Teacher Bullying: A Reality or a Myth?

Kathleen G. Burriss, Donald Snead


The topic of teachers who may bully children is uncomfortable to discuss, but because of the vulnerable nature of children in the classroom context, it is justified. In order to uncover instances of teachers who bully, the purpose of this project is to explore teachers’ and students’ perceptions of bullying behaviors. This mixed method project involves two data sets. In the first study, classroom teachers (n=186) provided rationalistic data identifying occurrences of observed bullying behaviors. Included in the survey, teachers referenced definitions of emotional, physical, and intellectual bullying. Quantitative analysis showed nonsignificant findings; classroom teachers reported they do not bully and do not observe other educators bullying children. In the second study, teacher education students (n=341) completed an open-ended survey describing any instances where they either observed children bullied by a teacher or where they were victims of a teacher bully. Qualitative analysis described incidents ranging from early childhood through university instruction wherein student-participants observed or were victims of teachers who bullied. The purpose for this project was to begin to reconcile the lack of relevant findings describing teachers who bully. These current data provide evidence for the teacher as bully phenomenon and contribute to the literature by confirming descriptions associated with emotional, physical, and intellectual bullying. Implications discuss the culture of teaching and university teacher preparation.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/ct.v1n1p34


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