Teacher calls student a loser -- is this going too far?

@phyrre (2324)
United States
March 13, 2010 7:27am CST
I woke up this morning to read this news article: http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/teacher-writes-loser-on-child-s-assignments-18593231 Basically, the problem has been ongoing through the school year. On a sixth grader's paper, their teacher has constantly been writing 'loser'. He marks out words and writes loser over them. When the parents complained to the principal, the comments stopped for a while, but they resurfaced again on a test that said '-20% for being a loser'. The student even said that he had taken her pencil box and threw it in the hallway and she got in trouble from another teacher when she went to get it for disrupting a class. Is it just me, or should this have been stopped long ago? The teacher has to be 30+ and it's not at all acceptable for him to be bullying a sixth grader. Period. Why would anyone think this was ok? His excuse is that it's "his way to relate to the children", but just because children at that age bully others doesn't mean it's ok for him to do it, too, and obviously he's not relating well since this little girl is very upset about it. There were even some parents that defended his methods! This honestly baffles me. When did it become ok for an adult to bully children? I mean, this is even borderline mental abuse, especially taking points off of a test just because they're a "loser". Of course, that's all just my opinion. What do you all think? Is it ok for this teacher to do this?
4 people like this
14 responses
@marguicha (90519)
• Chile
15 Mar 10
I would acuse the abusing teacher to a school board. Those kind of people must never get near children. It might be worse than if he had hit the child. It´s a shame!. I´as a parent, would not tolerate such behaviour.
2 people like this
• United States
15 Mar 10
I completely agree with you, Marguicha. If that student were my child, I would definitely be fighting to have that teacher banned from teaching. I do not understand how some parents can support these kinds of methods unless their children are not the ones being bullied and tormented. Then, they might just think it is the child over-reacting, but I do not see how they could support it once they see what is really happening. I would not stand by and let my child be treated like this.
1 person likes this
@marguicha (90519)
• Chile
15 Mar 10
I don´t like ANY child to be treated like that, purple alabaster. Any child will have to defend himself from that, either by becoming a bully or accepting being a victim for the rest of his life. I would think it´s more important to know some child psychology than to know a couple of things like maths and language to become a teacher. Anyone can learn normal subjects even if they don´t go to a regular school, but learning to be a good person is far more important. I´d rather have a child go on being illiterate that to be exposed to that inmedited punishments.
2 people like this
• United States
15 Mar 10
I agree that no child should be treated like that, and I definitely did not mean to imply otherwise. After reading my response, though, it did sound like I would only care if it were my child being treated like that, and I am sorry for wording it like that. My mentioning the other parents was intended to convey that as a parent (or even a human being), I would not stand for anybody's child to be treated like this, so I was not sure why other parents were supporting this kind of behavior. It not only is tormenting the students that are being victimized by this teacher but also setting a bad example for all the students that this is an acceptable way for people to act. There is no part of this type of behavior that is alright, and it has a negative impact on all of the students.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Mar 10
That is absolutely not alright for so many reasons. So, if he wants to "relate" to his students better, then what will he start to do next - steal their lunch money, trip them as they walk by just for a laugh, start hitting the ones that he really likes? There is a huge difference between relating to someone and bringing yourself down to his or her inappropriate behavioral level. Yes, teachers need to try to teach the required material in a way that the students can understand, and that might mean explaining a concept several times in a few different ways to reinforce the concept or idea. That is pretty much a given, and I am sure that any parent can understand this, because parents are the very first teachers that children have. Any parent can understand the fact that this might get a little frustrating at times, especially when parents usually only have a few children at a time to teach, while teachers sometimes have thirty or more students in a classroom. However, if a parent started calling their child names, this would be considered abusive behavior, and we should hold teachers to the same standards. Aren't we supposed to be teaching our children to be respectful and appropriate, even when they disagree with something? There have been people right here on myLot that have been verbally abused. We, as adults, try to stress the importance of disagreeing with others in a polite and respectful manner. Why should our children expect anything less than that much consideration, especially from one of their teachers? Furthermore, I think that teachers have a responsibility to protect the welfare of the students above all. If another student was bullying or being verbally abusive to a child, then it is the teacher's job to put a stop to the bullying and abusive behavior. When it is the teacher doing the bullying, however, that definitely sends the wrong message to other students. How can the teacher then "punish" a student for this type of behavior when they have witnessed the teacher doing the exact same thing? That is why I believe that it is important to lead by example, and the example that this teacher is setting is definitely not a good one. Do not misunderstand me. I do think that a teacher should try to relate to his or her students. However, this can be done by using examples that the students might encounter in "real life" to explain a concept or help them to understand a problem or situation. It does not mean that the teacher should try to act like the students just to fit in, especially when the students are still pre-teenagers.
