My Gym Teacher is Bullying Me (Edmonton, AB)
Mrs. Baxter (name changed) is my gym teacher and she’s a bully. I am in grade 8 but I’m not going to name the school for it might make things worse. I don’t know why teachers think that grade 7 and 8 students are too stupid to notice how they flirt or act inappropriately with others. Believe me, we see it and we talk about it all the time. For three years I have seen Mrs. Baxter try her best to get the attention of the male teachers. It’s gross! She wears tight jumpsuits or tops and she plays with her zipper (up-and-down) showing off. Her big chest is pretty hard to miss so for me and my friends, this is disgusting. We all know our male gym teacher is a married man. She’s married too. This is our role model? I think she knows we are on to her. She caught us laughing at her zipping routine and started to bully a few of us. I am on the gymnastics team, volleyball team, and the basketball team. I’m around her a lot. I used to be one of her main picks for competitions. Now does everything in her power to make me feel useless. When I do well, she takes the attention or reward for my being good at what I do and she NOTHING to me. Last year she humiliated me in front of my friends and some other students. We were having a gymnastic try out and I was not feeling very well. I had a virus so I did not perform to my best. I went to the change room and cried – I disappointed myself. She didn’t come in to see me or offer me any support. She did praise my friend – right in front me while I was still crying, and told her how humiliated she was by my performance. She told my team mate she was embarrassed to have me on the team. My peer was totally wrapped up in her excitement (she did great) and didn’t notice how abusive Mrs. Baxter was being. I was the target of abuse by this teacher for a year and I felt there was nothing I can do. The principal and assistant principal are males. They all like her. She knows that too. My voice will mean nothing to them. How does a teen get to feel any hope when it is (popular) teacher against student? I am really disappointed that people would allow her to chip away students’ self-esteem. I am definitely not the only one. If Mrs. Baxter feels someone made her look bad – look out! I talked to my parents about her. We read a book about bullying and I know bullying is about the abuse of power. Mrs. Baxter is a bully but she uses her body/looks to get her power. My parents agree with me. They helped me understand things and to write this letter. My problem now is that sports is really important to me and this really affected my performance. She chipped away at me every time I saw her. I could feel my self-confidence shrinking. Then I did a little worse. Do I give up sports? Leave the school? We decided I would leave but I am sad about not seeing my friends. I know I never have to go back to that school now but I wonder about the next kids. I’m sharing my story because I want parents – teachers and principals to hear what some kids go through. If you read this and it helps someone I feel better. Thank you for helping me find a way to get this out. I sure hope my story helps someone.
Dear Student of Gym Teacher,
Thank you for sharing these examples of awkward situations for students. These are not the typed of stories I usually hear about so I am sure this will help others that may be in similar situations. Frist I am glad that you have your peers to talk with for this is how we learn about appropriate and inappropriate behavior’s and feel validated about our experiences. Though it is typical for teens to tease and make fun of things, ‘especially when they are uncomfortable and unsure of how to handle a particular situation’, if you think about it, making fun of Mrs. Baxter is adding more negative to the situation. I do understand there is no harm intended, it is important for targets of bullying to avoid contributing to the negativity. Reaching out to your parents, and to us at ABRC, and asking for some guidance is a very the healthy way to problem solve. Thank you for doing this for you are also helping others which I know is your main goal. As I read your story and see how much you love your sports and how much Mrs. Baxter made this terrible for you, I do hear a case of a teacher bullying a student. This is about an abuse of power. I want to reassure you that nothing would justify Mrs. Baxter’s bullying behavior’s. I am so glad that your parents are supporting you in your choices. I know how painful this can be for people facing these decisions. Please consider seeing a counselor for a short period of time. They will provide you with tools to restore your self-esteem and build even greater self-confidence. You can do this with the support you have around you. Don’t give up what you love! Find ways to continue with your sports and be who you are. Please consider having a meeting with your principal, school counselor, and your parents attending. I can hear that you are a compassionate person as you care about other students. You would be a true asset to any school you attend.
For anyone reading these articles, if you are not satisfied with how a principal responds or handles a bullying situation. Please do not give up. Please continue to go to the next higher level until someone listens to you and change is made. Your child’s safety is never something to compromise.