Last time, I discussed the issue of teachers bullying students in my post Some teachers are bullies too . There, I suggested some reasons why teachers resort to bullying, how bullying affects the teachers who bully, how bullying affects the students who get bullied and how bullying affects the entire school environment. I also suggested what needs to be done to stop the bullying. Today, I’m going to examine the issue of students bullying teachers and make some suggestions on how to stop it.

I hear and see students bullying teachers almost everyday. Over the years, students have tried to bully me too. I’ve had my classes disrupted with repeated disrespectful behaviour. I’ve had cars vandalized by students keying them. I’ve had personal property stolen from my office and classroom on numerous occasions, and I’ve had so much verbal abuse hurled at me I’ve lost track of the number of times that happened. Fortunately I haven’t been physically attacked, although I’ve had students try to intimidate me. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation reports that seven percent of its members have been attacked by students. I’ll talk more about the report later.

Ironically, the incidences of student bullying behaviour happened to me while teaching classes in regular high schools, not when I taught classes in the closed custody institution better know as jail. It’s hard to believe it is easier and safer to teach in jail than it is to teach in regular schools.Teaching kids in jail sounds so much scarier than teaching kids in a neighborhood school, but believe me it’s not. I don’t want our schools to turn into jails to make them a safe place to teach.

Happy-Slapping. Have you ever heard of that term? I hadn’t until recently. ‘Happy slapping’ is nothing to do with being happy. It’s a form of bullying where people are attacked and the attack is filmed on a mobile camera phone. Attackers often share the videos with their friends. Students are happy-slapping teachers. This is how it works. Students will do something that they know will absolutely drive the teacher crazy, and then will film the teacher’s embarrassing reaction using the camera on a cell phone and then suddenly before you know it the whole incident it on YouTube for the world to see and judge. Now before we judge teachers who loose it too harshly, we should remember we’ve all had our own embarrassing moments and certainly wouldn’t want an audience of millions to witness them. .We’ve all had times when we haven’t been at the top of our game on a given day for any number of reasons. I’ve heard kids talking and laughing about pushing a teacher’s buttons and sitting back and enjoying the show.

I talked before about cyber-bullying in my post called Schools need to do more to protect students from road rage on the digital highway. In that post I discuss the incident where students got into serious trouble for the abusive things they said on-line about their vice-principal. Kids need to realize that they can’t just say anything they want. Even if they say it on their computer at home. Freedom of speech is governed by the laws of libel and slander. Students just can’t say anything they want.

Another way that kids bully teachers is to comment about them them on the Rate My Teacher site. Kids can go there and write anything they want about teachers . That’s scary. Reputations can be ruined, and there isn’t much that can be done because it’s anonymous. so. Supposedly, it is possible to remove any comments teachers find offensive, but people have said that it has taken up to three weeks to do so. In the mean time the malicious comments are there for anyone to read. What if teachers aren’t aware of what was said about them on the site. They wouldn’t even know to remove the comments. It’s not good. As you can imagine, many schools have blocked the Rate my Teacher site, but kids can still access it from home. It’s been argued that the site damages trust between teachers and students

When you are facing a class five times a day, with 30 children at a time, and you don’t know who actually has written these things, you become far more guarded in everything you do . And the bottom line iyou lose all trust in the students you’ve got sitting in front of you.

I’ve been looking at some of ways students bully teachers. I guess the next question could be: how often does this happen? Earlier, I said that I see and hear teachers being bullied almost everyday. Now, I’d like to give you a more accurate picture of the bullying problem by sharing with you some of the report on Bullying in the Work Place that the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation or OSSTF conducted. “Oh no,” I can hear some of you thinking “she’s going to share a report”. Don’t worry. I’m not going to bore you to death. I’m just going to share enough of the report to make my point about students bullying teachers. If you want to read the entire 32 page report, you can go on-line and do so.

The report of July 2005 noted that

36% percent of teachers have been bullied by students. 36% of teachers have been bullied by students. Wow, that’s a lot of teachers. Think about that the next time you talk to a teacher. Think of what teachers have to contend with. Now, who do you think students target most for bullying- is it female teachers or male teachers, part-time teachers or full-time teachers? I guessed wrong when it came to gender. Here’s the breakdown:

Part-time teachers (61 %)
Full-time teachers (34%)
Support staff (30%).
Men (39%)
Women (35%)

Before I read this report, I always thought that male teachers had it easier than female teachers. Why? Because they’re guys. You know, an automatic authority figure. I can’t believe I said that! That’s stereotyping. I just realized that as I said it. Wow, I’ll have to watch that. Now, I wasn’t surprised that part-time teachers were more likely to get bullied. Kids seem to think that part-time teachers or substitute teachers are fair game for bullying.

I’ve been quoting statistics from the Ontario Secondary School Teacher Federation’s report mainly because I am a member of this Federation, and also I teach in a secondary school in Ontario. In doing research for this article I learned that teacher bullying occurs in many other countries. For example, here’s a report about bullying from London It’s really very sad.

Aggrey Suit, a fifty-year-old teacher was bullied so badly by pupils in his class that he was scared to teach.
Mr Suit taught computer studies at a secondary school in London

I sometimes cried when I was on my own. I felt I’d let down my community. I wanted to do well and teach kids.”
Mr Suit has now left the school but the experience has left a lasting impression and he has given up teaching.
Bullying’s not a game. It is something that can destroy people’s lives and it can destroy adults’ lives just like it does children. We teachers suffer just like children do.

