Why are some teachers so unfair

Kurt Singer

"I've never had such a bad Latin class!"
The teacher has been "doing" "bad Latin classes" for years

When adults talk about their school days and students from the classroom, there is always talk of offensive teacher behavior: They felt badly treated, unfairly examined, exposed in front of others, insulted, punished or ashamed, unjustly attacked, abandoned in the case of learning problems, in hurt their personality. "But these are only isolated cases." Those who do not empathize with the suffering of injured children and who cannot perceive their own person in the memory as a pupil are satisfied with this sentence.

In a fifth grade of high school, the Latin teacher starts the lesson like this: “You wrote a lousy impromptu assignment. Class average 4.7. That is not even secondary school level, an idiot school would be needed for you. I've never had such a bad Latin class. ”Five months ago, the children entered grammar school with hopes, expectations, insecurities and fears. The fact that they were insulted by their teacher did not cause an uproar among parents and colleagues. It is well known that this Latin teacher has been around for decades just bad Latin classes; because he makes you. Everyone can see that if they discover such poor work among the children, it must have been preceded by inadequate lessons. In fact, there are parents who see this logical connection. But they do not dare to discuss it publicly. Fears of authority from their own school days have settled in them too deeply to be able to rebel against “authority” now.

Protect children from individual cases -
For more democracy and humanity in school

It is true that there are individual cases in which pupils are injured in their self-esteem by teachers. But the non-pedagogical behavior of a few teachers disrupts learning many Children. In addition, hurtful teacher behavior acts as a "contagious" pathogen into the school. It makes the basic human values ​​of pedagogical action unrecognizable. The great horrors of offending teacher behavior continue in the small horrors of everyday school life: in the fear of exams, of failure and embarrassment, of being called up suddenly.

Many teachers strive to be competent, compassionate, and moral with students. But non-educational regulations such as grades and curricula that are not child-oriented force them to put children under pressure and to disregard their individuality. Mentally hurtful teacher behavior can offend children, make them sick and stupid. If something is to change, the undignified treatment of students must be made public and dealt with. Parents, teachers, students and politicians should stand up for democratic conditions in schools with moral courage and for a new ethic of coexistence in the classroom.

"You are just too stupid for high school"

Marion was personally insulted by her teacher. “I had studied well for the math class. But when the teacher brought me to the blackboard, I felt myself trembling. I only saw an infinite number of brackets and numbers on the blackboard, everything blurred before my eyes. The teacher made me look ridiculous: 'Now she's standing there like the ox in front of the mountain. You don't need to look at the ceiling, in yours brain There's nothing in it. How can you be so stupid. You are just too stupid for high school. You can guess what kind of grade that is. Sit down! ’I was terribly ashamed and went to my seat. That was really mean of her and she was madly angry. But I didn't dare say anything more. It happened not only to me that the pupil was so exhausted, but also to my fellow pupils. "(1)

Pedagogical tact protects against mental injury -
Teachers as role models for consideration

Teachers like these lack a basic form of pedagogical action, the pedagogical one Tact. The unequal situation between children and adults requires turning into children to think aboutTo show consideration and to instruct the students to be considerate. With teachers with a pedagogical tact, children can be sure that they will never be embarrassed or called upon unexpectedly. They are not laughed at and embarrassed, grades are not announced in front of others. Tactful teachers do not publicly criticize mistakes; they correct carefully so as not to devalue the student's work. Error-friendliness is a teaching principle: learn from mistakes instead of judging children. Tactful teachers avoid pointing out the mental and physical weaknesses of adolescents, and humiliating children with irony or with names of abuse and mockery. Conversely, all of this helps ensure that students learn Teacher To be considerate.

Humiliation, threats, laughing at, scare you offend against the pedagogical tact

The careless way in which some teachers treat children harms their willingness to learn. Often they describe in desperation how helpless they are in the face of offending teachers. These expose students with unsuccessful work, laugh at them and make them contemptuous, let them “hang” on examination assignments, threaten and discipline them with bad grades. They read unsuccessful work without the consent of the students, embarrassing children, humiliating them by criticizing their appearance, calling on students even when they do not speak up and when it is clear that those called don't know the answer and are simply embarrassed Situation advised; they publicly announce grades, insult children with ironic remarks, and express disparagingly about the “stupidity” of individuals. Even terms from torture language are pronounced: "Then I have to tighten the music screw."

