Every child has said these words, and every parent has heard them: “My teacher hates me!” With the school year now in full swing, you may hear a number of complaints that your child’s teacher really hates them.
Most of the time as parents we brush it off. “No, your teacher does not hate you,” we say. “It is his job to reprimand you when you’re rude, and to assign you tough homework.”
But before you shrug off your child’s concerns, you may want to ask a few additional questions. While some children are prone to exaggeration, there’s a possibility that your child’s teacher really hates them. This can manifest in a number of ways, from unfair treatment to bullying.
According to a study conducted in partnership with the International Journal of Social Psychiatry, of 116 teachers surveyed, 45 percent admitted to bullying a student. The survey defined bullying as, “using power to punish, manipulate, or disparage a student beyond what would be a reasonable disciplinary procedure.”
More often than not, teacher bullying is psychological rather than physical. Many parents are quick to act at the first sign of physical abuse, but emotional, mental or discriminatory abuse can be difficult to identify.
If you suspect a teacher of bullying your child, talk to them. Keep an eye out for changes in behavior or a sudden drop in your child’s grades, and ask detailed questions about their interactions with their teachers.
For younger children, volunteering in the classroom may provide an opportunity to further monitor the situation. If you suspect a problem, meet with the teacher in a non-threatening way, and try to engage the teacher in healthy conversation. If all else fails and the situation does not improve, take your complaint up the ladder, and ask the principal or the school district to intervene.