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Re: Bullying
Mon Oct 29, 2007 1:19pm (XFF: unknown)

You made some good points about bullying, which I abhore in any form, but I think posting negative comments anonymously on ratemyteacher is also a form of bullying. I have had my experience of being bullied by teachers, and it is tough. My mom wasn't a coddler, and taught me to face teacher bullies head on. I was the typical shy, quiet "smart girl", so it didn't come easy to me to work up the strength to confront injustices by teachers, but in the end, I'm glad I did.

I would advise my children, if they ever felt bullied by a teacher (which hasn't happened yet, as they are both so young) to document everything so when they are ready to deal with it, they have all the proof needed. This comes from my experience as a timid freshman in high school, the lone girl in an all-male mechanical drawing class led by a macho, good ol' boy teacher. It started out on the very first day, with remarks about "how cute" it was that I was in the class. (And it was my first class in the morning -- my first class ever of high school -- what a rude awakening as I started high school!) By the end of the first week, it was a regular thing that the teacher would turn on the radio while we worked independently on drawings -- to the sexist morning show of a local radio station run by a couple of neanderthals. All while I worked, I would be exposed to sexual comments about women, insulting jokes about women, etc.

At the end of the first semester, I was shocked when I got a B on my report card -- I was positive I had earned an A. It was devastating to me, as I had never had a B in my entire life! I had a straight-A record for my entire school career. I complained to my mom, showed her all my work (all As) and all my tests (all As) and asked, "How can all As average out to a B?" She said, "Ask the teacher." On top of it, I found out that my table partner, who had about a 50-50 mix of As and Bs, had received an A on his report card. I was infuriated, but scared to death, as I approached my teacher the next day. I politely asked how I received a B when my scores were all As, and he (you won't believe this!) told me his grading system was very complicated, much too complicated for me to understand, and that I shouldn't worry my "pretty little head about it." Yes, that's a direct quote! I felt utterly defeated, and complained to my mom again, who told me either to do something about it or accept it and shut up. At that point, I was too timid, and I quietly accepted it. But I started to keep track of everything in the class.

Fast forward to the end of the second semester, and again, I received a B when I should have gotten an A. Once again, when I approached the teacher, he gave me the line "It's too complicated for you to understand. Don't worry your pretty little head about it." Guess what I did? I went back to my table, picked up two binders I had prepared (with the help of my table partner who let me borrow all his work), walked right back up to him and said, "Well, here's a binder with all my work from the semester, with a cover sheet detailing all my scores, showing an average of 99. Here's another binder of my table partner's work and a cover sheet showing his average to be a 90. He received an A and I received a B. I'd like you to explain this to me, and if you think it's too complicated for me to understand, maybe we ought to take it to the principal so you can explain it to him." It was an incredible moment! The teacher got noticibly shook up, stammered that he must have made a mistake, and changed my grade on the spot! I felt so proud of myself, and vowed to deal with any future situations in a similar way.

My only regret was that I didn't go back to him about changing my first semester grade. I told my mom I was considering it after he changed my second semester grade, but she said, "You missed your chance on that one. Hopefully you learned something from it." So I accepted it, but in hindsight, I think my mom was wrong on that point, even though her approach overall was good.

I think it empowers kids to teach them to take responsibility for dealing with bullies, even adult teachers who are bullies. It gives them life skills they'll need in the future. How many of us have had a bully of a boss? I was prepared due to my experience in high school. Of course, elementary school students should not have to deal with adult bullies on their own -- their parents need to step in. But my advice of "Document everything" would still apply, but it would be up to the parents to do so.

Sorry for such a long response, but the topic of bullies is one that I feel passionate about! I'd be interested to hear how others on this board have dealt with the bullies in their lives or their children's lives.

  • BullyingHanna, Sun Oct 28 7:34pm
    It's interesting that you see it from that perspective. I feel that so often it is the children who are bullied by the teachers. Afterall, if a kid has a grievance with a teacher- who will listen?... more
    • Re: Bullying — OhioMomof2, Mon Oct 29 1:19pm
      • Re: BullyingHanna, Mon Oct 29 4:29pm
        Your experience when younger was certainly a wonderful life lesson. There are other ways for teachers to bully that perhaps would be more difficult to counteract with a record of grades. For example, ... more
        • Re: BullyingOhioMomof2, Tue Oct 30 2:13am
          Again, document, document, document! I had a teacher my sophomore year who was fair with grading, but had an attitude against women, minorities, immigrants, and anything he deemed "unAmerican." He... more
          • Does it still work in the workplace?? Gabrielle, Sat Nov 3 2:21pm
            Ah, the joy it would be if it could be the same in the workplace... *sigh* The positive thing is obviously that, being an adult, I am more mature and better know what my options are. the sad thing is ... more
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