Last week, I read the post The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About by Gretchen Kelly and an avalanche of memories came back. Not just this post triggered them, there is also the fact that recently I have been thinking a lot about teaching, good and bad methods, about teachers good and bad. So I had already thought about the bad and the amazing teachers I had in the past. But I had not though about the elements that made some  bad teachers horrible, until I read the post I just mentioned.

How many women remember the teacher that made them uncomfortable? The teacher that made them pick up the turtle neck sweater they dispised so much? How many girls still do this today? How many bad grades are the result of being scared of a teacher?

I remember a gym teacher I had in high school, he apparently had a wife and four kids, but that did not stop him from being strange around us girls. It was starting to get warmer, and the other girls and I had a conversation that we would probably wear shorts to next week’s class. This teacher decided that eavesdropping and giving his commentary was a good idea. So what did he decide to say? He told us that if we want to wear shorts we’d better shave our legs! If we want to come to class with hairy legs, then that would be our right, no male gym teacher should advise the girls on that point, and generally teenage girls are very very careful to not have a micro millimetre of hair showing on their bare legs… Well I think none of us wore shorts the following week.

Bad grade That same teacher was not just creepy then. I recall that we were doing some gymnastic exercises and he wanted to show us how to do a backwards roll, I was his example. I ended up with my neck hurting. In the following week, on the day that I was meant to have gym class I woke up with my eyes all swollen and the impossibility to open them. I was downright scared to go to class, my body decided that I should be sick in order to not go to school that day.

The math teacher, I had in my last year of school, was not all that girl friendly either. Or maybe he was too girl friendly? For one he would yell at us a LOT, he was an alcoholic and thus quite drunk at times, if we were unlucky he’d be drunk at 8 in the morning… But that was not even the worst element of his behaviour. Right at the beginning of the school year, he had me go up to the blackboard to write down the class notes. Not feeling all that comfortable around this choleric teacher I was already intimidated. I don’t know why, but for some reason he decided that it was a good idea to start patting me on the back and stroking my arm.

I ended up scared of this teacher for the whole year, scared to a point that I failed every test. I was lucky that he was not in the room for my final exam, which I passed with flying colours!

The question is just how do we deal with such a situation? No one seems to tell the school, as the teachers stay around. Parents don’t know how to handle it. The authority of a teacher is always something that we are careful with, telling off a teacher, what will the effects be?

Now dear teachers, don’t touch your students, don’t tell them to shave their legs! Don’t make the girls in your classroom feel the urge that they shall wear turtle necks!

And dear girls and boys witnessing this, try to find a teacher you trust and tell them about it. Tell your parents.

Dear parents, if your kids are in such a situation, maybe it’s time to let the school know? After all if your kid is bullied by another you make sure the principal knows.

Have you been through such a situation? Have you witnessed something like that? Ask your children if you sense something is up!


© Solveig Werner 2015. All rights reserved.

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21 thoughts on “Horrible Teachers No Girl Wants To Have

  1. I never experienced anything like what you described. In the U. S. teachers aren’t allowed to touch students. It’s frustrating for teachers a lot of times. I know that as the teachers of sixth grade students, I was not allowed to touch my students. They could be having an doctrinal break down yet until could not rich them. Not a hug. But a stroke of encouragement or empathy.

    I know some of what you describe still happens. It shouldn’t. And when it does, it should be reported.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the US they are definitely a lot stricter about all of these things. I had a teacher in the US who told us how there was a time when he could paddle the kids, the thing is he was a really good teacher, just using his “rights”. He said that in the past a student who misbehaved had the choice between detention or the paddle, but he’d only paddle the kid once, the other ties it would always be detention… so things have evolved.
      I am sorry that you could not even comfort the kids the way they needed too. There needs to be an in-between solution.
      It should be reported, but many people do shy away from it, especially if you are in a good school (in Germany they had a HORRIBLE scandal in an elitist boarding school for boys, just because people were too scared to report abuse).

