“A word to the wise is infuriating.”
“For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled.”
~Hunter S. Thompson~
I’ve talked about bullying in the above posts. It mainly dealt with the problem of bullying that we always seem to focus on: the students. Yet, I do not feel we are addressing the entire picture, and I feel that any bullying in schools program is missing the mark and being short sighted if it does not address the even larger issue:
Adults Who Are Bullies.
Principals who bully teachers. Teachers who bully other teachers. Parents who bully teachers. Principals &/or Teachers who bully students. Is this happening in every school? I hope not. Have I heard this happening in many schools?
Sadly, yes. Way too many. I was in a school where the principal was a bully and the entire school faculty worked in fear and loathing of her. Not everyone loathed her: she had her favorites who kissed her wazoo and were her eyes and ears and reported back to her. Fear, though? I saw grown adults go into severe conniptions whenever the principal set her observation schedule.
I never cared if she came in my room or not. She knew that. In my last year, she did ONE observation of my class, when she was supposed to do three over the year. I knew what I was doing was right, and I knew she would, to justify herself, find something to comment/get pissy about. Just so you know, in my three years under this woman, I always got S (satisfactory) on my observations and complimentary letters from her in my file, even when I was not in favor with her (which I was not my last year and a half in that school).
As to the teachers…
We have teachers who get red in the face about kids cooperatively working together, to play well with each other, to share…but it often stops there. Boundaries and territory-ism issues abound in many schools. I recently had a conversation with a teacher who was passionate about her craft, but shut down immediately when the idea of team teaching was brought up. “This is my space, and I don’t want to share it with someone else” is what she said (paraphrasing, as I don’t remember the exact words).
Teachers are isolated by the fact of being the only adult in a room (unless it’s a Team Teacher classroom or paras are in place) with anywhere from 25 to 30+ students. 30 to 1 odds!
Why do we often ask the students to do things that the adults are incapable of doing themselves?
Parents like to bully the teachers too, as they know they have power. Students like to bully the teachers. Many teachers bully the kids. Many teachers bully other teachers.
There ARE Great Teachers, Principals, Schools
So…I’d like to HEAR about those stories. Really. Where are they? Why do they make great educators? Why are there wonderful, exciting, progressive school systems in place IN AMERICA, and why are we not emulating them?