Individual cases of feared teachers attack children with unannounced rehearsals, leave the weak behind helpless, give penal tasks despite the school law prohibition, ignore individual children, see less what has succeeded than what has failed. They do not allow themselves to be talked about and refuse students to have a say. They don't care about that individual Situation, but make excessive demands on performance. They misuse parts of the lesson to question instead of teaching, and do not help the children when they are struggling. Through pedagogically unacceptable teacher behavior, the pupils feel unjustly treated, insulted, insulted, ridiculed, belittled, scared. Fear in class even has a special term: Fear of school. To scare children is psychological violence; it hinders young people in their performance.

Violence at school does not only exist among individual young people,
but also in the abuse of power by individual teachers

There is a lot of talk about violence in schools today. Most of them only think of aggressiveness, that of violent ones Students goes out. That is surprising; because young people say they are exposed to violent teacher behavior more often than violent classmates. Adults, too, talk less about aggressive classmates than about the aggressive teachers they suffered from.

The educationalists of the University of Salzburg, Volker Krumm and Susanne Weiß (2) have found: "Schoolchildren suffer from injuries from teachers as often and similarly severely as from insults from classmates." But almost everyone who tackled the subject of 'violence in school' , did not investigate acts of violence emanating from the powerful school members, “by principals, teachers, school attendants, secretarial workers, or individual fathers and mothers in the school. Almost all of the violence investigated by the weakest Group goes out at school: the students. "

70 percent of those surveyed report being hurt by teachers -
Debriefing of the essay as "public execution"

For the study of pedagogically unacceptable teacher behavior, the educationalists evaluated 915 questionnaires sent to students. After that, 78 percent of those questioned experienced insults. Repeated offenses were reported more than twice as often as single ones. “Teacher behavior that was experienced as offensive was for example: exposing, scolding, attributing stupidity, failure to provide assistance, ignoring, unjust punishment, imputing misconduct, threatening to sit down, unfair testing, unfair communication to other teachers, rejection, harassment “(Crooked and white).

Everyone knows the abuse of power in individual cases, but most of them keep emotionally hurtful teacher behavior in silence. In this way, they contribute to the fact that school can become the fate of students for children. For example at Individual German teacher: After each work in German, she reads the “five and six essays” and comments ironically. As a rule, it hits the same students repeatedly. Several times two girls ran out of the classroom crying during this cancellation ritual. Classmates called the "essay debriefing" a "public execution".

The empathetic class representative asks the teacher not to disparage her offended classmates in front of the class. The affected girls would feel ashamed, they would be afraid of every new "essay review". The school councilor harshly rejects the class representative's request: “I'm not even thinking of letting you dictate my lessons for me. You probably don't understand that you can learn from the miserable work - and you badly need it, by the way, that also applies to you! "

Object Lessons on Exposing the Weak -
Should young people become numb to be able to endure school?

In fact, the students learn something, namely: How to ruthlessly expose the weak and weaken them even more, they learn to fear German lessons, they learn to be powerless in the face of the teacher's abuse of power; because even the headmistress and the liaison teacher “don't want to interfere in the classroom”. With this teacher, the legitimate question of a willing student to his teacher fits: How can I learn what you know without becoming what you are?

The teacher repeatedly humiliates students. For example, she enters the classroom and says to the girl sitting in front of her: "For God's sake, I can't stand your face today, please sit back." - There is no protest from students or colleagues. They say: "You shouldn't be squeamish about her." Should sensitive children dull so that they can endure unfeeling teachers?

Consider teacher behavior in reverse from student to teacher,
then the indecency becomes clearer

What would happen if the young person reversed the offensive behavior and yelled at the senior teacher when she entered the classroom: "For God's sake, I can't stand your face today, please leave this room"? - The hurtful remarks were just joking, the teacher said impassively when asked about them. But the youngsters lose the fun - and the joy of essay lessons. The incidents are known to school. But the parents' council does not see itself as responsible for the children: you cannot change the teacher. Shouldn't one interfere when it comes to the injured honor of the students? Since the year 2000 a new law promised "nonviolent upbringing" and since then emotional injuries have been considered a criminal offense? Non-educational teacher behavior in individual cases is tolerated for decades. For many people, this blurs what educational Act actually exists.

An educational teacher's oath as a self-commitment -
The basis of a humane school

Hartmut von Hentig (3), the founder of the Bielefelder Laborschule, recommends teachers to take a “new oath”: a self-commitment by teachers to a pedagogical ethic.