      Like

  2. Oh, I could tell some stories from when I was at school, the drunk teacher, the one we were warned – by another member of staff – never to be alone with in the classroom, the hurtful and patronising comments from female PE teacher…Happily things seemed to have changed at the schools or if there are problems they are picked upon straightaway. Whereas we used to accept things as that is the way it was, students – and parents – question a lot more and are more savvy. Thankfully. Interesting post, Solveig.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow when you are warned by another member of staff, that just shows the lack of action mechanisms that excited…
      The high school that I was in was considered elitist, and I have the feeling in those schools people are less likely to report things, after all it could risk your continuation in the school. The drunk teacher, everyone knew he was drunk, some other teachers tried to do report but only came upon deaf ears…
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is terrible! I can’t believe that kind of thing exists nowadays! Or at all! A teacher is in a position to help guide students, and mold them into the strong, independent adults that they will one day be. To cripple them with inappropriate behavior is wrong! I can’t understand how those people ever manage to get jobs in the first place, much less keep them. Though, I must say that the worst part is when the teacher frightens the student enough that the student doesn’t say anything. It’s that kind of silence that keeps the teachers around. That kind of silence should not be allowed and students should always speak up about something, but with being in such a difficult stage in life, it’s hard enough for them to speak out about it to their friends, much less another adult. *sigh* I wish there was a way this could stop once and for all. It’s so tragic the impact it has on young people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is! In my school teachers would always underline the negative aspects too, and often lacked the capacity to encourage, which did “break” quite a few kids. Sadly bringing down kids, telling them how bad they did, how stupid they are is a common method in French schools.
      Often times when the people get teaching jobs here they are civil servants and cannot be fired (or it is a very long, laborious and costly process).
      In Germany they had an elite boarding school for boys that had pedophile teachers in its ranks for years (more than 30 I think) and no one said anything, the students were just too scared. And as I said in other comments, I have the feeling people are very much less likely to report inappropriate behaviour if the school is an elitist one or difficult to get into. Opening your mouth (even if you should) puts at risk the kid’s continuation in the establishment, thus it isn’t done…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This! This is absolutely and dreadfully terrible. I wish more people could see this and become aware of the problems that exist nowadays.
        And I completely understand the part about elite schools. The big name universities are always trying to cover up scandals (all scandals, not just this kind) and that’s so wrong!
        Ugh… I can’t even imagine how a child must feel after something like that, the kind of trouble they go through to trust and behave normally again. It’s so sad!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It is!
          For me it was definitely not as bad as it was for many people. I had a lot of good, actually amazing teachers who I could trust in. But no one ever dared to speak badly about a teacher to an adult, and I guess that might still be that way today…

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That’s so terrible! I can’t even count the number of teachers I talked badly about with my parents, but none of it ever had to do with that kind of behavior (thank my lucky stars.) Though, I know people whom this happened to (after the fact.) Dreadful. It sickens me to think about.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. well I did talk to my parents about the bad teachers, but they could not really do much (I guess language barriers and stuff) well my bad math teacher who I mentioned in the article, actually had other members of staff rebelling against him, but it was no use (but that was due to the fact that even though the teachers worked in the same school they were employed by different countries).

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Solveig, I can SO RELATE to your experiences with teachers and I live in the U.S. I’m a lot older than you, so the rules have changed, but there are STILL bad teachers out there. We had drunk elementary teachers and high school teachers that scared the kids so badly that one girl wet her pants. Because of my bad relationship at home, I could NOT trust teachers either. When I look back I only had one teacher that I should have gone to talk to for support, but then I was too afraid of even her.

    In these days, my children have had teachers who were having sex with their students. One of these teachers even ended up in jail because of his actions. Discussing teachers is a VERY hot topic with me. I know times have changed but it is still critical that children feel safe with a teacher or know how to reach a safe teacher or principal. Plus hopefully the children can trust their parents. Finding someone safe to talk with is essential. Thank you for caring about children!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think times have changed, but not all teachers have changed.
      When in middle school (in the US) this was in the school year 2001/2002 there was a teacher who had stories floating about him, he was one of the teachers that led the teens to zip up their hoodies, and wear turtle necks to class, at an age when all girls want to show off their freshly sprouted cleavage…
      I just really don’t want my cousins, my daughter or any kid to have to go through this. When I see my depressed students, who pour their heart out to me when I tutor them, then I think there still are things that have to be done…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You make an excellent point. The anti-bullying campaign is huge … but some authority figures like teachers still engage in bullying techniques – although today they are not allowed to touch a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Joanne. Teachers can be horrible bullies… It definitely isn’t cool if teachers start only underlining bad things (mistakes etc) or saying that the kid will never make it in life. This does happen way to often, when there is a sexual tint on all of it, then it gets even worse.

      Liked by 1 person

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