Yes, teachers who are bullied do suffer. According to the OSSTF report

10 percent of those who have been bullied take time away from work.

53 percent of bullied individuals report that they suffered psychological, health related or other personal impacts as a result of the bullying-most often irritability, loss of sleep or loss of self-confidence, but sometimes severe anxiety attacks, loss of appetite, diagnosed depression or increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other substances.

We’ve looked at what happens to teachers who are bullied. What’s happens to the students who bully them? School boards have anti-bullying policies that make it very clear that bullying will not be tolerated. That includes cyber-bullying. There are also libel and slander laws that protect teachers and laws against physical attacks and vandalism. Teachers can sue students and their parent’s for damages. Perhaps that is what it will take to stop bullying. The in school consequences for bullying that range from warnings to detentions to suspensions and even expulsions. The OSSTF Report notes that 36% of teachers who were bullied said that the students were suspended from school as a consequence of their bullying. I’m going to talk next time about can be done to help bullies. There’s a lot that can be done. At least that’s the way I see it.

Theme music- 3 feet up- Podsafe Music Network

Here are links to other articles I wrote on the topic. I hope they are helpful.
Bullying is a cry for help. We’d better listen.“>Bullying is a cry for help. We’d better listen

What to do to stop teachers bullying other teachers

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Comments

51 Responses to “Some Students Bully Teachers Too”

  1. Laurie on May 9th, 2007 11:20 am

    I had to laugh when you said, “Oh no,” I can hear some of you thinking “she’s going to share a report”.

    I’m one of those strange animals who actually like reports.

    You made a comment about trust. Interesting to note that a number of factors involved in bullying are relational. Relationships can harm or heal, but what kind of relationship is there without trust?

    Re Male victims: When male victims are physically or sexually assaulted they are far more likely to suffer serious physical injuries than female victims. Offenders generally apply far more violent force in attacks against males (for a few reasons).

  2. Elona on May 9th, 2007 8:39 pm

    Laurie,
    I was thinking about trust when I read the post on your site (http://www.threat-assessment.blogspot.com/) about the mom who abused her young disabled daughter. It is really a sad story.

  3. Senia on May 10th, 2007 1:00 am

    That’s just nasty about happy slapping. It’s just really too bad that any bullying of teachers happens. Thanks for pointing these out, Elona.
    S.

  4. Frank on May 10th, 2007 3:18 am

    I think students caught bullying should be properly disciplined. Letting them go with it will only fuel their guts in doing it again. This is one problem that we can’t just ignore.

  5. Geri on May 10th, 2007 7:36 pm

    I’m not surprised that students bully their teachers. Students these days are more liberated and will try almost anything. I believe some those bullies lack discipline and some are just influenced by their peers.

  6. Rebecca on January 13th, 2008 3:10 am

    I’m bullied by my students and I find hard to move on. It’s still not working after I talk with them. They talk loudly and laugh loudly in class and they walk around in my class without my permission.They do anything they like to regardless of my teaching.OK,I’m not that angry.I tolerate all of this.But some of them insult me and make me feel embarassed and call up students from other class to watch my embarassment.That’s absolutely what I CAN’T stand. I don’t know what to do about this.

  7. Kahyla on February 19th, 2008 3:57 pm

    As a college student doing a report on teacher safety, it is rather discouraging to read all this. I am only a freshman. However, while observing a classroom for one of my collge courses, I was harrassed by a student within the first twenty minutes.

  8. Ann on March 26th, 2008 10:16 pm

    I would like to know if ‘Students Bullying’ translates into a teacher having ‘Poor Classroom Management’? This is the rationale of Administrators. So what is the counter-argument, if you are a teacher subjected to student bullying??

    Thank you for your reply.

    A devoted teacher in the NYC Public School System.

    Ann

  9. Elona Hartjes on March 27th, 2008 4:25 am

    Ann,
    Thank you for raising such an important question. Does student bullying translate into a teacher having poor classroom management? Wow, what a question! I’ll speak here in general terms because I don’t know the specific details.

    To be honest, I think the answer is both yes and no. It’s complicated. I think that there are certain classroom management techniques that teachers can employ to greatly reduce classroom management and bullying problems, but teachers needs the support of administration so that students get the message that bullying the teacher is not acceptable. The word gets around. Some kids get their kicks out of bullying the teacher. They bully because they can. If administration doesn’t support the teacher, the kids get the message that they can continue to do it. Let’s not forget the parents. Parents need to know how their children behave at school. Parents also need to support the teacher.

    It’s not OK to simply put the blame on the teacher, the victim of bullying. That’s just an easy way out of the problem for administration and parents. Administration needs to work together with the student-bully and the teacher. Fortunately, there’s lots of helpful PD out there for administration and for teachers.

  10. Ann on March 27th, 2008 9:26 pm

    Elona,

    Thank you for your reply on the somewhat false assumption that “student bullying” goes ‘hand-in-hand’ with “poor teacher classroom management”.

    I would like to pursue the following listed comments as follows:

    1. Aren’t students supposed to have some ‘minimal’ respect for their teachers – which begins the first day of school and (ideally) continues to grow in respect as the teacher develops each lesson?