Like doctors in the Hippocratic oath, teachers should make a pledge

  • to respect every child in their peculiarities,

  • to stand up for his physical and mental integrity,

  • to respect one's impulses,

  • listening to him, taking it seriously.

Teachers commit

  • To teach students the art of communication and understanding,

  • to make them ready to take responsibility for the community,

  • and let them experience what the good life is meant to be like.

According to the oath

  • do the teachers set an example of how to cope with difficulties,

  • faces criticism from students and experts,

  • and opposes all conditions, including service regulations that hinder humane resolutions.

Such an oath would give pedagogically committed teachers security and encouragement in their worth-filled actions. This code of honor creates the basis for a educational School and enhances the reputation of teachers.

"But teachers are only human" -
Pedagogical imperative: do not hurt children in their self-worth

Children have to endure the idiosyncrasies of their teachers as the teachers have to endure those of the children. All are different, have their difficulties, their advantages and disadvantages. Pupils get to know other people in teachers, learn to deal with them, strive for them as role models, or are put off by the negative example. “Teachers are only human”, but they must not be monsters. These are the individual cases of offensive teacher behavior.

Teachers can get angry, be angry, curse, defend themselves against huge claims, demarcate themselves with firmness, give a stop-inducing no, get angry, they can punish in a fair way, demand effort from the students, defend themselves against careless student behavior, protect yourself from bad treatment by adolescents. There is only one thing they should never: “make children and adolescents small”, devalue them with their person, insult them with humiliating words: “Are you playing stupid again”, isolating them with ominous remarks: “You don't really belong in secondary school "Discourage with devaluating statements:" It's pointless what you are doing ", hurt with ironic words:" An excellent job that you did there ", give it up with devastating predictions:" The way I see it, you will never make it ", exposing them with weaknesses:" I'll read you now the essay by B. ... ", deny them the future:" You will definitely end up with the cleaning crew again. "

Talk to each other about lessons and school -
Questions to schoolchildren about mindful handling

  • How often do you look forward to the next day of school? What are you looking forward to?

  • Do you have a fear-free learning environment in your class? When do you go to school with fear? What are you most afraid of? Do you talk about it with parents, classmates and teachers? Or do you think you have to be cool and not show any of it? You shouldn't deny fear, but take it seriously.

  • Can you go to the teacher without fear and tell him: "I did not understand that, please explain it to me again"?

  • Which teachers do you like to study with and willingly exert yourself? Why is that?

  • Are you willing to participate in class? In which classroom situations do you speak up and how are you doing?

  • Are students in your class treating each other considerately in class? Are students friendly to teachers and teachers friendly to students? Do you treat teachers tactfully? Can you tell them when you like something?

  • Has a teacher offended you before? How did that play out? How did you feel? - Did you tell the teacher afterwards how offended you was by his behavior? For example, if he exposed you, ridiculed you, insulted you?

  • Do you have the impression the teacher sees you? personally, or just your performance, does he even say a personal word to you?

  • Do you have regular circle discussions with the class teacher on the topic: We and the school? Do you think about the question together with the teacher: How do we imagine school to be more beautiful - and what can we improve today?

  • Is there a student consultation hour in which children and young people can talk to teachers about what there is no opportunity to do in class?

  • Can the students also come to the parent's consultation hour, so not above them, but we talked to them?

  • Are you only called on by teachers with your consent, i.e. when you contact us? Or against your will? How do you experience being questioned in front of the class? Do you get into anxious excitement, do you feel blocked, or are you happy to be able to show your knowledge? Can you talk to teachers about it?

  • Can you be sure that you will never be exposed in class? Is it a rule in your class to never laugh at or shame a student? Is it a matter of course not to publish grades under any circumstances?

  • Do you regularly discuss your wishes, fears and problems in a circle with the class representatives?

A class teacher stands by her students and gets involved with the offending colleague

In one case of careless teacher behavior, the young people turned to their class teacher. She was afraid of the chemistry teacher herself. But she found herself untrustworthy if she did not help her students; because she herself encouraged the young people to express their opinion critically. In the conflict between silence and interference, she followed her responsibility to say no to injustice.

