Teachers Need Support Too

You see, no one has control over another person’s actions. There is no one way that works 100% of the time to stop a bully.

Teachers can feel helpless when it comes to behavior in their classroom.  Last spring I had a very well respected teacher say to me, “I became a teacher to teach, not to discipline.”  I understand the frustration this teacher feels.  In order to be good at any job, we must acknowledge unwanted obstacles…things that are not the way they are supposed to be. In my mind, there are two options:

  • Fighting those obstacles
  • Addressing the obstacles and working towards fixing them

In my experience, fixing those obstacles is the easiest and fastest way to get the job done. I wanted to share a comment a teacher wrote on one of my blogs, as well as my response.

Shaista Ghaffar, Teacher at Peel Board of Education, Toronto, Canada area: “Cyberbullying/Bullying is not a problem among the students, there are teachers who are bullied by the students. Last June two of my colleagues took stress leave because they were constantly bullied by their students. The administrators did nothing to help the teachers”.

My response: Shaista, Thank you for your comments. You are correct in saying that there are some teachers who are bullied by students and correct about saying that many times people who are being bullied feel helpless and unsupported.

In my experience, administrators do things that they believe to be the right course of action. It is typical that the other teachers, students and parents are not privy to the course of action that the administrator has taken. Students say that to me all the time, “Ms. Brown, that kid bullies and the school does nothing.”  It is not that the school did nothing but it is just not appropriate to share the consequences with the entire school community.

The other things I see often are: The school takes the actions they think are appropriate but those actions do not correct the bullying behavior.  You see, no one has control over another person’s actions.  There is no one way that works 100% of the time to stop a bully.

One of the most common things I see is that the school administrators (or teachers in the matter of kids being bullied in the classroom) don’t know what to do to correct the problem!

I have spent 1000′s of hours teaching administrators and teachers strategies to create and maintain a positive school climate.  In order to create that, and before you will have success in stopping the bullying, you have to know how to address mean, negative and hurtful behavior.  You have to address the small stuff first. Our programs are simple and they work!

Jill Brown


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Aidan September 14, 2012 at 10:15 PM
The very first sentence is revealing. "Teachers can feel helpless when it comes to behavior in their classroom." Sorry, if a teacher has such discipline issues there's something fundamentally wrong. Competent teachers know from the jump that the creation of a serious and purposeful environment is the key to a successful classroom atmosphere. The teacher sets the tone. Kids have a sixth sense. They KNOW when a teacher is there because they exude seriousness and purposefulness. If there is a serious issue regarding on-going student decorum, well, place that issue at the feet of the teacher. That teacher didn't demand the respect through their actions, poise, and demeanor ... and the kids picked that up in a snap. Kids want teachers to be in charge ... to exude confidence and competence. When they sense otherwise they'll behave otherwise. And, in this case, "otherwise" is not what the teacher wants. Kids will immediately pick up the seriousness of a teacher. And kids will sense when someone of merit is in charge. Don't blame the kids.
Maria C. September 19, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Aidan, just curious, are you a teacher yourself? Are you speaking from experience or just expressing your opinion?
Kevin September 29, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I think if you substitute the word parents everywhere you wrote teacher, you would be right on the money. Discipline, respect and proper behavior begins and ends at home. A child's behavior is a direct reflection of the parents.
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