    2. And what are the consequences that students should face if they disrespect the teacher from day one and then it gets progressively worse in time.

    3. Could you possibly give 3 good things an administrator can do to support the teacher who is a victim of “student bullying” and it is already 7 months into the school year.

    4. Do you think that a teacher who is a victim of “student bullying” should be given the right to a “hardship transfer”,.

    Thank you, once again, for your support.

    Yours sincerely,
    Anna

  11. Elona Hartjes on April 12th, 2008 11:25 pm

    Anna,
    Let me answer your questions one at a time. My answers will be pretty general becasue I don’t know details.

    1. Yes it would be nice if students had minimal respect for teachers, but some students don’t. I’ve found that with some students, I’ve had to show my respect for them before they would respect me- that seems counter intuitive.

    2.I think it’s important to find out why the student feels that (s)he has to be disrespectful. I think it’s important for the teacher to be heard and for the student to be heard. I love it when the VP will sit down with me and a student to talk about respect. things get resolved when people talk face to face.

    3. Things that administrators can do to support a teacher who is being bullied is
    - make sure the student knows that the behaviour is bullying behaviour and it is against the law- at least here in Ontario
    - make it clear to the student that bullying behaviour will not be tolerated and tell the students the consequences – detentions, suspension, explusions depending on the situation
    - Make it clear to the teacher that the admin supports the teacher in this

    Hope this helps

  12. Valerie on April 23rd, 2008 9:07 pm

    I’ve had almost all I can handle. Today was absolutely nasty.

    I have a class of kids who is absolutely disrespectful – one has gone so far as to yell at me, call me names, using her cell phone (even though there ar rules about it),tell me not only am I stupid but so is anything that I do or have the class do. I have tried talking to her only to have her tell me that she’s not going to put up with this. I’m still trying to figure out what in god’s name ever set her off!!!! What’s worse is that she’s threatened me.

    She told me that she hates my class and refuses to talk to me (to participate). She told me I’m always telling them to respect me, but refuses to respect me as a person.

    I cried today. for the first time in front of students, I cried. I couldn’t help it. The other kids in this class won’t say anything to her because they are afraid of her. She got my cell phone number somehow and has now belligerently texted me, telling me how she’s going to get me into trouble with the principal, saying that I’m not going to make her stop belittling me in class.

    This girl does her work. It’s the nasty comments she makes about it. It’s constant…I said “if you don’t want to do the work – then don’t – its your grade”. I’m not going to walk by someone who would rather stab me with a pen. She’s smart enough she can do the work – hands down – but if I don’t answer her immediately, she goes off the deep end.

    I don’t even want to go to that class. Although some students are wonderful, I keep telling myself that it’s one kid – but that only goes so far because she is making me miserable and i’m finding it really difficult to do my job.

  13. Elona Hartjes on April 24th, 2008 5:55 am

    Valerie,
    I’m sorry to hear that you’re being treated so badly by that student. No student has the right to treat you like that. It needs to stop at once. I don’t care if the student gets 100% that behaviour has to stop. I’m not sure what you have done yet but I would suggest you go to the spec. ed. support people and talk to them about the student. They probably already know about her. Get their support. They are trained to know what to do to help stop this behaviour. Also, I would go to the admin and ask for their support in dealing with the student. In a case like this, asking for support is not a sign of weakness. Spec. ed, counselling, and admin and home need to work together as a team to get this young lady to stop her bullying. I wouldn’t be surprised if that student is known to the office already. Document all this kid’s behaviour what she said and what she did. That’s important.Then you’ll have evidence of what went on. Include the strategies you have tried. Don’t think that you have to put up with this. You don’t. The admin is there to support you so access that support. They are there to give classroom teachers and students support. It must be awful for the other students too. They don’t like seeing you treated that way either. No one will think ill of you because you ask for help with such a bully. Don’t put up with it one more day. You deserve respect, not abuse. Let me know how things are going.

  14. Tamara on May 5th, 2008 2:59 am

    Dear Valerie…

    Look up the Laws…

    Human Rights Legislation
    Ontario Health and Safety Act
    Education Act

    You have rights that are not being protected.

    If you have any sick days left, go to your doctor, report this workplace bullying, and ask for a week or two off to process this abuse (stress)…phychological assault…

    Then take some time to sort through the whole thing…Collect your thoughts, notes, and return fresh with a request for Admin and Union to support you in removing her.

    You DON’T have to put up with this…any workplace who says you DO…is actually BREAKING THE LAW.

    Just thought you should know.
    My heart went out to you.

    I was you last year.

  15. Elona Hartjes on May 5th, 2008 5:17 am

    Tamara,
    Thank you so much for your advice. I’m sure this is going to be very helpful to lots of people.

  16. Valerie on May 5th, 2008 6:59 pm

    Thank you so much Tamara, I sincerely appreciate this advice! I have started the process of the removing her, but was told that since its the last 5 weeks of school – “there is nothing they can do” – I told my principal that every time something happens then that I will file a disciplinary referral and she’ll have a pile on her desk.

    Just to update you – she has been a LOT nicer to me…the guidance counselor told me today that the girl actually came to her – so I kind of wonder what is going to happen. Maybe the kid just needed a stress reliever and since i was the nicest I was the scapegoat for whatever she was dealing with???? it makes me wonder what is in store for this girl because what goes around comes around.