The class teacher left With of her fear to the colleague and was recognized with her conviction. Her voice trembled when she started the conversation: “I want to tell you what has been bothering me for a long time. It's about my class. I find it humiliating to put the children in such fear ... ”- Ms. M. reported not only about the needs of the children, but also said what she thought personally: that she considers it pedagogically unacceptable to treat students in such a devaluing way. She asked the high school council to stop insulting the students. The colleague defended himself: the children were too squeamish; he must gain respect, otherwise they would dance on his head ...

Is non-interference collegiality or fellowship? -
Dare to “brave your friend”

Both were excited, but started talking. It seemed as if the chemistry teacher didn't feel comfortable scary after all. Apparently he had to arm himself because of his own fears, but he was ready to talk to the colleague again. Several collegial discussions followed from the confrontation. Ultimately, the class teacher had the impression that the dreaded colleague was relieved that she spoke to him. Because the Behind He had not escaped the foul gossip from teachers and parents on his back. The senior teacher did not change its character, but it did soften its disruptive behavior. The students reported that he refrained from asking questions. They were proud of their teacher, who picked up the children's distress signal and stood by their students. The teacher was satisfied with herself because she remained true to her ethical standards.

Often teachers call it "collegiality" when they turn a blind eye to pedagogically unacceptable teacher behavior instead of helping children. In reality, they are indifferent, afraid of interference, or befriended. The class teacher, however, let pity and took the hurting colleague seriously. She did not lead a persuasive power struggle, but let herself be understood with her concern and her desire for remedial action. Since they are non-violent interfered, the conflict did not end in aggressiveness. The class teacher's attitude was “bravery in front of a friend”. This is how Ingeborg Bachmann calls the courage to dare to contradict within one's own group, to represent a contradicting opinion in the college or in the parents' council.

Mental damage has a long lasting effect

The indifference towards mentally injured schoolchildren is expressed in the sentence: "That only happens in individual cases." This attitude makes it possible to leave the hurtful individual case alone without helping the children. The "individual case" is repeated over and over again. In the study by Volker Krumm and Susanne Weiß, the offenses were judged by the respondents "on average as' severe" on a seven-point scale. 64 percent of the female students and 53 percent of the students classified their offenses as 'severe', 'very severe', or 'very, very severe' ... For half of the students and a quarter of the female students, the story of the offense told in the survey is past. For the remaining 49 percent of the students and 74 percent of the female students, the incident had a lasting effect. Eight percent of female students and 6 percent of students are often depressed or occupied even today. "

Students can get help with non-pedagogical teacher behavior -
Parents, liaison teachers, school psychologists should encourage them to do so

  • Do you have conversations with me classmates Intending to exchange ideas with them, to review your observations together, to show solidarity in order to avert the stressful behavior of the teacher?

  • Discuss your concerns with the class teacher or a teacher who you know will take you seriously?

  • Do you sit down with the Class representative together and think about how you can help yourself and who can help you?

  • Do you work with the Head boys get together and find out what rights students are entitled to and how the student council can support you?

  • Tried her to be with the difficult teacher Class discussion to lead, in which you describe the offending processes and ask him to stop them?

  • You can in a small Group of students talk to the hurting teacher about your fears and desires?

  • It can be helpful a Common conversation to organize between students, parents and teachers. For example, as a discussion evening where all parties have equal rights and a neutral person leads the event.

  • Do you trust yourself Liaison or liaison teacher and ask him to support you?

  • Do you talk to that School psychologists about the unpsychological behavior of the dreaded teacher and do you urgently ask him for psychological help and for visible signs that he is committed to you?

  • Are you trying to speak to the difficult teacher in the presence of a mutually acceptable other teacher, to represent the side of the students and to hear the side of the teacher?

  • Do you talk to yours parents about how they can support you and how they can protect you against injustice?

  • Do you have a conversation with principal in which you were able to present him with precisely documented observations from the class in writing and urgently ask him to support you?

  • Can you do a written documentation about the hurtful incidents?

  • Take the Parent representatives Contact with you, do you do that with them? In the event of a conflict, are you heard and supported by the parent representatives?

  • If you are not heard enough within the school: You can talk to the supervisor School board to lead?

