Being Bullied by a Teacher
In a perfect world, all teachers would be interesting, fun, devoted to educating students and dedicated to encouraging them down their chosen paths. In reality, some teachers just enjoy the shortened hours, holidays and power that comes with their positions.
If you are under the supervision of this type of teacher and feel that his or her behaviour has crossed the line into bullying, there are things you can do to stop it. Discussing your concerns with the teacher in question and the head of his/her department, filing a formal complaint with your school and in the most extreme case, asking to be transferred to another class are just a few of your options.
Many students think that they will never be believed if they bring a complaint against a teacher, but don't let these unfounded fears stop you. Bullying by a teacher is unacceptable behaviour, and no student should be subjected to it.
What Is Teacher Bullying?It's easy to get on a teacher's bad side, or for a teacher to get on your own, but this does not mean that the teacher is a bully. Bullying behaviour by a teacher includes behaviours such as:
- Degrading comments about a student.
- Unwanted or hostile physical contact with a student.
- Unwanted or suggestive physical contact with a student.
- Inappropriate or lewd remarks made to a student.
- Suggesting to a student that his/her grade depends on something other than his/her studies.
What Is the First Step to Stopping Teacher Bullying?If you feel that your teacher is a bully, the first step is to ask for a meeting between the two of you as well as your teacher's department head. You may want to confront your teacher alone, however it is always advisable to have a third party present. During this meeting, be prepared to state your concerns and give examples of your teacher's bullying behaviour. Having evidence, such as a diary of when the events occurred and the names of witnesses, will help your case. Consider asking a parent to attend this meeting with you so that you do not feel outnumbered or intimidated.
File a Formal ComplaintMeeting with a head of department - someone your teacher must report to- may be enough to stop his or her bullying behaviour. If it is not, the next step is to file a formal complaint with your school. Your school handbook may provide information on complaint procedures, but if it does not, ask for a meeting with a member of your school's administration such as a vice principal, principal or the equivalent. Continue keeping a record of your teacher's bullying behaviour throughout this time.
Ask for a TransferWhile it is not fair that you should disrupt your studies due to a teacher's bullying, if it gets no better after filing a formal complain this may be your last resort. But do not feel as though your teacher has "won" if you request a transfer, you may still wish to push forward with your complaints or even retain legal counsel at this time. If this is the case, then asking for a transfer is just another piece of evidence for your argument. Do not, however, ask for a transfer first thing without reporting your teacher's bullying. This will only serve to make you look fickle and might even discredit your case.
Teacher bullying is unacceptable and must not be tolerated. If you feel that you are being treated poorly, but are uncertain if you are being bullied by your teacher, confide in a trusted adult.
Remember, bullying often comes down to "he said, she said" so a clear record of incidences is the best evidence you can provide. Good luck!