It's unthinkable, isn't it? You send you child to school hoping for a good education, a place for your child to grow and learn character building skills. Perhaps your child will even have another good role model for their life skills in their teachers. But what happens when teachers aren't good role models? What happens when your child's grades begin to slip and your child claims disrespect by the teacher is forcing he or she to have a negative attitude about school and learning?
It's happening parents so start keeping a diary of your child's remarks and conversations concerning the bully tactics being used by his/her teacher. According to the study done by Alan McEvoy, PhD; TEACHERS WHO BULLY STUDENTS: PATTERNS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS; http://www.stopbullyingnow.com/teachers%20who%20bully%20students%20McEvoy.pdf;
"the teacher who bullies usually receives no retribution or other negative consequences."
I know it's true. I've seen it with my own eyes. It started out as just subtle statements from one teacher to another but loud enough for my son to hear, "That Preston Wood is such a liar. You can't trust one word that comes from his mouth so watch out for him in your class." "Don't give that Preston Wood any room to roam in your class because he'll make trouble and then lie about it...." Then it became more obvious as my son was overlooked for placement into a class in which he was academically suited for. He was literally held back because of one teacher's obvious hatred for my son. Being held back caused boredom and a lack of motivation causing a "slacker" type behavior to become his normal demeanor.
"The process of targeting students and the consequences of being bullied by a
teacher may also be similar to peer-on-peer bullying. Victims may be chosen on the basis
of apparent vulnerability (e.g., someone who can't or won't fight back), or because the
target is seen as someone others will not defend (e.g., gay or lesbian), or because of some
devalued personal attribute. Once targeted, the victim is treated in a manner which sets
him or her apart from peers. There may be frequent references to how this student differs
from others who presumably are more capable or valued. As a consequence, the student
may also become a scapegoat among peers." (from the above study)
Other types of teacher bullies just come right out and start name calling with the child. My own son was called names like: "idiot," "loser," "stupid," and then told outright in front of the class, "You'll never pass this class so why even come here or try?" They simply deny it once it's reported. I had my child's classroom switched, but the teachers are so similar from apparent exhaustion, frustration and anger over their personal teaching situations that it seems every other teacher is a bully so you can't get away from it.
Similar to peers who bully, teachers who bully may employ a number of methods
to deflect anticipated or actual complaints about their offensive conduct. One common
method is trying to convince targets that they are paranoid or crazy, that they have
misperceived or misrepresented the behavior in question, or that it is all in their mind. It
is also common for bullies to impugn the motives or performance of students, colleagues,
and supervisors who register a complaint. For example, an abusive teacher may argue
that a student who complains is simply trying to excuse his or her "questionable"
academic performance. This shifts attention from the teacher's inappropriate conduct to a
discussion of "standards" and to the student's motivation for complaining. This also has
the minimizing effect of suggesting to others that what is at stake is merely a "personal
difference," rather than a systematic abuse of power. (from study above)
We, as parents owe it to our children to figure out what's really going on in school. I watched my very bright and creative son turn into a failure at school as he took his teacher's words as his self fulfilling prophecy. If you're skeptical look at the results of this particular study...
Results from the interviews, involving both fixed-choice responses and narrative
accounts, provide a compelling profile of teachers who are perceived as bullies.
Respondents were asked, "Do you think most students in your high school would agree
on which teachers bullied students?" Of the 236 respondents, 93% (n=219) said yes and
only 7% (n=17) said no. This corresponds with focus group discussions with educators
who also believe that colleagues who bully students are readily identified within the
The 219 respondents who said yes were then asked to estimate the number of
teachers in their school whom they believed students agreed were bullies. Although no
data were gathered on school size or the number of teaching staff, 19% identified one
teacher as a bully, 23% identified two teachers, 25% identified three teachers, 11%
identified four teachers, 11% identified five or more teachers, and 11% did not specify a
number. Similarly, focus group discussions with educators also suggest that it may be
common for schools to have one or more teachers who behave in "mean" ways toward
The respondents who said yes also were asked about gender differences among
teachers who bullied students. Of the teachers perceived as bullies, 30% involved only
males, 12% involved only females, and 57% of the cases included both male and female
I urge parents to begin to research this subject. If your child is spiraling downward in school, this could be a factor. I know this was in my son's case. We moved out of the school system and will now be faced with a new school and the attitudes of a new set of teachers. I can only hope we recognize the problem if it exists within the new school, so we can do something about it. This topic is hugely important, please take it seriously.