Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bully Teachers

Speaking of teachers, here is something all students and parents should know.

Narcissistic teachers (and weak teachers) use something I call "scapegoat discipline." Believe it or not, they actually target a kid in each section at the beginning of the year. This kid is the selected class scapegoat. Whenever the teacher isn't getting what he or she wants, they start yelling at the scapegoat for something.

The reason is simple: Only one kid gets abused, so the others and their parents don't care.

But all kids are intimidated by the show. In other words, the teacher abuses one kid to control the others. Simply by making an example of the scapegoat.

This is nothing rare. Every schoolyard bully does the same thing. Every brutal dictator does too. The Jews served Hitler in this capacity for example, just as the Christians served Nero.

The abuse of the scapegoat escalates to shocking levels, just the most vicious looks and snarling and contempt you ever saw - way over the top. Truly, anyone who witnesses it should think Teacher belongs in a padded cell, but incredibly these smooth talkers get away with it, year after year.

Of course the kids hate these blow ups. But who do they blame for them? Not the teacher. They are afraid of the bully teacher, so they suck up to him or her. They have nothing but admiring praise for him or her. They blame the scapegoat for always doing something to set the bully off.

So now the scapegoat is a pariah, on top of it all. Anyone who blows that off is devoid of empathy. Kids kill themselves over stuff like that. It ain't no minor matter. And every adult who knows of it is morally obligated to protect any child from it.

It ain't good for your unabused child either. It sucks him into the ganging-up on the scapegoat, which he will have to project his shame for. It teaches him to blame the victim and suck up to bullies. So ALL parents should be concerned when they discover this happening to ANYONE in one of their child's classes.

The gradebook can be evidence in some cases. For, at least in one case I know of, the bully teacher would actually mark the scapegoat on the seating chart the first or second day so she could remember whom to target.

The target seems selected on basis of vulnerability in the cases I know of. He could be a kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Maybe she's a wallflower. Maybe he has been in trouble with the school before. Maybe a kid with no father and drunk for a mother. Whatever.

Weak teachers who use scapegoat discipline always impressed me as slipping into it rather than plotting it. They don't act so terrorizingly crazy when they get mad either. They are just trying to blame their incompetence on having a section "stacked" with "bad kids," so that the constant uproar coming from their door ain't their fault.

They will often target two or three kids in a section (instead of one) to take all the blame. Scapegoat discipline just passes the blame though, it doesn't establish discipline, because the weak teacher can just scream. She can't terrorize anyone. So, the gross unfairness just provokes more disrespect of her than it deters.

By Kathy Krajco