Best Way to Beat the Bullies as a Teacher

Sadly, bullying does go on even in the best of schools, and it’s not just the students who get bullied. Many teachers complain of bullying and harassment at work from other members of staff. Although teaching is supposed to be a team profession, many teachers (espe­cially new or younger ones) are often bullied or made to feel inade­quate by their colleagues. One in three teachers claims to have been subject to some form of bullying at work.

Bullying is all about control, and many bullies are already in a posi­tion of power, which they abuse to their advantage. In adults, most bul­lying takes the form of long-term psychological attrition. Constant, trivial criticisms or refusals to value others’ achievements are all forms of bullying. The better the victim performs, the more the bully will judge them. Bullies may also play on insecurities or self-doubts and convince their victims that their successes are insignificant.

Bullies as Teacher Best Way to Beat the Bullies as a Teacher

Most victims do nothing to attract the bullying: they can simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the bully often sees them as some sort of threat. The victims are usually popular and well liked, and very good at their job. Most workplace bullies are disliked by everyone and often have poor people skills, although they can also be very charming and articulate. Many bullies are emotionally or profession­ally insecure, but may exhibit arrogance and refuse to admit they are in the wrong.

Bullies are often in a high position of authority over their victims. This means that most grievance procedures are meant to be conducted directly through them, which frequently suppresses most potential complaints or discourages victims from making a complaint at all.

Be aware: workplace bullying should never be ignored. Constant attacks on your self-esteem or self-worth is damaging to you and to your career, and is not acceptable behaviour from anyone. Many victims worry that they will not be taken seriously or will exacerbate the situation if they com­plain and it is this fear that many bullies play on.

What to do if you believe you are being bullied at work

  •  Get support from your family, friends and colleagues. Talk about your concerns and how it is making you feel. Keep a written record of any incidents that you believe are forms of bul­lying.
  •  Read up on your school’s grievance procedures and follow the policy exactly. Every attempt should be made to resolve prob­lems verbally in the first instance, but when this is not possible, make all complaints in writing and keep copies.
  •  Before you make an official complaint, put everything you want to say in order and concentrate on facts and events. Don’t omit anything you may later want to bring up before a complaints board, even if it seems trivial at the time.
Bullies as Teacher 1 Best Way to Beat the Bullies as a Teacher
  • Gain the support of your union and ask for advice. They will support you if you decide to make a complaint. Sometimes it is even possible to make a shared complaint with a group of teach­ers – this will help to validate your claims.
  • Remind yourself that you are a good teacher and you have done nothing wrong. You do not deserve to be bullied. Don’t let fear of repercussions prevent you from standing up for your rights.
  • Be strong and don’t back down just because things may get difficult or awkward. Bullies survive due to intimidation and fear, and frequently use their position of power to invalidate any claims. In reality, bullies are insecure, petty-minded and jealous people, and are certainly not worth your respect.

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