1 person likes this
@phyrre (2324)
• United States
13 Mar 10
Right. There's a difference between relating and what he's doing. Relating brings people together. I can relate to my friends and that's why I have them as friends. If someone feels hurt by your actions, you're not relating to them. I think it does indeed set a very bad example because it's letting the children know that it's ok to constantly tease people and call them names. Plus, you send your children to school to learn. How well are they going to learn when they get bad grades "for being a loser"? That's discouraging and it can be upsetting to know that you did the work right but still aren't getting credit for it.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Mar 10
Not to mention the fact that it basically beats them into submission and takes away any incentive they have to try to do better. Why should they even try when they are just a "loser" and will never be anything else? I thought we were supposed to encourage our children to learn and do the best that they can not keep them stuck in the same spot for the rest of their lives.
1 person likes this
@marguicha (90519)
• Chile
15 Mar 10
I not only agree with what you have said PA, but if the teacher goes on I, as a parent, would go to whatwver higher instance is needed so the offender does not teach again. EVER!!!. I am a mother, a grandmother, and have been a teacher and a professor at the University. And what this teacher is doing is psychological abuse. It is a shame! It has nothing to do with relating.
@SomeCowgirl (32271)
• United States
13 Mar 10
Wow this is NC, and I know where Buncombe is! hmm, well I don't think it's right at all, the poor girl is probably frightened of the teacher, and messing with her grades is messing with her GPA! The teacher could find different methods to "relate"... Is the girl even acting out in class?
1 person likes this
@phyrre (2324)
• United States
14 Mar 10
I'm not really sure if she's acting out. The article didn't go into that much detail, but even if she was acting out calling her a loser isn't the proper way to deal with it. If she feels like she's being bullied or taunted then children tend to act out more like that, or at least act out towards others to compensate for the way they're treated.
1 person likes this
@SomeCowgirl (32271)
• United States
16 Mar 10
Oh I did not mean to make it seem that the teacher's behavior should be condoned. No, and I agree that children do act out to make up for or compensate their feelings towards being mistreated.
• Philippines
13 Mar 10
when i was in grade school, the head librarian asked our class to "shut up" while we were at the library. few weeks later, he was given a memo, and was asked to be hardly seen walking around. teachers and everyone who belongs in the faculty of our school, are highly prohibited to cast any angry words on the students no matter how angry they are. they call it professionalism, and I couldn't agree more. so no, i don't think it's ok. nothing would justify the fact that he's method of teaching however innovative is not advisable. :|
1 person likes this
@phyrre (2324)
• United States
13 Mar 10
Things in our school weren't quite that strict. Teachers were known to tell students and shut up when they got rowdy, and rightly so because there were quite a few who deserved it. But they didn't single anyone out when they told the class to shut up or anything. I agree, it's about professionalism. This is your job. These are your students. I wouldn't walk into work tonight and kick my manager in the shin and call him fat and lazy, even if it was the truth, because that's not professional. It doesn't belong in a work environment. What I do outside of work might be a different story LOL. That would depend how much I like my job, I guess. xD
1 person likes this
@Wizzywig (7859)
13 Mar 10
If it had been a one-off comment said light-heartedly, maybe but, to persistently use that kind of humiliation and ridicule is out of order IMHO. Presumably this guy thinks its "cool" to talk to students the way they might talk to each other - how would he react if they spoke to him in such a personal and familiar way? Using verbal abuse doesnt count as 'Relating' in my book. No doubt, there are some students who may respond positively to this sort of comment but the teacher should be able to guage the negative effect hes having on the majority. I think we can tell who's really the "loser" here.
