Like most parents, I was very appreciative of the good teachers my son had in school. In fact, I wrote about his preschool teacher, Mrs. Marovich, who, in my opinion, was one of the best teachers ever! She was exactly what every teacher should at least aspire to be!  Unfortunately, not all teachers are exemplary. Some aren’t even good.  In fact, some don’t even manage to be mediocre. Some teachers are downright toxic. My son had one of those toxic teachers.

What is a toxic teacher exactly? Briefly, a toxic teacher is one who harms a child. I’d like to think that these toxic teachers don’t actually mean to be harmful, but based on the behavior I saw of my son’s toxic third-grade teacher, I’m afraid that I’d have to say some of them intend to be hurtful. Does that mean they mean to cause harm?  I don’t know, but it’s hard for me to believe that a teacher would want to hurt a child and not realize that they might be causing harm.

I am a teacher, and many of my friends are teachers, so I understand what a difficult job teaching is. However, it is because I am a teacher that I have zero tolerance for toxic teachers. There is absolutely no excuse for an adult to use his or her position of authority to mistreat a child. None.  And when the level of mistreatment leads to lasting emotional damage, then it reaches the level of what should be criminal behavior.

Do I sound extreme? Maybe. Do I care? No. The behavior of toxic teachers is abusive. Period. It may not be physically abusive, but we know that other kinds of abusive behavior can be just as damaging as physical abuse. The effects can last a lifetime, no matter how hard parents try to eliminate those effects.

My son’s encounter with a toxic teacher was in third grade. If you’re a Harry Potter fan and are familiar with Dolores Umbridge, then you can imagine what that third grade teacher was like – right down to the sugary sweet voice. I wonder how Harry would have fared had he encountered Dolores when he was just 8 years old as my son was. My son is nearly 26 now, but I still see the effects of that horrid year.  He was never the same after that year.  And, yeah, I resent that. A lot.

A short while ago, I posted something about toxic teachers on my Facebook page. Obviously I am aware that toxic teachers exist, but I was genuinely horrified to learn that other children had had not one, but *several* toxic teachers!  How is that possible? How do such people remain employed in our school system?

It’s time we put a stop to this vile behavior. We need to speak up and speak out. Did your child have a toxic teacher? Share your experience in a comment. You are not alone. Your child is not alone.

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Like most parents, I was very appreciative of the good teachers my son had in school. In fact, I wrote about his preschool teacher, Mrs. Marovich, who, in my opinion, was one of the best teachers ever! She was exactly what every teacher should at least aspire to be! ...