Monday, August 18, 2008

When Teachers Abuse Power by Heather Johnson

When Teachers Abuse Power

"Teaching is a noble profession, one that demands a great deal of patience and flexibility. A teacher plays different roles in the lives of students; besides giving them an education, they also act as guides and mentors. Children spend most of their waking hours at school, which is why it’s important for teachers to be accessible to the students not just as educators but also as a friend. While there are some teachers who live in your memory as the ones that did make a huge positive impact, there are others who are remembered for reasons that are both shameful and a disgrace to the field of education as a whole.

"Teachers are given a degree of power over the students they teach – they are trusted by both the school authorities and the children’s parents to use that power judiciously and for the general good of the children. But there are some bad eggs who give the entire teaching fraternity a bad name; they’re the ones who use their position and authority for their own purposes, some more horrendous than others.

"We routinely hear of teachers sexually abusing children in their care; some of them are so perverted that they film their dirty deeds and sell them for profits. As if this were not enough, they hold the threat of bad grades over their students’ heads if they tell anyone what happened. Statistics state that around 5 percent of teachers and coaches abuse minors, but this is not a true reflection of the state of events. The number of incidents that are unreported are much more than those that are. Most students are afraid to come out in the open fearing the repercussions – the ostracism from their peers, the future of their education and the effect the media impact would have on their lives and that of their loved ones.

"Abuse need not be sexual to be detrimental to the well-being of students – some teachers send children on the wrong path by encouraging them to smoke, drink and do drugs. Others play favorites in a blatant manner, with the students who are affected being powerless to do anything to bring the offenders to book.

The reason that such incidents are widespread is that most students look up to their teachers and are willing to go to any lengths so that they are not disappointed in them. A subtle word here and a small hint there are enough to make these immature minds fall prey to the more cunning brains of their educators. The only way to prevent this from happening to your child is to educate him/her in the ways of the world and warn them of the dangers that could befall them if they are not careful. Parents must play an active role in every aspect of their children’s lives and encourage them to report any untoward incident, no matter how trivial it may seem."

This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.

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