When students are being “bullied” by teachers:
Perceiving insults instead of looking the other way

Children in need of school usually cannot count on the protection of state authorities if they are denied their basic rights. They do not yet have a federal commissioner for the government like women, soldiers, foreigners, patients. As the weakest in society, they most urgently need a lobby that protects their rights. You cannot hire a lawyer to defend your civil rights. Worse still, they cannot even be sure of their parents' support. Their care is often suspended precisely when they are supposed to protect their child from emotional harm by teachers. Many school parents are dissatisfied. They suffer from school because they see their children and they themselves come under pressure. Some of them have to continually comfort, encourage, demand, support. It is not uncommon for the family atmosphere to be clouded by the non-educational teaching conditions. But only a few parents criticize the learning disruptive conditions public.

“Students basically complain of what is now called 'bullying' behavior by teachers when it is experienced by adults.” In bullying research, bullying “is defined as 'negative communication' that occurs at least once a week for at least 6 months. According to these criteria, 16.9 percent of all 915 students surveyed described how they suffered from bullying by a teacher during their school days "(Volker Krumm, Susanne Weiß).

A mother dares to appeal against a teacher who bullied her boy

Armin suffered from the fact that a teacher repeatedly mockingly commented on unsuccessful work, ridiculed him, described his abilities as "hopeless", and then again disdainfully ignored him for a long time. The offending situations followed the adolescent into his sleep, and he complained of tension headache. The mother was as afraid of school as the boy. She asked herself, don't I make it worse if I complain?

Eventually their compassion became a moral force. She went With her fear into the consultation hour, did not attack the teacher, did not criticize his non-pedagogical behavior, but let herself be recognized: with her grief and with the distress of the boy, for whom school became a nightmare. She told the teacher how offensive she found it to be exposing the child. The conversation turned out differently than the mother feared. The secondary school teacher defended himself: the boy would see everything too dramatically, he would be too sensitive. Can't school need sensitive children? Perhaps the teacher felt ashamed of his humiliating behavior after all. Because the mother's objection meant that the teacher no longer humiliated the boy. He even agreed to speak to the student.

Overcoming indifference - compassion makes you helpful and courageous

The mother's courage caused teachers, parents and students to start talking. This alleviated an offending situation. It seemed as if the woman startled the teacher from his indifference on. Because, according to Elie Wiesel: "The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference." Do we kill our courage to contradict with indifference? Only a minority of teachers commit willful insults. But this minority is hurting thousands of children. Can human decency be overridden in the classroom? The violations of humanity

  • are usually tacitly accepted by superiors;

  • Approved by dozens of colleagues - or even disapproved, but without public outrage;

  • Tolerated or tolerated by hundreds of parents, some of whom already know the offending teacher from their own school days. You persist in resignation;

  • are suffered by countless children who cannot defend themselves.

Parents do everything possible to prevent harm from their children. Not so in school. In doing so, they could see that the school circumstances, about which they resignedly say “The children have to go through”, are not correct morebut to Less Performance.

Protecting children from emotional harm -
Parents, teachers and students are not passed out

When parents recognize psychologically offensive teacher behavior and take responsibility for the children, it enables teachers to rethink their behavior. Conflicts must public and common forms of dealing with them are practiced. With the pretext “If we object to something to teachers, we harm our child”, parents flee into a deadlock reflex - and leave children alone in their powerlessness. In fact, it is not parental interference that harms the students, but the fact that they remain silent about careless teacher behavior.

There are many ways to deal with the conflict in the dispute with non-pedagogical teachers, from individual discussions to “round tables” for parents, teachers, students and helpers. The prerequisite is not to accept pedagogically unacceptable teacher behavior by looking the other way or trivializing it and to turn the conflict into a togetherness in order to common To find solutions. Parents do not have to give up themselves and their children in a feeling of powerlessness.

Conflict resolution - “round tables” for parents, teachers, students

  • Look closelyinstead of looking away. Parents, fellow teachers and students should be as keenly aware of the current state of the non-educational situation as possible.

  • The Children tell freely to letwhat depresses her at school. Interested in how they experience the frightening, overwhelming or offending classroom climate.

  • The children to listento take them seriously when they report depressing events. Do not cover up what has been communicated by students with advice or your own opinion.

  • With the child think about it do something yourself canto improve the scary situation: whether he dares go up to the teacher and tell him how offensive his remark was and ask him not to laugh at it anymore. We should encourage children to take this step, but for some it can be overwhelming. In any case, the children need the courageous example of parents or sympathetic teacher colleagues who take up the argument with the offending teacher.

  • The Parents talk with the difficult one Teacher Risk: Make yourself understood as parents, let the child's need and your own need be recognized. Do not prematurely convict the teacher, but listen to the teacher's point of view, but insist on the student's personal rights. Share the child's experience, report how the teacher's behavior affects them at home and in class.

