Educators: Mentors or Bullies?
We have been discussing over the last month about students being bullied or the one who does the bullying. Recently, I have had an encounter with a professor and it was not a good one. I was insulted and bullied through e-mail. She tore me down and accused me of things that were not true and she passed this along to other professor that I admire and look up to and this really got to me. I have been working so hard and in a matter of one e-mail she made me look incompetent. That being said after all the professors saw her e-mail, this event I was throwing was canceled. I had a complete melt down. This came out of no-where and I could not figure out what to say to her. I also could not believe that she was such a mean bully. At that moment I felt defeated. Once I got it together and got some advice from an amazing mentor, this incident reminded me of something that happened to my brother as a child and it made me wonder; are the kids really the ones to blame for being bullies or are they acting out what they see in the classroom?
Teachers are supposed to be an important figure in a child’s life. Besides the children’s own parents teachers see their students for six hours or more a day. Teachers are to be mentors not bullies. They are supposed to help children find their skill and to develop it, not tear it down. Teachers are supposed to pick a child up if they fall down. Teachers are supposed to stop bullying if they see it happening. Are they the real bullies and is this why teachers have not put a stop to bullying in the past? Many admit to seeing the bullying occur in the hallways but do nothing to stop it, is this because they started it? What happens when that trusted mentor turns out to be the bully; the instigator. Children act out what they see and hear every day.
When my brother was in third grade he had a teacher who was a bully to him. She was so bad that she got the whole class to pick on him. I remember him coming home one day crying because during story time he raised his hand to ask a question about the story and when he asked the teacher in front of the class called him stupid. He said after that the kids started laughing and called him stupid all day long. He even said on recess one of the kids pushed him outside and not one teacher stopped this boy from harassing my brother. Every day my brother dreaded going to school knowing what was to come. He said it did not matter if he did anything because she found something to yell at him about everyday and that it was always in front of the class. This teacher was such a bully that she even began talking to other teachers about my brother saying that he was uncontrollable. My brother is smart and he would get done with the work before all the other kids so he would get restless and this teacher never gave him anything more to do. She would wait for him to do something so she could pick on him in front of the class.
It got so bad at one point of the year that my mom and dad went in to a meeting with her. The principal, and this counselor and they told my parents that my brother had ADD and needed to be medicated. My mom said no but just to make sure she took him to the doctor. The doctor examined my brother and told my mom he did not need medication. He said he is sitting in this room calmly and listening to us, he is fine. This was a relief to my mother but this also showed her that these adult figures were not going to challenge my brother’s creative mind. They were going to keep on bullying him. It was shortly after this doctor visit that my parents decided to move my brother up a grade because this teacher was still singling him out. This was the best decision made for my brother. He still got teased shortly after moving up a grade but he soon made a good friend that he still has in his life today.
In the end, where is bullying stemming from, the students or the mentors in our school system. Are we paying these professors/teachers to be bullies? The answer is no, we are paying to be educated and to be taken care of. Parents drop their kids off everyday thinking they are in good hands and the truth may be that they are placing them right into the hand of the bully. We need to start holding teachers accountable for not stopping bullying when it occurs. Being a bystander is just as bad if not worse. Teachers need to lead by example and to be mentors and teach children respect.