  17. Sidney O'Keefe on May 23rd, 2008 11:55 am

    I have an unsettling story to tell.

    After years as a homemaker, I became both financially and emotionally vested in an “alternative certification program” which would enable me to return to my first professional love, teaching. After months of study and preparation, the members of my student cohort were placed in public schools here in Texas for 2 weeks of “field experience.”

    Although I had visited classrooms extensively, I somehow managed to pre-select for settings that were at least nominally conducive to the educational process. What I discovered at my assigned high school was like something from a horror movie. Put simply, a violence-prone subset of the student population was in charge of the school. They had devised seemingly endless rationalizations for their lack of self-discipline and their lack of respect for themselves and those around them. Teachers who attempted to call attention to the ways the school system was failing these students were, in turn, bullied by administrators. Fellow teachers would commiserate, and sigh, and step out of the line of fire.

    When I attempted to discuss the violent acting out of a student (and a circle of his friends) with the appropriate Associate Principal, I was accused of racism. A sham investigation followed and within 24 hours I was removed from my assignment at the high school.

    The effect of this action was to nullify my contractual relationship with the certification program. I am out thousands of dollars, have lost countless credit hours of study and my reputation has been impuned by a band of bullying prevaricating students.

    My efforts to get counseling help for the students fell on deaf ears and resulted in false accusations against me. Because I am no longer at the school, nor any longer a member of the teacher certification program, I would have to turn to the courts to address the problems indemic to the school.

    I was falsely accused of “inciting” the students’ violent acting out (despite their history of prior incidents.) The net effect was that I was bullied by the students, by the teacher of record with whom I was working (who stepped aside in self-protection), by the Associate Principal, by her supervising Principal and by both the Facilitator and Director of my certification program.

    All these vissicitudes would be worth it, if only I knew that the students’ emotional and behavioral problems were being addressed by competent and truly compassionate educators. The system which is currently in place at the school guarantees that the students in their care will perceive bullying as the avenue to whatever they desire in life. Timid students will spend a lifetime acquiescing to administratively enabled tyrants. The long termm implications of a policy of “peace at any cost” are dire indeed.

    I have located another program through which I may certify. I will have to begin my studies all over again. No matter, I am resilient. But what will I find in the next school…and the next? How far-reaching is this plague of tolerated tantrums and sanctioned incivility? Could the lack of support for embattled teachers be the real reason for the “teacher shortage”?

    Your thoughts?

    Sidney C. O’Keefe
    scokeefe@hotamil.com

  18. Elona Hartjes on May 24th, 2008 12:06 am

    Sidney,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m truly sorry that you’ve had such a negative experience. What can I say! Let’s hope this experience is atypical. I admire your determination to continue despite everything. Good luck.

  19. MJ on October 16th, 2008 12:06 am

    great advice Thank you. I am a 18 year teacher and new teacher mentor and this is the first time I have ever had a problem like this…I am being bullied by a parent. I admit that I have not been loved by all my parents, but usually I get along pretty well with them and I am often requested by parents in the grade below me. I am organized in the clasroom and a diligent teacher.

    I have been working many hours night and weekends to accomidate this above level student, but anything I do is not good enough. Then the parent demands I do more to accomidate their child. Almost every day some pressing issue comes up that needs my attention. Sometimes 2 parents each ask for the same accomidation in the same day!!! (For example they want their children tested, again)

    The rest of my class is suffering. I am stressing!!!Have you heard of this before? I am afraid of how far they might go with this. Thank goodness my principal supports what I am doing in the classroom. Have you thought about writing on this topic? I wonder if I can ban a parent from the classroom…eee-gad, I never imagined I would have to say that in my career!!!

  20. Elona Hartjes on October 16th, 2008 7:12 pm

    MJ,
    Without knowing all the details, I’d like to make some general comments.

    1. I would meet with my resource teacher for the gifted and see what can be done reasonably in the way of differentiation or condensation.

    2. Then I would meet with the mom , the resource teacher and someone from admin and even the student to plan out what can be done. I’d want admin there for sure.

    2. I would them find a way for the mother to be involved in some way.Maybe once she sees that you are really supporting her child she may ease off a bit. This does happen.

    3. If this doesn’t help, I would have to resign myself to the fact that this mother is difficult and I will have to live with the situation and try not to take it personally and not get bent out of shape. You can only do so much. I’d make sure that I take time to have some fun to help burn off the stress. That is really important for your physical and mental health.

    Hope this help a bit. Maybe some other readers have ideas to share.

  21. lucy birch on November 5th, 2008 1:23 pm

    I thought i had it bad until I read your messages. I think that pupil teacher bullying is an awful thing and should be dealt with straight away. I have noticed that some student target me because I am a cover teacher and the try to see how far they can get. Ihave had personal comment made about me in the past few months a i deal with them quickly and efficiently by sending the instigator out of the class and shouting as loud as I could at him!!! he appologised and has stepped out of line since. However there are a few intimdating girls who are 16 and they have repeatedly made comments about my appearance (things iam already self consiouse about) and when i hear them muttering under their breath and laughing at me I cant help but to loose confidence and shy away from tackling this issue. i worry that If i do bring it up they might tell other students to poke fun at me because they know what buttons to push. people hate teachers who bully students but can you blame them when if they didnt go for the jugular they themselves would get bullied???? what do you think i should do about these girls??? i dont want the problem to escallate and if i get on the wrong side of them or punish them im scarred incase theyll speard these derogatry comments.

