The title was the search engine term used by one reader who reached my site.
It made me start thinking about my career with this board and the number of teachers in the board I have seen targeted, or I have been told about by a colleague who saw them targeted.
Here is a partial list of those cases in no particular order. Some were dealt with fairly; some resulted in a teacher suspension or a teacher being charged.
- A primary student told a supply teacher that he was going to tell the principal that he (the teacher) had taken down his (the student’s) pants.
- Parents decided a junior teacher was too fat to teach physical education and were instrumental in getting her dismissed.
- Some intermediate girls were annoyed with their poor marks and got back at their teacher by falsely claiming that he had sexually assaulted them.
- Some intermediate students set up a homophobic web site and showed it to one of their teachers on the assumption that he was gay. The parents of one of them thought the subsequent suspension was unfair.
- On two different occasions in the same school two different students lied about two different teachers in two consecutive years. Instead of investigating, the principal turned each one over to the board which chose to believe the children.
- A teacher on an exchange on the other side of the world was called by a friend to find out if she had a good lawyer. Unbeknownst to her, she had been charged with sexual assault by a former student and it was all over the news. The judge eventually threw it out of court but not before she and her family had been through public hell.
- Thirteen parents got together in a private home to discuss a new teacher’s math program because A) she said math wasn’t her thing so she wouldn’t be running an extracurricular math program, B) she didn’t always teach from the textbook or assign lots of homework (she was an experienced math, English and social studies teacher). The principal refused to deal with it.
- A gifted and imaginative grade one teacher was turned on by the parents and her colleagues in the program she taught in because she (successfully) used whole language rather than phonics exercise books to teach reading. Her students also learned to appreciate art through an appropriately designed unit on Matisse. One of her colleagues even withdrew her daughter from the class. Her principal did not defend her or reprimand the colleague. She left the program.
Unfortunately this desire is not an anomaly. There are many students and sometimes parents who want to “take down” a teacher. If parents support the students or the administration does not support the teacher, the life of the targeted teacher becomes hell. Every action, every slip, bad call, ambiguous action becomes open to the worst possible interpretation.
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