What If The Bully Is A Teacher?
Posted on April 26 2019
As parents, we teach our children how to handle being bullied in school. We give them techniques and come back phrases, as well as instructions on how to express what’s happening to authority figures. But what if the bully isn’t a peer but a teacher? What then?
My oldest son, Jaylen, is a 3rd grader. He’s your typical kid that loves to read, dance, play sports and instruments. He also loves to talk and be with friends, which is something that can get him into trouble here and there. He has a heart of gold, doesn’t like to disappoint and is usually the unifier of any group he’s with.
Once he walks in the door after school, we ask him about his day, any homework assignments he may have and whether he would like a snack. He’s the type of child that tells you EVERYTHING, even the small details that are truly insignificant. When he does something wrong, he shares it, despite knowing he will get in trouble.
My husband and I are in St. Lucia for my brother’s wedding, so we couldn’t have the normal face-to-face conversation to find out how his day went. Once we arrived, I Facetimed him to check in and see how things went. He proceeded to tell me that this 3rd grade teacher singled him out from the rest of the class, AGAIN! Yes, you are reading this correctly, AGAIN!
There have been a few incidents that have occurred within the past 2 weeks with one particular teacher, who isn’t his teacher. My son brought 2 of them to my husband’s attention last week. Joe is the cooler head of us two and wanted to be sure that he wasn’t over reacting by what he was being told. As parents, we like to get all the details to truly try to understand the reasoning behind someone’s actions.
On Career Day, Jaylen told his father that he was sitting on his knees so he could see. The person in front of him was taller. This teacher told him to sit correctly while the speaker was talking. As a parent, when you hear something like this, you think “Oh ok. Well, I can understand that. No big deal.”
The next incident, Jaylen is sitting at the lunch table, talking with other kids, and she walks up to him to tell him she doesn’t like his behavior. Jaylen says that he simply says ok and she walks off. The other children around him begin asking what he was doing and tell him that he wasn’t doing anything for her to come and tell him something. Jaylen simply finishes lunch and shakes it off. `
On yesterday, my son told me that he was waiting in the hall before class, which is customary for all the kids. This teacher told him to stop talking. He told us that he didn’t respond to her but she proceeded to tell him to stop looking at her like that! He says he has a confused look because he doesn’t understand how he’s looking at her and she then asked him if he wants her to tell his teachers. He quickly responds no and she tells him, “Well stop then!”
He explained to me that he was confused as to why she singled him out. Confused as to what he did wrong and how he was supposedly looking at her to make her tell him to stop looking at her that way. Due to the other incidents that occurred, he took it and just knew that he would tell us once he got home.
As a mom, seeing the confusion in his eyes broke my heart. The protector in me wanted to book a flight back to Texas to head to the school and get this situated. A phone call will not do, as this behavior from this teacher is becoming increasingly normal.
He went on to tell me that last week, he was headed from lunch, back to class, with the other 3rd graders and as the line was moving forward, he hopped forward instead of walking. This teacher told him to come here and instructed him to stop making a screeching sound on the floor. He said he told her he wasn’t and she proceeded to get in his face and say, “YES YOU WERE!” She then made him go around the table again and walk back into his spot.
When you have children, you feel like your heart is walking outside of your body. Everything they feel and express, you feel. The depths of my heart were beyond shattered. The fury that I feel, even as I type this, is unexplainable. I cannot imagine any adult getting into a child’s face in that manner. The idea that you are supposed to be the authority figure at school, setting the example, and you behave like this is despicable.
I’m told that my child isn’t the only one that is treated this way by her. This teacher is known as the “mean teacher.” The fact that the kids have given her this title is telling in itself. I completely understand being stern, but stern and flat out mean and evil are two different things.
Given this experience, I’m urging parents to have the bully conversation with their children, but don’t just tell them about their peers. There are teachers that abuse the role they have and are bullies in the truest form. Our children need to know how to handle situations like this as well. Just because the person is an adult, doesn’t mean they have the right to disrespect your space. You have to give respect to get it, no matter who you are.
I’m praying this situation teaches my son that bullies come in all forms and intimidation is a tactic at any age. My children shall not be bullied, no matter who it is! I’m also praying that a change is made, once this is addressed, so this teacher and all others know that you can’t handle children like rag dolls. Teaching is not for the faint at heart and it definitely isn’t everyone’s calling! If you are there just to collect a check, you should probably find another career field. If you find you have to handle children in such a disrespectful manner, you probably shouldn’t be around them. The point will come, when you shall have children of your own, or a family member, that will be treated improperly; just as you have done the children of others and your heart will be broken. When that time comes, think of how you’ve dealt with the kids you’ve come in contact with and imagine what those parents felt when their kids were being subjected to the same thing at your hands!
What are your thoughts on teacher’s being bullies? Have you had a situation like this and if so, how did your family handle it?
My heart was racing while reading this story. I am NOT ready to deal with this. I can’t imagine the frustration for Jaylen and y’all. I can’t wait to hear the follow up to this situation.
Thanks Erica! I definitely plan to address it once we arrive back in the states. No child should be subjected to this type of treatment from anyone, let alone an adult. A phone call will not suffice for Joe and I. We need and want to address it in person to be clear that our child will not be subjected to such incompetence and cruelty by anyone.
This is a great post. In the best case scenario, the school will hear both sides and do what it takes to make you, Joe, and Jaylen comfortable. However, I can also see them defending the teacher. Which means be prepared to have to “prove” what Jaylen is saying. Ask them to pull videos, get witness statements from other students, etc. It is heartbreaking to hear this. I hope the admins will do the right thing, but take it to the TOP if you have to.