  22. Elona Hartjes on November 6th, 2008 1:49 am

    It’s really difficult to give advice for specific situations without knowing all the details. Generally, when I cover for another teacher and students seem disrespectful in any way I will make a point of taking a couple of minutes to talk to them in a friendly manner just about general things. If they continue to be disrespectful, I will say something like “Why are you being disrespectful to me when I’m not being disrespectful to you?” That generally stops the behaviour. I also try to catch students doing something good so I can be positive. It’s hard when the class is not your own, that’s for sure.

  23. Bettina on March 16th, 2009 7:27 am

    Wow! Can I relate! This student bully issue is as complicated as it is simple. It’s complicated because it starts at the cradle…they bully their parents, siblings, and relatives and get away with is. They learn to bully, play practical jokes, and be deceitful and disrespectful from TV programs and movies…and if it’s done on the screen, you know it’s acceptable! The simple reason is what was stated before: they can; no one does anything about it, which makes their fun-schemes more addictive and powerful, while at the same time infecting others around them.
    Forget what administrators can/would do. I’ve been teaching 30 yrs. and twice in that time have I seen an administrator worth their weight in gold. The others have been given the job of administrator because they’re friends with someone, etc., not because of their qualifications. A few have made it up the ladder to get away from the classroom scene they hated so much, while demanding from teachers what they themselves couldn’t do. In my 30 years I’ve seen too many back the students up and not the teacher. The teacher is always wrong. Then the government and he public at large want to know why students aren’t achieving. They haven’t the slighest clue as to what’s going on in the classrooms. And don’t even talk about it! Because if you do you’re looked at as incompetent and a weakling. No one wants to admit our schools are corroded with behavior issues that hold back on educating our young. Teachers are faced with large numbers of children all on their own. They need an assistant, and if necessary either security or a police officer present to back them up. They need an administration and a school board that will back them up. The kids and the public needs to know this. Parents need to see that as well. Parents needs psychologists to come out to the schools of weeknights and run workshops on how to deal with unruly children and how to stop creating monsters since the cradle days. Teachers need to be placed on a pedestal, so to speak, to give them respect in the public eye. Let’s face it, without teachers there’s no future. Teachers are what makes a country strong, yet we step on them, chew them, and spit them out like they’re the garbage of society. It is simply sickening. Now, to go back to why kids bully teachers- because they are enabled to do so by too many groups. It’s a plain and simple as that.

  24. Elona Hartjes on March 16th, 2009 5:28 pm

    Bettina,
    Thank you for telling us how you see it after teaching all these years. It’s nice to know that others see it the way I do.

  25. melanie on August 25th, 2009 6:47 am

    I cried so hard when I read all the comments and the article about students bullying their teachers. Its been 7 years and still continuing even at present that students in my own class and even in the other classes in the regular high school where I teach call me nasty names due to a physical defect in my face. Every time I pass by the other rooms and even in front of my classes, students snicker, laugh and shout names at me even while classes are going on. Although I’m used to it, I feel embarrassed when my colleagues listen to it. Students get a kick in calling me names. I feel emotionally stressed and mentally ill that I planned to resign or file an indefinite leave of absence from work. One more thing, the name-calling even occurs outside the school and even when I meet students already graduated from our school and students currently attending classes in our school. Sometimes, I even wished that the world would end and the first casualties will be all students who dared to call me names. I often wished that I have the power to punish them just like those superheroes in cartoons or movies. I always say to myself that if I have the strength, I would really make them pay. I’m usually kind and considerate to all students reminding them always of work not done, assignments or projects not submitted and give appropriate grades to deserving students. My colleagues tell me that I’m kind and industrious. I even almost always stay in school after school hours to do my work. I am appreciated by my co teachers which gives me a sense of security and warmth. I even enjoy the company of the authorities in the school where I worked. Yet my happiness doesn’t last long whenever I’m being called nasty names by students.

  26. Elona Hartjes on August 25th, 2009 7:52 am

    Melanie,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m sorry that you are being bullied. No one should be subjected to bullying-adult or child. Have you talked to your administration or union representative about this. The bullying needs to stop.

    There is lots of good advice others have given in the comments. Take a look and see what you can do and the support you can get to help stop this bully. First and foremost, bullying is against the law. Please seek some support to help you with this. You should not be subjected to this and you should not have to get used to it either.

  27. Jacqueline Hejazeen on September 13th, 2009 6:40 am

    Everyone is speaking about the teachers problems, but no one has cared to mention something about all the problems the children are going through.

  28. Joe on September 30th, 2009 12:17 pm

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  29. Angela on October 14th, 2009 1:42 am

    Teachers are bullied more often that you think. Students can go to Ratmyteacher.com or Face book and write anything they want – anonymously. I’m a teacher I have already figured out which students have written slanderous comments about me. Believe me I remember them. I was bullied as a child and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let it happen all over again as an adult. I am ready to quit teaching. I try as hard as I can to do my best to teach students but they have very little respect these days and their parents have no idea what their children are doing on line. I’ve already invested 22 years in my career and I hoping I can stick it out another 8 more years – then I will happily retire and move on. I’m tired of teaching little shits who have no respect and I’m tired of parents who think their kids can do no wrong.

