Teachers Wielding Kryptonite Weaken Your Influence

Hard to believe that a teacher would target your child, but teachers are human and humans are not all benevolent.

Article first published as Lex Luthor’s Kryptonite Weakens Your Influence on Technorati.

You are a superhero!

You’re saving the world by powerfully influencing your kids to become awesome adults. You’re walking your talk about integrity, respect, accountability, and personal leadership. You’re making good on all your parenting promises. It’s awesome and you’re powerful, yet your power may be weakened by the other adults who also influence your child:  clergy, athletic coaches, other parents, and teachers. What happens to your power when one of them wields kryptonite?

Teachers may have the greatest opportunity to influence kids Teacher Opportunity to Influence 350

Consider that the average school day is nearly 7 hours and that kids spend another 3 doing homework. A teacher’s influence stretches beyond the classroom – they may even have more of your child’s attention than you! That’s why MetLife’s  recent study concerns me.

More and more teachers are unhappy. The very people to whom we turn for help in preparing our kids for adulthood are starting to dislike their jobs. According to MetLife’s study, teacher satisfaction is at its lowest point in 25 years—not good because unhappiness can spill over into the classroom.

The study found that teachers who aren’t satisfied are more likely to complain about certain challenges:

  • Teaching diverse learners
  • Maintaining a rigorous learning environment
  • Inadequate school budgets
  • Limited opportunities for professional development

They are also more critical of other teachers and of their principal. It appears that rising from the decrease in job satisfaction there may be an increase in finger pointing. It’s no stretch then to also find that teachers reporting low job satisfaction are also less likely to have students performing at or above grade level in language arts and mathematics.

Teachers with Kryptonite

I believe teachers are every bit the superheroes that parents are, and that a passion to serve is behind their career choice. Teaching is a calling into a job that is as tough as the stakes are high. The vast majority of teachers are wonderful human beings who offer the very best of themselves, and yet a few have lost their way. Perhaps “super villain” is harsh, however what would you call a teacher who screams, threatens, or humiliates a child?

Simple definition of bully behavior:  To hurt someone else because you can.

There’s little direct research regarding teacher bullying, however the available studies suggest that bullying by teachers may be a contributor to an overall fearful school community and even a cause of student behavior problems.

According to Stuart Twemlow, MD as many as 45% of elementary school teachers report that they have bullied a student at least once and that approximately 18% bully frequently. The research suggests an even bigger problem for secondary schools.

Crafty Kryptonite

Some teachers are more overt about abuses while others are skilled manipulators. A teacher might try convincing a student that he or she misunderstood a belittling comment or that a student is attempting to shifting attention away from poor academic performance by calling the teacher’s behavior into question.

It’s easy to dismiss a kid’s teacher complaint. Kids are prone to exaggerate and they can’t see the big picture in classroom dynamics and responsibility. Perhaps you have a personal bias about teachers’ benevolence preventing your objectivity. I was guilty of discounting my son’s pleas for help with a bully teacher until a classmate’s mother shared with me the regular stories of humiliation her child witnessed against my son. I hadn’t wanted to believe that a teacher would lie or target my child, but teachers are human and humans are not all benevolent.

What To Do

I want to be sure that I express my deep gratitude and appreciation to the overwhelming majority of teachers who are superheroes. The ripples from your work encompass my whole family. Without your passion and dedication, I could not fulfill my parenting promises. Thank you.

For parents with questions or stories to share, there are a few places you can go on the web.  I caution you to use your objectivity and intuition as you take in what’s offered. You can’t understand a situation from one or two comments, but you may find it helpful in identifying a pattern to be concerned about.

Teacher Bullies 250

Related Articles:  Stepford Students, Profound Relationships,

Related Tip of the Week:  Keeping It Real, Protect Childhood,

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Author: Lorraine Esposito

Lorraine Esposito Lorraine@Peacemaker-Coach.com 914-410-7502 Lorraine Esposito is a certified professional life coach, mentor coach, owner of The Center for Coaching Mastery at Westchester Community College in New York, and nationally recognized author of The Peacemaker Parent, Solving Problems for Today, Teaching Independence for a Lifetime, Lorraine is the featured life coach for a popular New York radio station, WFAS 103.9 FM and is in collaboration with and featured blogger for the National Football League and USA Football adding a ‘coach approach’ to coaching youth sports. Lorraine’s client base includes CEO’s in the entertainment industry, White House and Capitol Hill public affairs staff, entrepreneurs, global TED speakers, award winning writers, new coaches just starting out, successful business women between 40 and 55 looking for more out of life, and parents needing a little help making good on their parenting promises. Lorraine’s career matches the diversity in her coaching practices. Starting out in the rural mid-west, Lorraine has owned four small businesses; the first, an automobile repair center, started at age 16. Her corporate experience is mainly in negotiating multimillion dollar contracts as the buyer of domestic in-flight food and beverages for Trans World Airlines and then as a procurement manager for the New York City Transit Authority. Lorraine’s strength has always been creatively finding solutions to even the most complicated goal. In addition, Lorraine’s 30 years as a professional fitness coach continues to add depth to all her endeavors. She has been featured in various print, broadcast, and on-line media and is a public speaker regarding personal leadership to community and school-based audiences. Lorraine lives in New York with her husband and two teenage sons.

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