Why are teachers allowed to scream at kids?
April 21, 2011 8:15 AM Subscribe
Why is it legal for teachers to treat kids in a way that you could never treat adults in a workplace? And if a parent wants to think about addressing this archaic situation in terms of the system (rather than just moving one's child to another class, for example) how would one even start to think about doing this?
posted by Tylwyth Teg to education (52 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My 10 year old is in a special program for advanced/gifted learners. This means she had to change schools to go here.
Last year her teacher was a nightmare. This year her teacher is absolutely wonderful. And next year, the teacher she's slated for has a history of screaming, humiliating, and even throwing things when kids aren't completely silent, don't seem to be paying close attention, or when they don't immediately hop to follow her directions.
Most teachers think my kid is terrific and treat her difficulties as secondary to her abilities. But from talking to other parents, I know the teacher next year (like the one last year) will not be able to see who she is beyond the quirky parts. And that the way this teacher deals with frustration is to scream and yell. When you walk by this classroom, it looks depressed and silent.
The gifted program is here to begin with because it was legislated that, as a form of special ed, there is a right to an advanced and enriched program. I don't think my kid should have to forfeit that right just to avoid next year's teacher. But she is a quirky, offbeat and spacy kid. She's very smart and creative, but she's not able to be as organized and attentive as easily some others are. DOn't get me wrong. I know the teacher has a right to certain expectations and to have a smooth-running classroom. But just like some kids have a harder time reading, others really, REALLY have a harder time being straight-and-narrow. She's truly wired a little differently. Yes she has to learn to be organized. But she still deserves the education of this public program which accepted her, and to be taught without emotional abuse or humiliation. Her current teacher this year does a great job of this, but last year was a complete trauma. And next year promises to be the same as last.
Please, I don't want this to be a debate about whether my kid should have to tow the line. I believe in discipline. But I don't believe an adult should be allowed to scream, humiliate and throw things in the classroom. If this were any other situation the screamed-at person would be able to sue!
I talked to the principal. She said the teacher is "excellent' and has "high standards" and that she would "talk to her" about the screaming.
TLDR: I want to think about changing the very culture of what's accepted in public schools so that screaming, yelling, humiliating, etc go the way of corporal punishment. It's emotionally abusive and I think it's archaic to blame the kid for abusive behavior. What can I possibly do on a structural level? I can't believe this problem is beyond repair! My child has a community here and I feel she has a right to go to her public school, and not have to change schools yet again, without being screamed at for (nondefiant) quirkiness, spaciness and disorganization (traits that don't stop her from getting 100 on every test, btw -- the issue is about how teachers maintain the order and feel of the class, not about learning.) Again I am not saying that kids should be allowed to do whatever they want and I do empathize with teachers. But I don't think they should be allowed to scream or humiliate. Please help. Practical advice! What can a parent DO?