  30. David Aldwinckle on February 7th, 2010 5:27 am

    The Ontario College of Teachers is now threatening sanctions against teacers who ignore bullying but is absurdly unspecific.
    Does it really want to make its members even more off balance?If I know about bullying before it happens,I’m free to decide what involvement I want.Am I going to be taken seriously if I’m the only one with this inside knowledge?If I’m not going to be listened to as someone who is cautioning the school in advance,then the system is in rotten shape.Coming out after the fact is easy but possibly too late.What wisdom does the College of Teachers have to offer in such a situation?There will be lots of rhetoric and plenty of instructional workshops to justify procedures that sound great but don’t consider the timing of when inaction is a crucial wasting of time. time.Everyone wants to bell the cat;no one volunteers to put the alertsound round the feline neck.Since when were teachers and many admin types that different from the mice?No one wants to be someone else’s dinner…..

  31. Diane Potter on February 20th, 2010 12:21 pm

    I have been bullied inside the classroom and out by students.
    I am a good teacher. I work hard and am proud of my work. However, the feedback I have received from my administrator is that it is my fault.
    We have one class at my school who bullies almost all of the teachers and administrator ignores the fact. We are told that these are good children who just need more structure.
    These children for whatever reasons are bullies. There are 6 of them out of 30.
    My frustration is that no one believes us(the staff).
    How can I get the information to the administration that:
    1. Teachers being bullied by students is a reality.
    2. How the administration can support us.
    3. How can we help these children.
    Our whole society is so concerned about a teacher bullying a student, now it is time to acknowledge that students are bullying the teachers and it is just as devastating for the teacher as it is for a child.
    Thank you,
    Diane

  32. Elona Hartjes on February 20th, 2010 3:33 pm

    Diane,
    Here’s a link to resources that will be useful in helping you get the support that you need. http://www.ascd.org/SearchResults.aspx?s=bullying&c=1&n=10&p=0

    Hope this helps.

  33. Rae on February 25th, 2010 5:48 am

    I would guess that in Ontario, much of the bullying of teachers by kids starts with the elementary French teacher in grade 6, 7, and 8. There’s very little respect for the French teacher by anyone in the Ontario public system (no classroom of her own, travelling sometime to two schools, seeing so many kids a day (more than high school teachers) which makes discipline difficult, isolated from other French teachers, very little contractual support from ETFO, being treated as a permanent planning time teacher by principals and teachers who think the French teacher is there to serve them). Adolescent kids are very good at noticing this pecking order in teachers and know who is the weakest link. Once they learn it’s okay to make the French teacher “cry” and admin. won’t care, they then become bold enough to move on to other teachers. They’ve learned the same about substitute teachers, as well.
    I was disappointed that the report by OSSTF did not cite the type of teacher who was bullied, as I highly suspect it’s a lot of intermediate French teachers.

  34. Elona Hartjes on February 25th, 2010 6:23 am

    Rae,
    Teachers definitely need the support of admin. If there are no consequences for inappropriate behaviour, then the inappropriate behaviours will continue.

  35. Ben on May 20th, 2010 3:18 pm

    RATE MY TEACHERS is the least of my concerns. I looked it up and saw all sorts of vicious things written about me. I was accused of everything, up to and including rape and terrorism.

    But I didn’t GIVE A DAMN.

    So what if kids post nasty stuff about me on the web. Anybody could do that.

    If there’s a kid in my class who is bullying me or the kids, I save the anger for the PARENT. I chew the parent out over the phone, and I tell them “fix the problem, or find your kid another school!”

  36. Elona Hartjes on May 21st, 2010 7:49 pm

    Ben,
    “Fix the problem or find another school” is not something a teacher can say at our school. . Only the admin can do that. Perhaps your school is different.

  37. Tanya Sharma on September 9th, 2010 7:41 am

    Bullying could be physical as well as mental too. I have recently joined as an assistant professor of English, and I was given MA 2 to teach, when I first day entered the class, students were not that welcoming.Any how I started teaching only to be known that they have complained regarding me that I am not giving them notes and teachers before me was giving them point to point notes, where as I asked them to buy books, asked them to read and do some research on their own so that we can have a group discussion and more interactive lecture.

    Anyways I talked with them they said Professor we are happy with you, and i tried to follow what they wanted again they complained. Again i went to class and I started teaching coz My head of the department said that all other classes are very happy from me and we havent got a single complain…

    These students came and apologised and I felt everything is settled. I again went to their class and started teaching, taught them everything point to point that too at MA level, gave them notes, only to know that they have again backstabbed me and this time went to Prinicpal and wrote an application that they are not satisfied with my methodology.

    huh now what is this? Is this not mental bullying , I have tried everything to understand them,

    1.they said I speak in English in MA English class
    2. I dont given them notes
    3.I am slow

    I am taking 5 more lectures and none of my students have shown any resentment or have complained infact they say all the time that they love my lectures, as I am very friendly and understanding.

    But this class was a big blow to my confidence, I feel low, depressed and backstabbed. What I feel is that most of the students whether in the west or in the eastern countries dont want to work hard, they look for short cuts esp at the college and high school level, they believe we are mature and teachers should understand us, but they don’t understand that teachers need understanding too.Most of the times esp in Developing countries like here in India they put the entire blame of their failure on teachers.
    The fact is students who really want to study and learn they dont care what kind of teacher they have rather they care more about studying and are open to any kind of suggestions and advise, they keep faith in their teachers.
    But still we have to keep teaching and understanding students with a smile on a face!!

