Do teachers have the right to yell at students?
Note: Before I get a personal lashing with a wet noodle from my fellow teachers, I, of course, write this in PURE JEST. I have taught more than 35 years in a public school system, and this is the kind of thinking that many of us must live with.
To answer the question more seriously, when your child has a real problem then visit the classroom and talk with the teacher. Until you have that problem leave the teaching to those intrusted with the duty and help your child at home.
I teach higher education and don’t think that yelling at a student is ever acceptable. Embarrassing a student in front of the class is also not acceptable. I’ve had many times where I was disappointed and/or angry at a student. Yelling at them would not make the situation better. “Teaching them a lesson” by pointing out a student’s mistake in front of the class doesn’t teach them anything…it only bruises self esteem.
There are appropriate ways to handle such situations. Discussions regarding a student’s mistakes, grades, behavior, and other issues should only between the teacher and student (and parent if applicable).
I taught 4th grade for several years and I was amazed at how whenever I “fussed” at the class – that is, called them to task on anything – they would call it “yelling.” No matter how calm and professional I was, if it was negative feedback it was yelling. “Boys and girls, for the last time you need to sit down and please be quiet or you will lose your recess” would fall under their definition of yelling.
I wouldn’t go to the principal right away – I’d go to the teacher first. Meet with her and you may get a very different side of the story. I would even suggest seeing if you can volunteer one day and get a feel for the dynamics of her classroom.
If after working with the teacher you still don’t get results, then it would be appropriate to go to the principal.
We teach our kids all the time to try and solve their own problems and not be a tattle-tale, yet sometimes as adults we model very different behavior.
You are your child’s advocate. It must be addressed but will not be if you do not follow up.
And in response to the person who fears you are coddling your child and trying to overprotect them, that is a completely invalid argument. A parent’s role is to protect and teach their child “life” skills. At this child’s age, one of the things parents have to teach them is the difference between an adult being appropriate with them and one who is not. When a teacher is inappropriate it is a very healthy thing for the child to feel confidence that their parent will help them. Clearly this teacher tends to be a bully and needs to be retrained.
Approach the teacher with your concerns first. See what she has to say. When children get in trouble they often don’t admit to their wrong doing so it could be a misunderstanding or a child’s perception of the truth.
Before talking to the Principal discuss your concerns with the teacher. If it was you in this position, would you want someone to go to you first or go straight to your boss?
Go to the teacher first and ask for the teacher’s version of the story. Don’t go in with an accusatory tone, but one that genuinely wants to hear the other side. While our children don’t mean to lie necessarily, they don’t always see things the way an adult in the classroom does. I’ve had many students who are quite disruptive in class swear they have no idea what they did wrong. Kids just don’t always see what was wrong.
Also, when your daughter says “the teacher yelled” at her, does this actually mean the teacher shouted at her or that she perceived it that way. Sometimes kids use the term “yelled at me” when they are corrected in any way. If this is the case, there wouldn’t be a problem with the teacher but in how your daughter perceived what the teacher did. This is why you need to ask the teacher to find out what they saw happening.
It could also too be that your daughter was talking when the teacher was giving the directions and that is why she wrote in the wrong place. It really does get frustrating when you just finish giving very good instructions and five hands go up to ask what they are supposed to do because they were talking or not paying attention when you were giving the instructions. If this has happened often with the class or with your daughter specifically, it might be enough to irritate a teacher to raise his/her voice.
Teachers are human and if irritated, they will raise their voices. It happens. But I’ve never met a teacher who did it without a LOT of provocation. Your daughter might think it was “one little thing” but she isn’t taking into consideration the other 10 incidences that just happened with other students in the same room (or possibly something earlier that happened with her).
If you go to the principal without talking to the teacher, you are not teaching your daughter a good way of dealing with conflicts. If there is a conflict, the best thing to do is to talk to the person you have a conflict with. Depending on the age of your daughter, I would suggest SHE go to talk to the teacher (NOT during class!). If she is middle school or above, I think it would help her move toward maturity by asking her to go talk to the teacher first and clarify why the teacher was so irritated about this incident. Maybe your daughter just didn’t see why it was so wrong but the teacher could explain to her why it was wrong.
When your daughter says she was embarrassed, it doesn’t mean that it was something the teacher intended to do. Some kids are much more easily embarrassed than others and if your daughter was not doing things right and the teacher brought that to her attention, she might have felt embarrassed because all of her friends now knew that she wasn’t paying attention and it made her look dumb because she didn’t do what she was supposed to do. Again, if this were the case, it really wouldn’t be the teacher’s fault, but your daughter’s for not following the directions that the other students evidently did.
I’m not saying your daughter is at fault, but before you go off angry at the principal, it would be best to find out the entire story. There are always two sides (as someone else mentioned!). To only hear one side is being disrespectful to your daughter’s teacher. Your daughter’s teacher worked hard to be where they are and does far more work to teach their class than you probably know (unless you are a teacher yourself). They deserve the respect of your daughter going to talk to them first and then you going to them to find out what their professional opinion of the situation is.
They are professionals and it would only be the respectful thing to approach them first for their professional opinion of what went on.
is it a right? certainly not.
is it right? no
can she do it? sure.
Have parents yelled at their own kids? sure.
should she have done this? of course not.
could the student have been exaggerating? it happens.
Think through the actions you are to take. I have at times when faced with 160 7th graders said things I regretted. You.ve heard two things from a month? of full days? Im sure more have happened. classroom management is an art and does not always go as planned. I would talk to the teacher myself.
wait a day or two to cool off.
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