r private school and/or medical bills related to raising a child with special needs. Hopefully, school choice will soon be an option for every student, as it will only require school systems to compete for tax dollars which will ultimately improve the quality of teachers and thus the education our children receive.
Teachers spend more hours in a week with a child then their own parents do during the school year. Taking this into consideration, one must not make light of the influence a teacher has on their students. In this role, teachers are in a position to profoundly impact their students academically and emotionally. Ask anyone, they can likely remember a teacher they admired and if there was one who took special interest in them or had a profound impact on them and how meaningful it was. Teachers have the ability to change the course of a child’s life in a positive way – and many have.
By the same token, teachers can have a devastatingly negative impact on children. Ask anyone to recall an incident that was humiliating or demoralizing by a teacher and most can, as though it happened yesterday. The sad reality is that studies have shown that teachers regularly engage in bullying behaviors. Jillian Wolf, a teacher herself who also trains teachers said the following in an article titled, “When the teacher is the bully”:
“You all want to be teachers. We’ve talked about bullying, but what you probably don’t realize is that some of the biggest offenders of bullying in schools are the staff. That’s right. I’m pointing my finger at all of you and telling you now to be careful how you conduct yourself because your actions can be just as, if not more, harmful than the actions that these students deal with in their peers. I recently read a study that told me that teachers instigate bullying on a regular basis. The ways they do this are by ignoring children that are ‘dumb,’ laughing at the jokes children make at another child, feeding into the relational aggression a la Mean Girls by taking sides or allowing it in their classrooms, lunch rooms, gymnasiums and hallways, or, what I consider to be most hurtful, going into their teacher’s lounge and commiserating about children and actively working against the better needs of the child by making the child a pariah amongst the adults as well. They also do this by writing intentionally vague and negative comments that stay in a child’s report-card file until they graduate high school. This is all BULLYING and YOU are going to buy into it…unless you consider it and stop yourself now. You can do this with self-awareness and the knowledge that you will NOT be that kind of teacher and that you are teaching to make a positive impact and not crush a child’s will.”
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In her article, Wolf goes on to share her personal story about how she was bullied by a teacher as a young child.