  • The Schoolchildren in school consultation let be thereto create greater openness and togetherness “at one table”. Students, parents and teachers have the opportunity to present their point of view.

  • Conversations with other student parents: about their experiences and observations; show solidarity in order to stand up for the children together. The first step should always be to deal directly with the hurtful teacher.

  • Observations, own experiences of parents or colleagues, communication from students put it in writing to a documentation of the occurrencesthat can be credibly confirmed. It is fair to give this documentation to the teacher for comment.

  • The difficult one Teacher about the next steps to inform - For example, about planned discussions with the school management, school authorities, about the fact that the conflict, if no solution is in sight, will be carried out in public at the school.

  • Conversations between the parents and the class teacher, the Liaison officer (Liaison teacher) and with open-minded teachers from the college. Point out the hurtful situations and ask for help.

  • Conversation between the parents and the principal on the basis of precise information about humiliating, tactless, overwhelming or suppressive teacher behavior, for which documentation has been drawn up.

  • Letters as a basis for discussion write to those involved; that makes the argument easier. The letters express the desire and willingness to resolve the conflict together to solve.

  • Conversations from Fellow teachers with the non-pedagogical colleague: individually or in a small group, show helpful pedagogical action, clarify the conflict and make offers of help, collegial advice or conflict management with the help of a third party: Mediation.

  • Conversations with School psychologist, counseling teacher or school social worker: How can the children be helped, how can psychologists and counseling teachers get involved? Which offices can be asked for help?

  • Open conversation in the Teachers conference and in School forum; seek an alliance for change; seek mutual collegial solutions. Through the confrontation, stimulate the teacher to perceive himself in his non-pedagogical actions and to do something to change his behavior.

  • Conflict-processing conversations the student with the difficult teacher, together with a tutor or a teacher who has the consent of both the students and the teacher. Develop proposals and carefully monitor how they are implemented.

  • Class and school representatives include them in conflict management. Ask the student representatives to take action in the context of the Student Co-Administration to use for the classmates. Obtain information from the school representatives about the rights of the students and exercise these rights.

  • Discussion in Parents Advisory Board. Conversations by parent representatives with the defendant teacher, the class teacher and the school management. Conversations with students in the class in which there is a conflict.

  • A Parents' meeting convened, prepare them thoroughly, elect a meeting leader. She leads the conversation and ensures that all parties have their say. Agree on the first concrete steps for conflict management.

  • Yourself pedagogically competent doIn order to be able to argue: study relevant literature, ask educationalists or other school-competent persons for advice.

  • The School rules and School laws to study and apply it to the current conflict, but also the Basic Law, the “Rights of the Child” of the United Nations, the civil code, the school's house rules, the constitution, the curriculum. Acquire expertise in political-pedagogical argumentation.

  • If necessary from Pediatrician Have school-related psychosomatic illnesses certified, in the case of therapy the Child and adolescent psychotherapist include in conflict resolution.

  • Application for retraining of the child offended by the teacher go to another teacher to give the child a fresh start; educational-psychological justification of the Application to change schools is the disturbed pedagogical relationship.

  • Appointment to the School board. Present carefully prepared documentation on incidents that violate the child's dignity.

  • If nothing can be moved within the school: Create public with the help of the press and other media, Child protection association, Protestant and Catholic youth welfare, district youth council, politicians, citizens' initiatives. Alert all persons and institutions who work for the democratic rights of students and parents.

  • Supervision complaint, based on the Education Act, the school regulations, civil service law, the constitution, the constitution and the United Nations Children's Convention.

  • From Right of petition make use, turn in writing with requests or complaints to the competent authorities, the representatives of the people and the state parliament. Visit the constituency representative.

  • To the Minister of Education write a letter personallyto notify them of incidents that violate the law or violate the students; ask them to help the children.

  • Legal action in the event of violations of personal rights of the children according to the applicable laws. Obtain advice from lawyers who are experienced in school matters and who are committed to helping children.

