I think my son is getting bullied by his teacher. Maybe bullying is a strong word, but he is definitely a target! He is always in trouble with his teacher and receiving some type of disciplinary action and it is getting excessive. The teacher claims that my son is a constant interruption in her class and interferes with the other students. Of course, he denies that he is disrupting class, and from his viewpoint he feels the teacher is picking on him and I am beginning to agree. Don’t get me wrong, my son is no angel, but he is also not the heathen that his teacher makes him out to be. He is a normal nine-year-old boy with normal nine-year-old energy. I think his teacher is overreacting and unnecessarily singling him out from the rest of the class. I’m tired of getting emails and phone calls about every little thing!
Dear Tired Parent:
Communication is key! It is a good thing that your son’s teacher keeps you in the loop and informs you when she has issues with him in the classroom. Teaching is a demanding job, especially when you have a room full of students “with energy.” I can imagine that the teacher is just as tired of making phone calls and writing emails as you are of receiving them. It appears to me that your son’s teacher is reaching out to you for help and support. If she was simply picking on your son, I don’t think she would clue you in through constant telephone calls and emails.
There is definitely an issue here and I think it can best be solved with a face-to-face conversation with your son’s teacher. It may even be helpful that after the two of you talk one-on-one, that you bring your son into the meeting. With everyone present, this should shed some light on the real issues. If your son is acting out in class, this meeting will make it clear to him that you and his teacher are on the same page and that he needs to get his act together. If the teacher is making mountains out of molehills, this will help her see how her actions are affecting your son and that she may need to tone it down and only solicit your support when necessary. It will also send the message that you are present and heavily involved in your son’s education and will stand up when you have to.
Calm down, and take a few breaths before you go into this meeting. I understand you are wanting to support and protect your son, but our children have been known to turn into different people as soon as they step off the school bus. And you cannot sweep bad behavior under the rug. If your son is being disruptive and interrupting the classroom and other students, you need to deal with his behavior. This does not mean you have a terrible son, it just means he needs some “reinforcements.”
As for students being bullied by teachers, I do not condone a teacher taking out frustrations on any student (yelling, threatening, humiliating students in front of the class, etc.), especially to the point where that student feels “picked on.” This is damaging to the student’s educational experience and affect how the student interacts with authority in the future. If this meeting reveals that your son is getting bullied, this is definitely an issue for administrative authority. Bullying is bullying, even if it comes from a teacher!
Tamara Hartley is Your Advice Guru and the author of Stop Wasting Your Time Blaming Others for Your Life, REAL Advice from REAL Experience: Advice, Tips and Strategies for Your Life Relationships, and Career and the Been There Done That Wrote a Book About It! book series. She uses her personal life experiences and lessons learned to give others a different perspective and help them make critical decisions in their life, relationships and careers. Read advice archives at www.YourAdviceGuru.com. Email questions to advice@YourAdviceGuru.com or on Twitter @DrTamaraHartley using the hashtag #AskTamara.
Tamara is also a personal success and “How-To” coach and helps individuals figure out the “how” so that they can make their dreams a reality. Learn more about her coaching programs at www.YourPersonalSuccessCoach.com.