complained to me how bad the kids are, can I believe it? I diplomatically suggested that this is why I always have them write, so instead of just talking, I have them take notes (I didn't say that I try to talk as little as possible, and instead, we read, I ask questions, they answer and write) she said :"oh no, talking is great! I think that's the best!" I rest my case.
    I just try not to get a headache in that class.
     

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