Children do not atone for the school criticism of their parents,
but their silence to the injustice

A mother did not wait to get over her fear of the teacher, but left With of her fear in the consultation hour and told what depressed her: “My daughter came crying from school several times - because of the English lesson with you. I want to tell you how she is doing. She tells me that if someone suddenly calls her, she's so excited that she can't think of anything, even though she has learned well. I convince myself of that again and again. My daughter says that only afterwards does she remember what she could have said. She is then desperate about the oral six. … ”The teacher could not have known that if the girl is called unexpectedly, she would obviously get into a mental block out of fear. The message from the student mother helped her to perceive the student's point of view and to draw pedagogical conclusions from it. Mutual understanding alone eased the situation for all three involved. It's always about that

  • develop an awareness of right and wrong that avoids any discouragement and degradation of students,

  • to accept the pressure to stand up for oneself and for the children,

  • Not only to be indignant about injustice and carelessness, but to do it publicly and not only to expect it from others.

  • Not only to complain about the violation of human dignity, but to dare to contradict.

The abuse of power by teachers violates valid norms -
Becoming political for the dignity of the student

Breaking down the taboos in the case of pedagogically inadequate teacher behavior means for the individual: I defend myself by giving neither silence nor denigration a chance. Instead, I interfere, confront the difficult teacher with helpful intent with his undemocratic behavior, protectively face those who cannot protect themselves. I oppose the individual case of violating teacher behavior with my personal individual case: namely, to defend myself against the violation of personal rights. I am performing the Place resistance where I am touched by the needs of the students.

What should shake up everyone involved in the school, Volker Krumm and Susanne Weiß describe in the summary of their study of the abuse of power by teachers: "The teacher behavior that the respondents describe, violates against valid standards. In part against norms with the force of law: bodily harm, insults including abuse with swear words, deprivation of liberty, degrading educational measures. In addition, it is against educational Standards that deserve universal recognition today. Ultimately, it violates the general norm of all educators to promote the development of the children and young people entrusted to them and to orientate themselves towards the 'best interests of the child'. The behavior of the teachers described has the opposite of support and child welfare. Teachers who impair the development or the psychological and physical well-being of children by demotivating, lowering self-confidence, causing dislike for themselves and the school, causing fear, grief and pain behave like doctors who make sick rather than cure . "

Behavioral teachers need confrontation and help

Behavior that harms children must have consequences for teachers. You have to cope with their hurtful behavior faced, in correcting their behavior supported, to further educational training and to work on their person Committed become. Possibilities:

  • confrontation of the teacher with his pedagogically unacceptable behavior by colleagues, parents, students, school authorities. Uncover and name the conflict, take a close look and talk openly with one another.

  • Individual Crisis counseling in individual and group supervision. Weekly sessions in which the conflicts are dealt with with a school psychologist or psychotherapist or group leader.

  • Individual didactic advice, where teachers learn how to teach. A teacher who learns educational to act is not so easily tempted to abuse one's power.

  • Collegial advice by experienced, pedagogically and didactically competent colleagues. As tutors you get involved with the teacher; Mutual visits to classes are helpful here.

  • Educational Conferences, in which the college gets involved with the difficult colleague in a way that sets boundaries and is ready to support.

  • Educational and psychological training. Improvement of the educational psychological ability through participation in working groups, self-help groups, courses, lectures.

  • Teacher-student-parent discussions at the "round table"; Discuss how the hurtful behavior works and how it can be overcome through collective effort and bargaining.

  • Topic-centered interaction group. In it, personal experience is brought into connection with the school conflicts and the here and now in the group; Self-perception and the perception of others are supported.

  • Conflict discussion group - Balint group: Processing of educational and teaching problems and their relationship aspects with the help of depth psychological knowledge. Balint groups make people more compassionate and more confident in dealing with conflicts.

  • Self-awareness groups for dealing with your own person, including their unconscious sides. Relationship experiences promote self-reflection and the ability to deal with conflict.

  • psychotherapy in the case of deeper problems caused by neurotic development. Unconscious motives and habits are processed that lead to non-educational behavior. Psychotherapy may have to be made mandatory.

  • Commitment to further education. If teachers with behavioral disorders are not prepared to take the path of help on their own, they must be obliged to eliminate pedagogical and didactic deficiencies through further training and to provide evidence of pedagogical progress.

  • Transfer to an administrative officeif the teacher is unsuitable for his profession and the children are harmed by him; Dismissal according to the Civil Service Act.

