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Thoughts on this from fellow teachers

41 replies

Howmanytimes · 18/05/2011 15:16

I am a teacher in a secondary school. Today, a male year 10 pupil who I do not know or teach, barged into me quite hard in the corridor on his way past me. He did it on purpose because the corridor was almost empty. When I turned to see who it was so I could reprimand them, he turned and said "Watch yourself Miss" in an intimidating manner. He refused to come back so I could talk to him, he swaggered up the corridor.

When I complained about him, lots of staff were sympathetic but the general consensus was that "he had a problem with female teachers" I was also told many times about his talent as a sportsman!

This isn't an isolated incident. Female staff are frequently told that certain male pupils have a problem with female teachers. What can be done to tackle this? Behaviour is generally good at the school and poor behaviour is dealt with, but I think there is an underlying acceptance that teenage boys are aggressive and try to intimidate female staff.

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Ormirian · 18/05/2011 15:18

Nasty little shit Angry

Sorry not helpful and I'm not a teacher but makes my blood boil!

MillyR · 18/05/2011 15:32

If DS did this at his school he would be given a detention. What is the system of sanctions like at the school?

Howmanytimes · 18/05/2011 15:34

Thank you! Your message made me smile.

It really upset me and I can't really put my finger on why. I don't have to deal with this kind of thing often thankfully.

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Howmanytimes · 18/05/2011 15:37

I have been told by his Head of Year that he will speak to him about how unacceptable his behaviour was.
He is also going to be made to apologise to me face to face tomorrow. I'm trying to think of something powerful to say to him Hmm

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ViolaTricolor · 18/05/2011 15:42

How awful [anger]. I teach in a university but similar things have arisen. The disciplinary conversation would usually be an interrogation of motives, which would provide ammo for explaining all the implications of the incident and possible future consequences. It is upsetting, for lots of reasons. I'm not surprised you're dismayed by the tolerance of sexist attitudes as if they were somehow beyond control or critique, and different to any other kind of disrespectful behaviour.

sunshineatlast · 18/05/2011 15:44

Howmanytimes, you are right this is unacceptable. You are right to be upset. you must follow up on this.
Ensure the HOY gives the student appropriate sanction. In our school it would be a temp exclusion.
The student must understand the seriousness of his action, if he did this outside school he would be charged with assault.
If I were you I would make a massive fuss about this. Flag it up to the SLT, get your line manager onboard and do not accept their excuses.
I would also speak to your union rep.

SmellsLikeTeenStrop · 18/05/2011 17:13

He's a good sportsman therefore he gets away with assaulting female teachers? Is that about the size of it?

Howmanytimes · 18/05/2011 17:40

Thanks for your responses everyone.

Hi sunshineatlast I am the union rep for my union, as I'm not sure what to do I'll seek advice from my local secretary. As this boy is appalling to female teachers across the board apparently, I'm going to make a fuss tomorrow that he needs some educating in regards to his attitude to women generally. The girls at school need to see that this behaviour is unacceptable. A member of SMT was one of the first people I spoke to about it.

I think asking him what his motives were is a great opener to a discussion with him, thank you ViolaTricolor.

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thefinerthingsinlife · 18/05/2011 17:42

He's a good sportsman therefore he gets away with assaulting female teachers? Is that about the size of it?

I'm starting to think the answer is yes SLTS. I think being a sportsman is a get out of jail free card for assulting women.

thefinerthingsinlife · 18/05/2011 17:46

I should add it doesn't matter who it is, if they assault another individual they should be punished for it.

I hope you get somewhere with the boy tommorrow Howmanytimes because if he is like this now what will he deem acceptable in 5 or 10 years time, I'm sure it would have moved on from barging into women Sad

DaisyHayes · 18/05/2011 18:22

I think this is actually very common in many schools.

It's problematic, because the solution often seems to be getting a male member of staff to tell them off, or remove them from your lesson. It doesn't actually do anything with the root cause of the behaviour.

It just accepts as unalterable that such boys "have a problem with female teachers" and treat it reactively, punishing each individual inccident as rudeness or agression or whatever, not looking at the wider issue and then wondering why it keeps happening.

