Bullying Teachers

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Bullying often brings to mind school bullying between children, but bullying can involve adults, even bullying teachers. Teachers can sometimes be the bully, or be the victim of students who bully teachers. Keep reading for more information on bullying teachers.

Bullying is the act of one person using strength or status to infringe on another person, whether with insults, threats, physical harm, ostracism, or infringing on their boundaries in any way that is not sexually charged. (To clarify, some see sexual harassment as a subset of bullying, but others see them as separate categories.) Although much bullying is peer-to-peer, bullying can be inflicted by an older person on a younger person or vice versa. Although school bullying is commonly taken to refer to students bullying each other, teachers can also be party to school bullying.

Teachers can be involved in bullying in three ways: as observers, as perpetrators, and as victims. As observers, teachers can help prevent or stop bullying or perpetuate it. This article will deal with bullying in which teachers take part themselves, on one side or the other.

Bullying Teachers

The dunce cap, standing in the corner, having one’ hand whacked with a ruler, having one’ poor grade announced to the class: all these methods that at one time were a common occurrence in educational settings might now fall under the category of bullying teachers. Bullying teachers can act by using degrading words and treatment, as well as physical punishments. Other school employees besides teachers can bully students, including coaches, custodians, security personnel, and the front office staff, even the principal.

The public display of a bullying victim’s inadequacy often has a different feel in the classroom in which most work is independent and grades can be returned privately versus in the gym, on the sports field, or in the shop setting, in which nearly all work is on display, making everyone aware of the victim’s situation. The teacher responding to a student while standing beside his or her desk can maintain some semblances of privacy; the coach or teacher responding to a student half a football field or gymnasium away will likely be heard by all. Thus, in some school settings, humiliation is more likely for a sensitive student, even when correction or constructive criticism is given, let alone when teacher bullying

occurs. It is unclear whether teacher bullying may actually set the stage for peer bullying.

Teacher bullying may go unreported for several reasons. The victim may not trust the system to support or believe him or her, especially if there are any instances in which the victim had infringed school behavior rules. The victim may also fear retribution by the teacher in the form of a lowered grade or more teacher bullying behavior. The victim may also fear retribution by students who are in good standing with the teacher.  When teachers bully an entire class, the feeling may be that they have the support of the school and that everyone must know and accept this behavior. Teachers may also bully other teachers and school staff.

Teachers Who Are Bullied 

Teachers may be the victims of bullying in a variety of ways. Disruptive classroom behavior is one way in which students seize power in class and use it to distress a teacher. Vandalism, such as keying cars and causing flat tires, and theft of teachers’ property, as well as verbal abuse are other ways in which students abuse teachers. Also reported are physical bullying or attacks. , While teacher bullying of students may pass for school discipline, student bullying of teachers may pass for free speech. Web postings in which teachers are rated (in which anyone can say anything, whether true or not) and sharing of video surreptitiously filmed during class are two ways in which, fairly or not, students can make their feelings about teachers known. Another form of bullying is false reports about teachers given by the students to the school or the school board. Teachers may also be the victims of bullying by other teachers, by the school administration, and by the school board.