  38. Dave on December 12th, 2010 11:38 am

    We have no consequences for kids at my school. I once brought my VP a smoking pipe of hash and the two kids who were smoking it in the school. They got the afternoon off on Friday and were back in class Monday morning.
    There isn’t a day that goes by without a teacher being told to F-Off at my school; and I’m presently being sent home with pay and under investigation because I said something ‘mean’ to my grade 9 class. They won’t tell me what I said or who the accusers are. However, I know who the kids are and the ring leader is not even one of my students and I’ve never taught him (in fact he’s in grade 11). They just decided it was something fun to do. Now, I’m going through Hell because of some false accusation. I know I’ll be cleared but I’m going ot have the worse holidys ever and I’m going to have to meet with all kinds of officals for them to hear me – I haven’t had a single complaint all year and parents night was great. Now, all of a sudden -WHAM- some kid makes something up and I’m evil. I have a family and small kids of my own – what do you think people in the commmuity think when these kids start bragging about their little plan.

    Sorry to say everyone, when I go back I’ll be punching in at 8:30 and punching out at 3:30pm from now on. No coaching, no field trips, no teaching outside my area… nothing. Students and parents wonder why some teachers run when the bell rings – well here you go!! I’m the prime example.

  39. Elona Hartjes on December 12th, 2010 3:41 pm

    Dave,
    If the kids start to brag about their plan, then people will realize that you were set up. Let’s hope they brag about it to the right people so their bragging gets to be known for exactly what it is. The school should have an anti-bullying policy in place that includes students bullying teachers. The admin has to deal with any issue of bullying, including students bullying teachers. Student bullying happens far more often than people are aware of.

    I can understand how you feel about not getting support for all you have been doing for the students. I’ve had acquaintances who have stopped coaching and going the extra mile, too because they felt the admin was not on their side. The administration has to tell you what was said and who the accusers are. You have the right to know that. In a court of law you do, so why not at school. I think it’s called habeous corpus- the right to know what you are accused of and by whom. It’s a Latin term and I might have the spelling wrong, but I don’t have the notion of right to know wrong. Do you have a union or some other advocate you can go to for support that can help you in this matter. If you have to, you could always seek legal advice and support.

    I hope this gets straightened out before the holidays so you can relax with family and friends and not have this hanging over your head.

    Best

  40. zoya on February 10th, 2011 4:58 pm

    Of of my colleagues was told to F**k off by one of his students but the administration weren’t prepared to take his word for this, and hence wouldn’t do anything about it. They said they needed another adult whitness to back him up. Quite a strange thing to say when the norm is 1 teacher/adult per class.

    In another incident a student brought an illegal weapon into school had it confiscated but was allowed to return to lessons. How can you feel safe teaching such a student????

    And all this from one of the top schools in the country in terms of results.!!!

  41. Elona Hartjes on February 10th, 2011 6:55 pm

    Zoya,
    I’ve heard similar things. I think the pendulum is swinging from zero tolerance to tolerance for almost anything. It’s disheartening to say the least. Teachers need support from admin if we are to do the best they can.

  42. nj on November 9th, 2011 2:31 am

    I have been teachings for 17 years. When I switched from the catholic board to the public board in 2000 they courted me to write the new curriculum, my eyes became wide open. This was the time when I went from the most popular teacher to hearing things like everyone hates you on a regular bases by the principal. I decided to change schools, but it only got worst. Again they courted me; and the funny part was when parents and srudents found out I was leaving they started to complain. Anyway as the say out of the firing pan an into the fire. My new school has been a disaster. In short the inmates run the aslum. I am constantly told I don’t know the curriulum by two math phobics (they don’t understand grade 9 math and tell me I am teaching it wrong ( even though the board math resouce teacher and department head tell them I know what I am doing. Anyway my job is on the line now. I suffer from fibrimyalgia and have had two bouts of cancer in the last ten years, but have still gone to work almost every day, even though the students call me stupid, retarted, a bitch on my website and best of all a nigger. Of course this was all my fault because I am the worst person in the world so the kids must be telling the truth. My pricipal regularly accusses me of lying, but ‘ve caught her and her vp in documents. The union has not done much to support me even though I’ve explained the problem is not thr 34000 kids I’ve taught but the maybe 20 hat are unhappy and rate the teacher. I’m still going to be paying off my student loan until I am able to retire. I will lose my house and savings before the end of this year because of the excessive stress and disabilty, so I can’t work. And of course if I don’t show that I can make al the kids happy (everyone gets an A no matter what) I will lose my job on march 5 2012. Isn’t rate my teacher great especailly because you can say anything without identfying yourself at the age of 14 and ruin someone’s carrer with no conseqences. This must stop.

  43. marsha on November 10th, 2011 12:47 pm

    I never knew that teaching could be so depressing and humiliating. I have had a learner stand up to hit me during a lesson. When i reported the incident to the office, they sent the learner back to the class. I mean can you believe this???? She was at least meant to get suspended but instead she was given the priveledge to humiliate me publicly. I have now taken leave and have to take sedatives and tranquilisers to help me settle and sleep. I have resigned because I will not be treated like this. To make matters worse, her parents still feel that their child can do no wrong yet she has a track record.

    very disappointing

  44. Elona Hartjes on November 10th, 2011 4:31 pm

    Yes, sadly I can believe it. I remember at least once sending a kid back to the office because admin told him to come back to class with no consequences. I know just how you feel.

