8 Ways to Deal with Teachers Who Bully
I have had this post saved as a draft for a while. Every teacher at one point has dealt with someone who bullies. A few months back, I was involved in a situation where I was singled out, and surprise surprise…I was the one on the chopping block.
Here is what I learned from experience:
- Taking a day to assess the situation was the best thing I could have done. I knew what really mattered, and at the end of the day, it wasn’t worth it to argue or defend myself right away.
- There are some people that will continue to be influenced by a select few people. It’s human nature to “join the crowd,” because they do not want to be singled out either.
- I was put into a situation where I had no voice. I was always told to not talk about anybody with a group of people who isn’t there to defend his/herself. I found myself asking, “Are these the people I want to be associated with?” This also made me realize that I had a choice to allow this to bother me or not.
- I shouldn’t involve myself with people/teachers who have pack mentalities. I never had before, so why did I do it? Subscribing to a particular group of people can hinder your thoughts and beliefs. If you have read pieces of my blog, you will know that I form my own opinions, and I am not afraid to say what I think.
- My biggest regret is keeping this post as a draft. Until recently, I came across a post from Jennifer over at Simply Kinder. The words she chose to describe her interactions in her article were almost mirrored to my experience. So I wanted to piggy-back off her article to give you 10 ways you can deal with teachers who bully.
8 Ways to Deal with Teachers Who Bully
1. Recognize that you are being bullied.
First, ask yourself if you are actually being bullied. Perhaps it could be the way you feel. Maybe it’s the way you are interpreting the situation. Perhaps the opposing teacher has similar feelings towards you. When you rule the above out, you need to identify that it is in fact a situation where you are getting bullied.
2. Confront the teacher who is bullying you.
Use ‘I messages.’ Don’t place blame on the teacher, just tell him/her how you feel. Sometimes if they understand how their actions are making you feel, it puts things in perspective for them. This is something that is the most obvious thing to do. Because many of us avoid conflict as much as possible, it can be the most difficult. I wish I had taken my own advice during my first years of teaching. I have found this strategy of going straight to the source the best way to solve any conflict. If everything that is happening is true, and you are sincere, the teacher has nothing else to say except, “Okay, I am sorry.” (Or something like that)
3. Understand denial.
Understand that there are people in this world that never think they do anything wrong. If you have confronted this teacher, and they don’t feel they have done anything wrong, you can’t make them think any differently.
4. Ask for help from administration.
Now I understand that sometimes the administration is the problem when it comes to being bullied. Whether it is them doing the bullying, or they are allowing it. However, if they are part of the problem, perhaps they can be part of the solution. Usually, teachers who bully have been given powers by the administration. If these powers are taken away, the bullying behavior may stop. Not acknowledging or giving power to teachers who bully goes a long way. It’s incredible to see that shift in power take place.
I had issues with an administrative figure in my second and third year of teaching. I still have a log of every interaction I have had with her. She would never attack my teaching, as she valued me as a part of her staff. But because I was close to 23 years old, she used that in her favor. You learn as you grow, and you realize that these “power figures” aren’t very powerful if you stand up to them. However, at the time, I emotionally, physically mentally didn’t have the skills to stand up to her. So I documented everything. It was very easy to document using Google Drive. I had a spreadsheet with links to every email, note, conversation, meeting, staff development, etc. I would save screenshots, emails, notes, etc. and link them in my spreadsheet. I would also write some of the things she said verbatim in a journal as we were in staff meetings. If she ever decided to use her power against me in a negative way, I had every past interaction with dates and times. I still keep that document today, and I look at it from time to time to remind myself how good I have it now that I am not in that environment anymore.
6. Find a support system.
Surround yourself with a one or two good colleagues who share the same mindset as yourself. I choose people who have a hard working mindset, but also choose to work hard and leave after their work is done. Confide in them, and allow them to give you advice on future interactions. When I am extremely upset about something, I call the same friend. I vent to her, and I ask her if it’s worth fussing over. She always talks me down, and I end up sleeping on it. I also have another friend who was very strategic in her interactions with teachers who held power. She was a life-saver in guiding me. Having a strong support system is vital to dealing with bullying behavior by other teachers.
I started keeping to myself and a few close friends, instead of mingling with everybody on the staff. I have found that I am happier, and healthier. I have also found that by not surrounding myself with teachers who directly or indirectly bully, it gives them fewer opportunities to do so.
8. Realize that some people just don’t deserve your time or effort.
Whatever the situation may be, the more you allow these people to occupy your thoughts and the actions, more your happiness will drain. We are teachers for the kids. Most of us did not become teachers for any other reason. Let’s keep that in the forefront of our minds as we live each day. A wise friend once told me, “If it won’t matter next week, month, year….don’t spend a second worrying about it now.”
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Be sure to head on over to Simply Kinder to Read her article: