Are Teachers Bullied and Don’t Know It?

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12 thoughts on “Are Teachers Bullied and Don’t Know It?”

  1. Bullies are often bullied or abused themselves. Administrators are under intense pressure. Not just from the district but at a federal level. Monitors come in and drill them on how they are promoting curriculum and demanding documentation of assessment. This is especially true of ESL or any titled ($$$) program. Documentation and paperwork are what I’m supposed to be doing right now—oops, I’ll get back to it.

    I kind of get why no principal wants to just cross their fingers and hope teachers are doing the right thing. But I’m with Ben that this is over-intellectualized. If principals just take Ben up on his “just drop in my classroom” offer, our “documentation” burden would be significantly lifted and we could get back to just teaching.

    It stinks that this is a thing we have to do, but we’ll figure out what documentation to provide and how to explain it to administrators. Welcome to our blog, Kristen, and thanks for sharing. We’ll get through this together.

  2. “Are Teachers Bullied and Don’t Know It?”

    Yes. Here’s a traumatic blast from the past just over a year ago after a meeting today prepared especially for me:

    “Instructional Expectations
    1) The goal for each lesson should have students doing 90% of the speaking and writing in the target language.
    2) All lessons will be designed to accommodate for visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners.
    3) Students will be permitted and encouraged to take notes and develop resources as needed.
    4) All formal or summative assessments will be announced in advance.
    5) Review materials and scheduled in-class activities will be provided before summative assessments.
    6) All lessons will contain a measurable objective.”

    If I had to provide for a family and didn’t have the opportunity to tell them to EFF off (end of year resignation, not a quit mid-year), that would’ve been grounds for grievance via Union officials, only the difficulty there was that our Union building representative was also my department head, and also involved in that meeting. That’s bullying right there.

    Also, here’s a traumatic not-so-much blast from the past a few months ago:

    “Lance, are you aware that you are in the 90 day hire period, and I can terminate employment without cause?”

    That’s right. The guy could’ve disliked my bowtie and been rid of me for that. Bullied. How is it that I’m still even pursuing teaching with this happening within 3 years from entering the profession? Anyone up for drinks at iFLT, or what?!

    1. Steven Ordiano

      I dont drink anymore lance since my children were born. But I would babysit one and shoot the shit with you. You should come out to California. The union seem strong in the cities surrounding LA and SF. The rent is another story. The above seems way too despotic, boring and out of line.

    2. Steven Ordiano

      “If I had to provide for a family and didn’t have the opportunity to tell them to EFF off (end of year resignation, not a quit mid-year)…”

      I would just finish the year then sub for the next until I landed a good gig at a district. This would mean my wife and I would work to complete the mortgage and expenses for us and the little ones. Happiness is key. Some admins do not deserve us.

      “Lance, are you aware that you are in the 90 day hire period, and I can terminate employment without cause?”

      What! No year long contract? This is bs. Why does it seem to me like the eastern part of the us is crazy fascist with running schools?

      1. There is very protection for a new teacher without Professional Teacher Status (PTS), which is MA’s word for “tenure.” If anything comes up, it’s 90 days no questions asked, and then very FEW questions asked for the next 3 years until PTS is…”earned.”

        1. Steven Ordiano

          Whoa MA is not cool. In CA, we have tenure at 2 years. There’s a year long “temporary” contract but usually there is not a teacher fired on the spot unless there is criminal things going on. Usually, there needs to be documentation that admin and other district coaches came to speak with a beginning teacher to improve him/her. So, it’s a process towards receiving tenure and not a “got cha!” situation.

          I’m in my first year and the above is what I know according to my district.

  3. Lance I don’t feel comfortable with this discussion. Let’s get back to talking about how to get better at this work and keep our mental health sharp. There are other sites for this type of discussion.

  4. Steve Johnson

    Hi Kristin. Welcome to the group! Feeling “overwhelmed and misunderstood….” is something I have experienced often in this work and I am sure everyone in this group can relate.

    I agree with Claire that admins are under a tremendous amount of pressure and much of what they are doing is required of them, and I would add sometimes the pressure is coming from other colleagues, complaining students or parents who think you should teach differently. I have had several meetings over the last few years with colleagues whose students thought they weren’t prepared for the next level, or admins who got complaints from students or parents who thought I should give kids word lists, let them take notes, do traditional tests. And this at a high school that claims to be TPRS.

    I was never asked to submit formal reports for how I teach, but the message is clear: get in line with the rest of the department, TEST like everyone else, assess speaking, grade writing, use novels, label kids as either good or bad at language, meet the needs of the 4 percenters, teach the present tense in 1 and the past in 2, get them ready for “college Spanish,” the list goes on…

    Is this a form of bullying? I don’t know. All I can say is the insecurity that I felt as a result of all this was terrible. But I kept on reading and trying ideas out from this blog, using the 3 steps over and over, self reflecting, letting others encourage me, etc. and things got better. At least in the classroom and with my students they did.

    The pressure you are under is real and I hope it doesn’t make you feel less than the great teacher that you are. You still have to work with the people in your building (Ben’s words), so do what you need to do but know you are not alone. Good luck!

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