1 person likes this
@phyrre (2324)
• United States
13 Mar 10
Agreed. I mean, don't get me wrong, i call my friends losers all the time, but we always end up laughing about it and yes it helps us relate with each other. But clearly this student isn't happy about it, so it's not something to joke around about. my friends all think it's funny and they know that I'm just kidding and that's where the major difference lies.
• Philippines
13 Mar 10
The teacher has been teaching the child to lose self-confidence and self-esteem. He has been working so hard to make ill-fated students. He has indulge himself into traumizing them nd put themselves into the shells and hide. Teachers like this have no place in school and thus, must be fired out!
1 person likes this
13 Mar 10
If the parents have complained, I think it's really appalling that the school hasn't put a stop to this harrassment. If all the children treated it as a big joke I suppose it would be OK but obviously it upset this child so the teacher should be sensitive to the girl's feelings.
@bwaybaby (904)
• United States
13 Mar 10
It is really not okay to do this. My little sister's second grade teacher wasn't quite this bad, but caused some problems. She didn't like my sister's handwriting, so when my sister got 100% on a spelling test, she would use the zeros to make a frowny face. It was really quite upsetting for her, and she ended up getting pulled out of the school. Sixth graders aren't quite as fragile, I don't think, as second graders, but it is still inappropriate. A teacher is supposed to be an authority figure for a student. Being bullied by an adult is terrible for a child's self esteem, perhaps moreso than being bullied by a peer.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29169)
• United States
13 Mar 10
Hi, phyree. This behavior towards this student is totally unacceptable! How can other parents defend the remarks of this teacher??? They must not mind the teacher calling their child stupid too. This is very sad. Something needs to be done about this or it will continue to go on. It is not okay for a teacher to say this to a child and write this on his work either. The principal needs to fire this teacher. They don't deserve to teach a student and say mean things like this. If I was that parent, I would do what it will take to be heard. And, I will enroll my child in another school too.
1 person likes this
@kgwat70 (13398)
• United States
13 Mar 10
No teacher should be calling a student a loser for any reason. That teacher should be suspended or fired. They also need to go through some counseling or training on being polite and respecting everyone. That is just wrong and awful. I would not want my child having that person as their teacher. Calling a student or anyone a loser can harm a persons mental state.
• India
13 Mar 10
looser,it should be subsututed with to improve!there are many crazy teachers in this era!
1 person likes this
@myzire72 (1157)
• Singapore
13 Mar 10
I share the same sentiments as you, phyrre. The behavior of this teacher is downright unacceptable! A teacher is supposed to be guiding his students, their role model, and their adviser or counselor. This teacher however, took to bullying his students. The word "loser" could have devastating effects on his students' self esteem. I wonder how on earth can he continue to be a teacher despite complaints, and how on earth can some parents even stand by his behavior! If this were to happen in my country, the teacher could have face disciplinary actions from the school, and if escalated to the Ministry of Education, he could even lost his job as a teacher and ban from teaching.
1 person likes this
• China
21 Mar 11
Teacher calls student loser- i am really sorry to hear that. in my opinion teacher should not discourage the student they should encourage the students but when a teacher call a student loser then it's really bad. We do learn the things from teacher and if they do and discourage us then we can't learn. So it's not going too far i think. Good day!
@qamarep (4450)
• Pakistan
6 Apr 10
i think its because of the monitory frustration for that teacher has she is very much depresive..