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    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.

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    So, we recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which "normal" teaching tactics are actually toxic. Here are the eye-opening results:

    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."

    An angry teacher yells at students during class
    Darkbird77 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    "We were yelled at by the computer teacher to only use one hand when typing and that the other was to be in our laps at all times — and berated for forgetting something even though every human forgets things from time to time. I was in elementary school and was yelled at for smiling."


    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."

    A toilet in a bathroom stall in a public restroom
    Lawrence Manning / Getty Images

    "I had a couple of teachers who thought that students should just 'hold in' their periods. You can imagine all of the anxiety from having your pants bloody for the rest of the day."


    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."

    A assignment graded with an F
    Icemanj / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    "This is usually more about the teacher feeling superior than it is about assessing knowledge and understanding."


    "I had a freshman-year professor who would make test questions really hard. Like, make the dates one day off. Or, change one word of an answer, but count it wrong. She also made tests count for most of our grade. Then, she'd get us to do her work for extra credit."


    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."

    A student waits to get inside a school bus
    Sdi Productions / Getty Images

    "STOP punishing children for being late to school! I don't know how teachers claim to be grown adults and not have the cognitive function to understand that children cannot drive cars or busses. If your sixth-grade student shows up late to the recital, first period, the field trip, etc., berating them in front of the whole class does absolutely zero to solve the problem. It's asinine thinking: 'Oh this CHILD was late. Clearly they are lazy and goofing off or sleeping when they should have ordered an Uber.'"


    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."


    18. "Picking on the quiet kid."

    "Teachers were mean."


    19. "Comparing students and putting them down — basically calling students 'idiots' without actually saying so."

    A student works on a question on a whiteboard
    Gary John Norman / Getty Images

    "I had a geometry teacher who would act amazingly nice, encouraging, and helpful. Then, when someone was called to the board to do a math problem, if they got it right, she would congratulate that person then put all the other students down: 'You all could learn something from x.' And when someone got the problem wrong, she would berate them in front of the whole class after they were already embarrassed enough. Last day of school, I stayed after class and asked her why she did that. She said, 'If I didn’t do that, you wouldn’t learn anything.' Completely the egotistical answer I expected."


    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."

    A student looks stressed during class
    Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

    "In ninth grade, I was accused of cheating in geometry class with a boy I didn't know and had never talked to. She told us to go into the hallway and decide which one of us would get the passing grade we got on the test and which one would get a zero. I cried the whole time we were in the hallway and told him he could have the passing grade because he was older than me, and I was very intimidated by him. We had to tell her in front of the whole class that I would take the zero. It's one of my most embarrassing high school moments. Teachers should take the time to investigate before making accusations."


    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.