Bullying by adults
This is difficult as adults are role models and we expect them to do the right thing.
If you feel that a teacher regularly humiliates you, uses sarcasm, insults or makes negative comments about you, your appearance, background, personality or academic progress then this is a serious issue.
If you feel threatened or intimidated by a teacher, you will need to report this as soon as possible. Talk to your parents, the school counsellor, your year head or the school principal.
It may be helpful to bring a friend with you. If a teacher is bullying you, your classmates will certainly have noticed that something is happening. Ask them for their help.
As you go through secondary school, the relationship you have with some teachers may be less formal than with others, some teachers may enjoy some joking and light-hearted slagging in the classroom. If everyone in the classroom joins in with this and the slagging involves all people equally, then this is okay. If you think you are being singled out though, then this is a problem.
Also, a teacher may make a joke about something and classmates who are bullying may use this comment as another thing to jibe about. The teacher may not realise that this light-hearted comment will be used by the people who are bullying.
If this is happening to you, you could discreetly say this to your teacher, ‘I know you were just joking with me in the classroom, but in the yard I’ve been getting a hard time.’
Most likely your teacher will be glad you spoke up about it and will try to understand things from your point of view. Probably the teacher will also want to help you deal with what’s happening, or suggest that you talk to the Guidance Counsellor.
It is not bullying if a teacher criticises your work in a fair way or, if after you have done something wrong, your teacher puts in place some type of consequences for you such as extra homework or detention. Constructive criticism and discipline are a part of school life.
It is unfair if a student wrongly accuses a teacher of bullying just because they disagree or don’t like it when the teacher has to put rules in place.