There’re only a few things that cut deeper than a poorly-timed insult. I’m not saying that an insult can be excellently timed but it can cut even deeper when the recipient is already feeling down for various reasons.
As teachers, our job is to raise the next generation to become assets to their communities. This job isn’t easy and requires professionalism to handle eventualities.
Teachers serve as role models to learners and the last thing students expect from us is an insult no matter much they deserved it.
Some students can be annoying and outright disruptive to class activities and even disrespectful to the teachers.
I remember while I was teaching abroad, a student who was told to leave the class after multiple warnings of disrupting lessons, came back with a knife to come and stab me.
It’s only by God’s grace that the situation got defused before turning into a disaster. My situation may be different from the experiences of others but it’s a teacher’s responsibility to remain calm in every situation.
Losing your composure simply distorts the perception your learners have about their teacher which could have a negative effect on them.
“If my teacher, who keeps telling us not to use curse words or fight other students is doing everything we were advised to avoid, why should I listen to what they say?”
This article will look at some of the reasons why teachers shouldn’t insult their students no matter the situation.
Can Teachers Insult Students When Provoked?
No. Insulting a student could be considered bullying irrespective of what they did. It is the teacher’s responsibility to calmly defuse situations in class and not to become the cause. This could lead to consequences including the following:
Why You Shouldn’t Insult Your Students
See these other tips for having a successful teaching career:
We’ve all received an insult or two in our lifetimes. This could have come from a stranger, a teacher, or even family.
This isn’t a pleasant feeling and it feels humiliating. A teacher who chooses to insult a learner whether privately or in class is very humiliating.
Teachers are supposed to be the authority figures in the classroom and having that same authority use degrading words on a student should never happen.
Although some students would be empathetic about the whole thing while others would choose to laugh worsening the issue.
You may have been trying to release your anger or frustration at that moment on the student but the effects of this humiliation will remain long after that lesson has ended.
The worse part is that such an intense situation leads to gossip and students from other classes pointing fingers at the student.
This could even lead to the student missing school or dropping out of school outright.
2. Lose Respect
Students, especially those at the higher education levels have come to expect some form of composure from their teachers.
These students have spent most of their lives in schools and have had to interact with multiple instructors and have developed a notion around how a teacher is supposed to act.
It’s the same way our societies have some form of expectation of how a teacher should look or dress and don’t expect a teacher to have piercings or even colored hair.
Students also expect some form of composure from teachers. Some students try to be disrespectful to teachers knowing full well that the teacher is supposed to keep their composure.
Something that could have landed them a punch if they’d said to a friend, would be handled differently by a teacher.
This becomes a problem when the teacher who has been a role model and has also been teaching them not to fight or use curse words decides to neglect the teaching by letting loose on a student.
Why would any student continue to listen to such a teacher? The teacher isn’t meant to be perfect but self-control is necessary especially when dealing with students from varying backgrounds.
3. Teacher Bullying
Some educational institutions expect better from teachers and usually neglect to add any rule about teachers insulting students.
However, insulting students can be considered bullying, and teachers can face disciplinary actions.
4. Encourages Student Bullying
Insulting students and calling them names in front of their peers leads to these other students leveraging this to bully the student.
In a society where bullying is rampant in our educational institutions, an insult from a teacher could lead to either verbal or even physical bullying.
Students learn from their teachers and if a teacher is bullying a student about something, in particular, their peers can also do the same.
Calling students by some demeaning name is something that sticks almost instantaneously or in some cases other students would come up with their own demeaning nickname for someone who was insulted by a teacher.
The informal social statuses and hierarchy in our modern schools can have their toll on students but adding some form of negative attention leads to the destruction of any social life in school.
Coming to school becomes difficult for learners.
5. School Becomes Uncomfortable
No one wants to go somewhere they don’t feel comfortable and that’s exactly what the school environment becomes when a student feels humiliated.
Facing the teacher and their peers becomes difficult especially if they don’t have any real friends willing to stick by them in this situation.
This can lead to students missing classes, school and possibly switching schools.
6. Poor Performance
Negative feedback can affect the confidence of learners but an insult can lead to permanent dislike of a subject or a course, leading to poor performance.
Students develop fear and dislike of the course and the teacher leading to poor grades. This is why teachers are advised to start with a positive statement when giving comments on assignments.
Negative statements can impact students in a bad way. You may not have liked what they submitted as an assignment but leaving insults in the comments or even insulting them in class will have some effect on the student.
Even when leaving comments, it’s advisable to point out something positive before proceeding with the negative and how they can improve upon this in subsequent deliverables.
7. Disciplinary Action
An insult targeted at a student can land you with a disciplinary committee. Educational institutions understand the power parents hold in this age of information technology.
Therefore complaints need to be handled delicately to avoid any negative repercussions for the institution in general.
Teacher misbehavior for one is usually handled with care especially in private schools where an unhappy parent can influence others leading to larger consequences.
Although the teacher would simply get away with a warning in most cases, subsequent offenses could lead to suspension and in some extreme cases of misbehavior, termination.
Although some students can be disrespectful and disruptive to lessons, educational institutions have a hierarchy and outlined processes to be followed in such situations.
It is your duty as the teacher to follow these due processes and show restraint, no matter how angry you may be, and to remain a role model to your students.