  45. karl liebhardt on November 26th, 2011 4:06 am

    There is an epidemic of incidents like the ones recounted above. The bottom line is that teachers, even under the worst of circumstances, expect the admin to back them when students or parents harass them. For me- years of false accusations re/ hitting kids, yelling, slamming heads into walls, gradually turned into accusations of sexual predation. The final straw was being accused by some of the most disruptive kids in the class of trying to film their chests when I attempted to film them working on year end projects. I used to live in Paraguay, one of the most corrupt countries on earth. Nothing I can think of from that experience comes close to the treatment I received in my own country. Join napta: the national association for the prevention of teacher abuse.

  46. MD on February 21st, 2012 11:57 pm

    What has caused all of this?
    Helicopter parents pat yourself on the back and get an education degree; already schools are short of teachers. You telegraph your disrespect to your kids. YOU bully the teachers so much that soon your kid’s feeble 55% paper gets an 80. And then you complain about your kid being illiterate
    Administrators, congratulations: You are now in middle management and will work very hard at not making waves so that you can soon be in an office downtown or even Principal!!! Your spineless defence of your teachers is slowly eroding the entire system. Principals, Assistant Principals, and other non teaching staff should be required to teach at least one class AND they should be paid no more than a classroom teacher. I am sure we will see 3/4 of the principals and assistant sycophants uh, I mean principals quit their job.

  47. TheOwl on March 28th, 2012 9:40 am

    I had thought this is only happening in Asia. It’s happening all over the world!!! It looks like the end of days is well on our door steps! Parents,administrators and the whole education system are backing the kids who not only get away with teacher-bullying but with about anything and because they know they can they do it. If kids are not put in their places soon enough the parents will know the consequences. Society has nobody to blame when one day these very kids abandon their own parents and their responsibilities! Teaching is becoming more and more untenable by the day as kids are NOT taught to respect because in the first place they DO NOT respect their own parents. These very parents are the ones who think their kids are perfect!

  48. Justice White on September 2nd, 2012 6:27 pm

    On Thanksgiving Day, 2011, a young school teacher by the name of Mary Eve Thorson, stood in front of a moving semi-truck and ended her life. She left behind a detailed 6 page suicide letter which spoke to the bullying of her colleagues, the children adversely affected as a consequence, and the poor condition of the institution. Mary stated in her letter that she wanted to be the first to sign the petition, and she hoped her death would not be in vain. An article was written about this tragedy in the Chicago Tribune, on January 1st, 2012. The outcry from teachers within and outside of the state of Illinois was massive. A documentary based upon Mary’s story premiered at the SAVE OUR SCHOOLS convention in Washington DC, this past August 3rd. The title of the film is, DYING TO TEACH: The Killing of Mary Eve Thorson, “Educators Who Bully.” I am including links to several different websites for those of you who might be interested. I am also providing a link to a petition which will hopefully facilitate the passing of an anti-bullying bill in Mary’s name, which will someday protect teachers bullied by administrators/educators. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    http://saveourschoolsmarch.com/workshop-panel-presentations/documentary-dying-teach/

    http://www.marythorsondocfilm.com

    https://www.change.org/petitions/congressman-sponsor-anti-bullying-bill-protecting-teachers-from-abuse-by-administrators?share_id=gypMXMVKfN&utm_campaign=mailto_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

  49. Myra Richardson on April 1st, 2013 3:39 pm

    A week ago, I received a frantic letter from a teacher in Nevada requesting a copy of the documentary, DYING TO TEACH, The Killing of Mary Eve Thorson, “Educators Who Bully”. Her best friend and colleague died suddenly. Allegedly, he’d been bullied by administrators within their school. She wanted the film for the other teachers. Before having read her letter, I was mailing copies of the film to interested parties. I’ve now decided to place it on Vimeo to make it more accessible. Now teachers, parents, and others can view it at their leisure. Of course, there is no cost involved. I will supply a link to the film. I am also supplying a link to an article regarding Mary Thorson and CBS 2 Chicago. Thank you. Myra

    http://vimeo.com/62563318

    http://theassailedteacher.com/2013/03/12/why-mary-thorsons-struggle-is-our-struggle/

  50. Jesus Corona on November 7th, 2013 9:47 pm

    Students at my school brag about all the teachers they’ve gotten fired or reassigned. Now, I feel like they’ve turned on me too and my job is becoming unbearable. It’s a shame because I like my administration and colleagues. We are just facing a tough student body who are often encouraged by their parents. Feeling hopeless.

  51. Ab on February 24th, 2014 8:52 pm

    I am happy to see this blog post even though it was written many years ago. I am a college instructor who is bullied by a couple of my doctoral students. I feel like I am living a nightmare and have recently been thinking about suicide. This is their first year in the program and apparently they have not been that good to their previous instructors. The only action that has been taken so far is to ask the students how the classroom and program could be made better for them. They should be terminated from the program. They do not do any of the reading and are not prepared for class. They continually make faces when I speak or laugh when I turn my back to write on the board – these are grown women.

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