teachers can be bullies too!

by jani on October 17, 2012

I’m a teacher. I support teachers and I love teaching. It’s what I wanted to do from the time I was quite young. After receiving my degree in Elementary Education from the University of Denver, I used my skills throughout my life in mostly voluntary positions. I chose to be an at home mom… but took an active role in working at the various schools helping my children and others succeed. I thank all of the great teachers who had positive influences on the lives of my children! I’m confident in who I am and feel comfortable in most situations. It wasn’t always that easy for me.

In my fifth grade year, I had a bully for a teacher. He seemed to find pleasure in harming those children who were shy or otherwise socially awkward. I will always remember one of the worst days of my young life. Mr.____ (let’s call him “Fox”) decided that we would participate in a volleyball game outside, boys on one side, girls on the other. I had to go to the bathroom very badly, but was too embarrassed to go up and ask the teacher. I remember standing in the middle of the volleyball court;  I just couldn’t hold it any longer. I walked up to the platform that Mr ” Fox” was standing on…  I’m sure he could see the anguish in my face as I asked if I could please be excused to go to the restroom. With a smirk, he looked at me and said, “There’s fifteen more minutes to our PE class, Janice! You can wait!” I couldn’t. I hardly made it back to my position when my legs began to tremble. I felt it streaming down my legs, as tears were stained my face. I wanted to die. I turned around and  pleadingly looked into the face of the class’ most popular girl. Looking down, we both saw the puddle I was standing in. And then, without even a pause, she grabbed my hand and raced me to the restroom. It didn’t take away my shame or the emotional scar that Mr “Fox” caused. But I have raised each of my children to stand up for anyone who is being bullied… even if it is by a teacher!

Me in 5th grade

For years I struggle with self esteem, but by the time I graduated in 1971 with my BA in Education, I had come to realize that the beauty one carries within, so far outweighs any outward appearance. It’s lovely that one may find you attractive and compliment you. However, always remember what we do to reach out to others far out ways the outer layers!

It became very apparent just how important it was to interview our children each day when they came home from school. I never wanted my children to suffer the way I did. Sadly, there was yet another teacher who reminded me so much of “Mr. Fox” that I’ll refer to her as “Mrs. Fox”. In my sweet daughter’s case she had not only been emotionally abused by this teacher, she had also been physically abused. Another parent happened to be standing outside the door and called to inform me what she’d heard. My daughter had already told me that “Mrs. Fox” had yelled at her and made her stand in front of the class finishing her math assignment… how mortifying in itself. What I found out through role playing (this is quite helpful) was this teacher had grabbed my daughter and pulled her to the front of the class, knocking her into a desk as she continued to berate her in front of the entire classroom. I took action, which involved the superintendent of the district and disciplinary action for this teacher. Personally, I think she should have been fired… but she had tenure.

There are marvelous teachers; each of my children knows who their favorites were. But among the many marvelous teachers, there are also bullies that are influencing our kids. My grandson told me about a teacher that yelled at him in the lunchroom the other day. Then his brother affirmed that this particular teacher has a habit of yelling at all the kids in her classroom. Really? Is this necessary? Absolutely not! Our children follow by example. If they hear their teacher yelling… it’s a green light for them to yell! I don’t care how bad you’re life is or how tired you are, or any other excuse… if you can’t handle children with the utmost respect, helping to build character and self esteem…STOP TEACHING!

My daughter in 4th grade

I get a bit emotional when it comes to bullying. I was crying as I wrote the foregoing experience from fifth grade… that was over 53 years ago! You never quite forget something like that. But if you can use your experiences for good…  f you can help your children and in the process become that child’s advocate…. I repeat, become your child’s advocate – then we can help prevent much of the incumbent emotional or physical trauma in our children’s lives.

And… Kelli found happiness, joy and beauty within, that radiates outward!

 Have you had experiences with teacher bullies? I’d love to hear any comments.