A friend of mine, who teaches here in Jacksonville, called me, and said, “I’m so sad, I’m suffering, being bullied at work, attacked from afar, a seed is planted by the leader and the others follow. Even those in management” She feels sick about it and although she once loved teaching, doesn’t like teaching anymore. No, it is not the students, not the parents, the bullies are her coworkers, teachers, who have chosen her, as piranha would, and although the scenario is repetitive, those who know (because it is the same every year)turn a bind eye t it because t is not them. They, (those folks in management, with the power to stop this) do not intervene and help her. have a feeding “I’ve been crying every day for two months. I love the students, I love teaching , but, I’m being attacked all the time, and the lies are believed:, It is so sad because I know this to be a good teacher. She does not have clout because she is relatively new , but I personally know her to be energetic, positive thinking, reflective and intelligent .”. She explains, “The lies told about me by the clique of teachers, are tearing me down. but I can’t fight it. Administration believes the lies. The main aggressor creates these groups each year instead of focusing on teaching, she creates a victim, a plan and attacks from multiple angles. The corporation-like charter system (also, existing now in public schools) does not seem to notice or care how the detrimental practice affects students .
PLEASE join the conversation. Use a pseudonym if you need to, as I was once told (so smugly) by the biggest bully I know, “Your silence is my permission!” The song “Brave” this one is my favorite version, redone by the Maccabeats acapella group.
Sadly, this story is all too common, yet on the radio, news, school board meetings people ask, “Why do teachers leave the profession?” It is covert and invisible to all but the perpetrators and victim. Complaints meet accusations of “playing the victim, drama, crazy, immature, or looking for trouble, in general” ]It is not in the victim imagination. to say so, revictimizes the victim. Defining bullying is the anti-advocate response. However, it is clearly true when objectively observed. Imbalance of power, Out numbered, usually kept out of information loops, eventually let go without recourse).
As an aside_ but equally important; The special education teachers get caught up in politics or else. Sometimes the goal is to be part of the administrative group, (close to the principal for upward mobility/ladder climbing), rather than teaching. Those who don’t join in the politics are often fired. This actually saves the school a lot of money as they go without teachers for these students, yet continue adding new students to the roster at an additional 4-&5,000 or more per student. Every 10 students would pay for an additional teacher (and then some) but they start out very short of this, and harassed teachers often leave midyear, due to stress, or opportunities for a better fit for home and heath. A substitute is not hired to fill in, students just don’t get services (In all I’ve witnessed). They also do not receive services during much of the year since the special education teachers are pulled from their federally mandated hours, for a myriad of meetings, to substitute and to assist with testing from multiple departments, including ESOL, ESE and Alternate assessments throughout the year. Finally, extra paperwork is asked for, to show they have done the impossible, They are told that no excuse will work for missing student time, even though they fully know that it was made it physically impossible. The teacher is then to account when paperwork does not meet requirements critiquing every aspect of this legally required time. The removal of a special education teacher each year (in my opinion) may be providing a target for bae when parents complain or test scores do not meet requirements.
” Legal Definition Bullying is generally defined as an intentional act that causes harm to others, and may involve verbal harassment, verbal or non-verbal threats, physical assault, stalking, or other methods of coercion such as manipulation, blackmail, or extortion It is aggressive behavior that intends to hurt, threaten or frighten another person. An imbalance of power between the aggressor and the victim is often involved. Bullying occurs in a variety of contexts, such as schools, workplaces, political or military settings, and others.”
I saw this in action, and know it to be true. It is not a mistaken perception, although it is so difficult to prove (more often it sees impossible and administrations worry about the entire clique quitting). The larger picture is too distant. Instant gratification rules, and people fall in line with the expected culture, (feeling fortunate not to be the victim) Why does the “No Child Left behind”, and other educational initiatives and related laws leave so many children behind and much to be desired.
First let me clarify that, like school choice and the opportunity for some forms of competition to ensure complacency does not become the norm. However, the type of competition that is asking place in many schools rewards teachers and administrations that hoard knowledge, compete by obliterating the competition, and favors the worker who are adept at political tactics rather than rewards for teaching. I wish I could get the message to someone who can change this. I feel that the problem is transparent to people in governing bodies and administrative positions.
Here are some of the things that are being allowed to happen.
1- Teachers , who used to be considered professionals, who have 4-8 years of college to earn that, are not treated as professionals. Paying the price for previous tenured stereotypes of teachers who took advantage, but not receiving tenure and having their enthusiasm for teaching squashed.
