People Are Calling Out "Normal" Teacher Tactics That Are Toxic, And There Are No Lies Detected
"Not letting kids go to the bathroom during class is so wrong."
First things first: Teachers are HEROES! Every day, they work hard and make sacrifices to educate the next generation — but while there are many amazing teachers out there, some students have had negative experiences with other teachers who were, well, not the best.
1. "Having group punishments."
"The person causing the problem usually doesn't care about the punishment, and they never feel bad for getting others punished."
2. "Bragging about how many students failed their classes in the past."
"I've had so many teachers/professors who bragged about how many students failed their classes in the past. I'm like, 'YOU failed as well. It was YOUR JOB to teach them, and you didn't.'"
3. "Yelling at and berating kids needs to stop. Way too often full-grown adults yell at and berate little kids for dumb things."
4. "Acting like their class is more important than other classes."
"It's not. Students have homework for English just like they have homework for chemistry. If it's needed to graduate or maintain a good GPA, then it's all important."
5. "'Helping' students by making them come to the front and solve tasks they can't solve."
"It's so embarrassing and hurtful to stand in front of the whole class, not knowing what to do with a teacher rolling their eyes and the rest of the class giggling."
6. "Not approaching students in a trauma-informed way. Yelling at kids, not questioning constantly late or missing work (thinking they’re 'lazy' vs. the potential of having something going on at home), assuming all students can afford dues and supplies, etc."
"I’ve worked in schools and too many teachers don’t understand or don’t care about how trauma affects students."
7. "Not letting kids go to the bathroom during class."
8. "Managing a class by intimidating and scaring students."
"My mom is a high school math teacher in a small town. Ninety percent of their students live under the poverty line and struggle at home. She once told me that the way she gets their 'respect' is to be mean and strict until December, and then she slowly starts to be nice after Christmas break. I've seen her do this in person, and I can tell you, not only does it ~not~ work, it's terrifying and psychologically abusive to kids who already come from hard homes."
9. "Not being willing to work with neurodivergent students."
"A lack of understanding and an unwillingness to understand is extremely unfair for students who are truly trying their hardest but can’t meet the standards of 'normal' kids."
10. "Randomly calling on anyone to answer in front of the whole class."
"Some students may have anxiety, or are scared to talk in front of so many people. Use the raising hands method!"
"I remember being really bad at chemistry class one year and trying my hardest to pay attention while simultaneously being so terrified of getting called on at any moment that I couldn’t focus on anything else. Hated every second I had to be in that room."
11. "Making tests needlessly difficult."
12. "Reading grades aloud."
"I had a biology teacher pass out corrected exams from worst grade to best (we were graded on 100, not letters), reading the grade aloud and adding personal, derogatory comments for most students. It took, like, one hour every time."
13. "Making examples out of students, especially in the form of 'gifted' students or 'struggling' students."
"This only reinforces the sense that said students ARE successes or failures, and it builds the destructive notion in their minds that this is just who they are. Both tend to struggle in life, because in their minds, 'What's the point of trying if I'm naturally smart/not smart?'"
14. "Having a 'no drink or food' policy."
"I didn't always have food at home in school, so there were some days I knew that was the only place I'd be able to eat. I wasn't going to throw away my lunch if I wasn't finished and got sent to in-school suspension many times for it."
15. "Punishing children for being late to school."
16. "Being overbearingly 'supportive.'"
"I had a teacher act like this, especially towards those she deemed 'brave' and 'future leaders of a brave new world': BIPOC, scholarship kids, those with dyslexia and/or an anxiety disorder, and the like. When a classmate with dyslexia struggled to read a piece for the class, she'd clap her hands and say, 'You can do it! We ALL believe in you! Come on, everybody. Let's applaud to show our support!' Honestly, this made it so much worse for the poor classmate. Most of her supportive comments were patronizing AF. So many backhanded compliments, too. Her relentless and oft-selfish need to prove that she was a 'good person' or the 'best kind of ally' had made her one of the most disliked teachers at school."
17. "Taking off points for not showing work."
"I recently went down a whole letter grade on a test for this in chem. It really makes me upset since I’m trying to get into nursing school."
19. "Comparing students and putting them down — basically calling students 'idiots' without actually saying so."
20. "Not letting students turn in late work when the semester is still going on."
"Not all students are able to get work done in the time given to them. I, like so many others growing up, had an undiagnosed learning disorder. I always got in trouble for late assignments and was told I couldn’t turn it in. That ruined so much of my grades — only to find out in my 20s that my ADHD gave me bad executive disfunction."
21. "Having behavior 'clip charts' for early elementary kids."
"They just should not happen."
22. And finally: "Publicly punishing or shaming students. Teachers who do this are the worst."
What do you think of these? What are some other toxic teaching tactics? Let us know in the comments below.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.