It would be far better to say, "let's tackle the problem he has with female teachers". Violatricolour's idea about motivation is a good one. But make sure you have SLT support on this - talk it through with the HOY etc before you meet with the boy or I fear you'll get little beyond, "Now tell Miss you're sorry and it won't happen again" when you raise it.

WobblyWidgetOnTheScooper · 18/05/2011 18:26

I hope he hasn't got a girlfriend - I'd hate to think how she'd be treated :(

porpoisefull · 18/05/2011 18:30

Does the school have any policy on gender-based bullying? If that's their attitude I hate to think what the girls there have to put up with.

Howmanytimes · 18/05/2011 18:52

DaisyHayes, your description is exactly how it goes in our school. Unfortunately most senior teachers are Male. From my Head of Faculty to Heads of Year and that is exactly what happens "say sorry" and off it goes again Sad

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sunshineatlast · 18/05/2011 19:59

Yes get some advice from the local union secretary, can you speak to other union reps from other schools in the borough to see how they deal with this issue?

You need to impress on the SMT, especially since you say they are mostly male that it is their job to teach the boys in their care the social skills they will need so they can operate in a world which is 50% women.

Porpoisfull is right, this is gender based bullying, you need to shine a light on it and they need to start taking this seriously. Are there any other female teachers on your staff who have to deal with this? once you ask around you may find you are not the only one.

sunshineatlast · 18/05/2011 20:01

sorry just reread your last post, Id get them to speak to his other female teachers tomorrow, you are not the only one being bullied by him.

UrsulaBuffay · 18/05/2011 20:02

Ex teacher. Once had a boy shout out after I'd sent his friend out of the classroom 'ooooh sent out by a woman!'.

Also had a random kid shout across the yard at me 'get your tits out'.

Hence: 'ex'-teacher.

sunshineatlast · 18/05/2011 20:12

She is not going to be an ex teacher. She is working out a strategy to deal with it.

UrsulaBuffay · 18/05/2011 20:15

And? I was giving my experience. I apologise for being a shit teacher and unable to deal with such ingrained bullshit.

basingstoke · 18/05/2011 20:26

I think the lead on this has to come from those male SLT types. Our male senior teachers (we have a lot of female senior teachers too btw, and a female head, which perhaps sets the tone a bit). I will tell a boy that I find his attitude agressive/intimidating and that I will not tolerate it, but they need to see other males behaving in a courteous way and also expressing shock and disappointment at their behaviour as well.

Howmanytimes · 18/05/2011 20:56

Again, thanks for all your imput, it's really helpful. For me this incident has made me realise that too often the "problem with female teachers" line has been trotted out.
I can easily find out all his female teachers tomorrow and I'll canvas opinion. I'll put it to SMT that it is not an isolated incident and needs a school wide strategy.
I do feel that the male teachers in Leadership roles will say they are unhappy with his behaviour to him. But thinking through other different incidents with different boys I actually teach, this is something that pervades the school.

You've really buoyed me up, thank you. Ready to face another day Grin

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dittany · 18/05/2011 21:19

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChantingAsISpeak · 18/05/2011 22:00

Definitely challenge SMT about what they are doing to amend his behaviour. If the child is repeatedly doing this it is the Head's duty of care to their employees to stop it. If he is doing this to the same people over again, it may come under the harassment laws.

In some schools where this attitude is common (both the pupils' and the 'problem with female teachers' attitude), there is a culture of 'casual' sexism - especially in the language the pupils use to each other and the examples they are given in lessons and assemblies. (I can't remember how many 'Famous Inventor' assemblies I have sat through where all the examples were male, when I did my own with all female examples several boys said it was sexist!) It's a whole school issue and should be treated as such.

cejay · 18/05/2011 22:10

Hi. Sorry to hear about this - very annoying. Just a few thoughts.
In the immediate term - a detailed letter must be sent home and a punishment given. don't bother getting a (male) senior teacher to 'get him to apologise'. As other posters say, it just looks like you are lacking in power. He needs a punishment which is directly because of his behaviour to you.
In the medium term - get some advice from union rep and ask for it to be put on agenda at next inset - this is a complex issue which needs tacklng from both ends of the spectrum

porpoisefull · 19/05/2011 06:09

This NUT statement might be useful in arguing for the school to take action on this in general. Also an NSPCC page here about sexual bullying in schools.

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