2-We teach teachers to engage students with activities, provide mentoring and use experiential methods to accommodate learning modalities, However, we teach teachers in the old lecture method, expect them to learn by watching a powerpoint or reading material (never providing application) and provide mentors who are only mentors in their title. They do not have allocated time, so there never is time, questions are bothersome to them, and often they feel that they would be giving away trade secrets to their competition. New teachers who ask for help are often shamed into “never asking again.” . “Don’t you know that” ,or, “Certainly, you learned that in ..” Others see and hear the whispers about the incompetence of those who ask for help. Noone wants to train their replacement. How can they win the teacher of the year if they help others excel. That award is given to often for ulterior motives, keep a teacher who is leaving, stop a teacher from complaints, or favor a friend) Such a shame, because this affects the students.
3- Office politics have no place in teaching. Although it happens everywhere to a small extent, the culture of teaching is a breeding ground for adult bullying, cliques and ostracizing. If you want to make your building the tallest, you shouldn’t do it by knocking down everyone else’s building, (Approximation of a quote by Jim Rohn).When teaching became a competitive sport, the collaborative learning that must take place quit existing. Yes, you will see what appears to be collaborative sharing of information, but their are those included in he knowledge and those intentionally left out. The “haves and the have nots”. If one person is the outsider, they become the “fall guy” for everything. A simple firing of that teacher answers the questions, and saves the principal, and others teachers. Students are placed according to level and higher performers are paced with the favored friends (Of the principal or other deciding admin. ) The culture f any place is decided from the top down.
4- Mastery of content: becoming a master teacher.. Teachers are moved from grade level to grade level a) During the year b) Moving from year to yer prevents teachers from gaining true mastery of a grade level (Master teachers make students excel through their stumbling blocks) and how to overcome deficits. Teachers . also spend a lot on tools that assist struggling students. These tools vary diversely from one grade level to another c) Moving each year.
5- Wasted time– Teachers physically have to move their entire classroom each year. Moving each year is now a regular expectation even when remaining in the same grade level and school. It adds a physical requirement to the position and FYI-(moving is on the top ten list for stress. (Teachers are sometimes required to move multiple times in a year without assistance). in addition to a multitude of reports, paperwork, hall duty, committees and meetings remove the time that an instructor could be giving students direct, individual instruction. Under immense pressure, teachers rush to finalize the many forms of reporting (with constant fear of being fired/non-reappointed). Even the observations that occur for reviews require the teacher to do paperwork before and after. These other priorities steal away classroom instructional time which should be the priority. As they struggle to provide this and to dodge grenades
—(gossip grenades, that cause teachers to prove their worth over and over, disprove accusations and still teach , smile at the students as these perpetrators bring the arguments right into their classrooms in front of students. When they ask for assistance, it is noted that they “have trouble getting along, or teaching, managing paperwork, etc…) of micromanagement by the competitive bullies.) the students struggle through worksheets and get in trouble for acting out (which occurs with lack of engagement as well as lack of understanding). Additionally, emails, texts, and other communications including impromptu meetings,
1-Corporate America, Capitalist and competitive approach to education. 2- Administrators remove resources from special ed departments, requiring teachers to wear more hats than humanly possible. Teachers who began with ideals, find themselves leaving the initial goal of the student welfare behind. Other teachers realize that if they do not comply with the culture, they will be unemployed. For this reason, many feel compelled to follow and overlook the inequities, unethical remarks which undermine not only co workers but their ability to contribute to their highest degree, but also create a culture of malice that is witnessed by our youth. Who will be equipped ,in the next generations to run our country in a free and equal, but also knowledgeable manner if we allow these undermining practices to steal their educational years in this manner.
__Disclaimer, Please accept my apologies for any missing or repeated letters. I have severe limitations for typing, and try to preview but ultimately will miss something. Please feel free to drop me a note (In my email link ) if you notice anything. I hope the notes you leave add to this discussion as well. I understand that I have provided a single side of the issue that you may not have been aware of. If you were not “awoke” to this before, please read the stories, and try to look deeper to those around you. If you are an administrator, the people who bring you gifts, smile at you daily (sure to remember every detail about you and show you, their boss, constant kindness and concern) while inviting you to ongoing events and parties may be the perpetrator; (bully) to one or more of your quiet but diligent workers.. If you are in charge of creating the culture, so please make it unacceptable, and reward those who are quietly helpful to your new teachers, students and even parents. The we versus them mentality is divisive and destructive to the school you love.