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The other side of teaching: 'I was physically threatened by parents.'

Violence against teachers comes in so many forms, every single one of them completely unacceptable.

After looking into the research I reached out through my teaching networks and asked for actual teachers to tell me their stories.

They are nothing short of horrible.

The fact that any teacher has to go through this sort of abuse is ridiculous. We are educators, and we are not trained for or should expect to deal with violence.

Read the stories from only a handful of actual teachers below. There are literally millions more like these, some leagues worse and some not as bad, every one of them awful.

If you are interested in the research, impacts, statistics, and outcomes of violence against teachers, find that information here.

All of the stories shared here have had names and details removed to protect the identities of all involved.

“Teachers need hazard pay”

I worked in a school, teaching Year Two, when I had my first baby. Upon returning from maternity leave they had decided to keep my sub full time in my class, but had a spot to fill in Year Five. It was November and I was this class’s third teacher so far. I was called a “fat ugly bitch” by one student daily.

Another, who was taller than me (I’m 4’10”) enjoyed standing over me in attempts to intimidate me.

It culminated in a student charging at me with an upturned chair, legs toward me, and pinning me against a wall. He was not suspended. I quit a week later.

I currently work in a school, teaching Year One. While 38 weeks pregnant with my second baby, a student rammed into my stomach with his shoulder out of anger.

Teachers need hazard pay.

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‘I was threatened and verbally abused.’

I had a parent repeatedly tell me he was a boxer and he would sort me out and all the parents and students who were involved in an incident with his daughter. He then came to school was verbally abusive and threatening, leaned across the desk and got right up in my face – his wife pulled him back. He then did the same to the principal.

Several days later I was alone and a mother barged into my office and locked the door and stood in front of it blocking any escape. These were temporary offices and had no security. She proceeded to threaten and verbally abuse me. No one knew she was there and no one could see us. I was alone in the office as all other executive were at a school function. I repeatedly told her I had to go to teach a class and when the bell rang she silently opened the door and left.

The following day there was a violent incident between two students, one of whom had a difficult parent. The stress from the two previous incidents lead me to go on stress leave – my psych said it was adjustment disorder due to vicarious trauma.

There does not have to be physical violence for it to be considered violent.

‘He threw his laptop at me’

I had a student punch a wall in anger because of something he thought I said, which was not what I said at all. He punched the wall a good week after the conversation and misunderstanding occurred, so he was seething for ages.

Another threw his laptop when I objected to his language, “c—t”, and asked him to leave the room.

A very tall Year 8 boy stood over me when I was managing his behaviour after lying on the floor in a science lab.

Had a Year 12 student slam his fist hard on the desk when I asked him to stop playing on his laptop and work instead.

I will say that the first two incidents I described… those boys had some pretty significant issues between home life, and severe language disorders, so I guess they didn’t have the tools to express in any other way.

The other two boys, well, one was from a war torn culture and a refugee. The other, his parents going through a divorce. That being said, their welfare was addressed – mine was never. I just got on with it. No one ever checked if I was okay or felt comfortable with those students after the incidents. In actual fact the student from the war torn culture cried racism and I had to go to mediation with him.

This article was originally published on Staffroom stories and was republished here with full permission.

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