Democratic interference against taboo-breaking teacher behavior -
Politics as a practiced morality

If we begin to no longer taboo offensive teacher behavior, we will achieve more democracy: Becoming political in the parents 'council, in the college, in the community, a citizens' initiative, in a party, in current initiatives ... Václav Havel (4) describes in his summer meditations "Politics as Morality Practiced": Especially those people who find themselves unsuitable for politics should take care of them. “If someone is humble and does not strive for power, he is not unsuitable for engaging in politics, on the contrary, he belongs in it into it. It is not true that a politician must necessarily intrigue. The prerequisite for politics is not the ability to lie. In politics, it is not all callous cynics who can exist. All of this, it is true, attracts politics. But ultimately it will human Enforce politics: politics as a practiced morality. "

Politics as a practiced morality may appear to us to be utopia in the face of frequently practiced immorality. It is all the more urgent to work for an ethic of compassion and humane responsibility. This includes advocating in optimistic practice that the dignity of the student is inviolable. Awareness of the problem of human rights in schools must be raised. When it comes to the subject of “abuse of power by teachers”, everyone could become aware that the rights of the child are being neglected. The fact that hurtful teacher behavior is kept hushed up must not only become an educational and human problem, but also a political problem.

Student policy proposals for humanity in the classroom

  • Personal rights must also be student rights
    Violations of personality inflicted on students by teachers should not be taboo. Children who suffer from the abuse of power by teachers need not only the help of parents and teachers, but also the help of politicians. The basic right “Human dignity is inviolable” also applies to schoolchildren.

  • Strengthen student rights
    Students must be enabled to express their interests and to implement them in the context of school assignments. Children and adolescents are able to have a democratic say in the choice of learning material, the teaching method and coexistence at school. They need a right of co-determination in all matters relating to teaching and school life that affect them. This strengthens their self-reliant action.

  • Forbid chastisement
    That is established by law. But it should go into the consciousness of teachers, students, parents and politicians. Embarrassing children, insulting them, hurting them in their honor, laughing at them, devaluing their person: this is not just that non-educational Behavioral behavior, but can be a criminal act. The law on non-violent upbringing must be incorporated into school rules and laws with the specific consequences.

  • Enable students to evade the psychological violence of teachers
    Changing teachers and schools, choosing a different teacher can be a relief for both sides if there is an incompatibility between teacher and student that disrupts learning and cannot be resolved.

  • Give children the right to criticize teachers
    Criticism is not possible unilaterally from teacher to student, but also vice versa. The pupils can learn to present criticism in a constructive way; they should practice the possibilities of critical participation in the pupil-teacher relationship. Criticism always includes self-criticism and supports the students in the democratic virtue of being critical.

  • Protect the fundamental rights of students through student representatives
    In the case of certain groups of dependent citizens, federal commissioners ensure that democratic rights are safeguarded: military commissioners for soldiers, women's commissioners for women, foreigners commissioners for foreign citizens, federal commissioners for patients. “Child representatives”, wherever they are, do not take sufficient care of school issues. They too often follow the taboo of not criticizing teachers. Students are in a dependent position; they need "trustees" who protect their constitutional rights. Student officers could act as a counterbalance to teacher lobbies.

  • Provide students with free legal protection
    Teachers have multiple legal protections from professional associations, appointing authorities and private individuals. Schoolchildren need institutions that give children and young people legal advice and support them when they are treated illegally. They need the same legal protection that their teachers enjoy.

  • Create neutral instances for student help
    More facilities must be created such as: contact telephone, independent student advice centers, psychosocial care. If children are brought into need through school, they should be able to seek advice from impartial sources.

  • Let democratic action be experienced in practice
    Students need to experience democracy in the place where they spend most of their time: at school. Teachers should guide them to participate democratically: The pupils have to know their rights, learn how to vote for a class representative and how they fulfill the tasks of student co-administration, how they can achieve more democracy for more humanity in everyday school life.

  • Lifelong learning from teachers in teaching and dealing with children
    Being a teacher is a helping profession. Teachers are insufficiently trained in dealing with children and young people in a way that helps to resolve conflicts and promote development. This is why they need further training throughout their entire working life, as is customary in other helping professions. Teaching competence is a prerequisite for being careful with children and young people. Training teachers in such a way that they can teach children well would be in keeping with the dignity of the student.


1- More on this in: Kurt Singer: The dignity of the student can be touched (20023)
2- Volker Krumm and Susanne Weiß: Abuses of power by teachers in Austria (2002)
3- Hartmut von Hentig: Rethinking Schools (1993)
4- Václav Havel: Summer Meditations (1992)