Teacher's Viral Facebook Post Explains Toxicity of Abusive Classroom Behavior
Educator Annie Demczak's open letter pleads for healthier student boundaries.
We often view children as innocent beings who are full of kindness, wonder, and love. And, oftentimes, they are. But they can also be very cruel. We tend to chalk up their bad behavior up to the notion that they simply don't know any better. But recently, a Maryland-based teacher named Annie Demczak wrote an emotional Facebook post that criticized this attitude toward children and revealed the impact that it has on educators.
She began the post by saying that we tell women and men to leave abusive relationships when someone "hits you, screams at you, tells you that they're going to kill you, tells you they're going to bring a gun and shoot you, steals from you, destroys your things, threatens your friends, curses at you, mocks you, [and] makes fun of your physical appearance." But when a student does any of these things to a teacher, Demczak noted, "we don't acknowledge it as a red flag, we give them no consequences, we allow it to continue without any regard to a teacher's wellbeing, safety, or mental health."
Instead, we "continue to ask teachers to show up with a smile on their face, ignore the issues, reward dangerous and toxic behavior and do as you're told." Having to work under those kinds of conditions every day takes its toll, Demczak pointed out. "Teaching is the most toxic profession I know of," she wrote.
Demczak went on to say that she loves all of her students, including the ones who might have mental health problems, emotional issues, or difficult family backgrounds. But love shouldn't mean experiencing "intense anxiety and depression" because of your job. "Sometimes, loving someone looks like setting boundaries," she wrote. "Consequences. Hard conversations. Seeking additional support. Reporting dangerous behavior. Standing your ground. Finding alternative placements."
Demczak ended the post by urging teachers to stop tolerating this kind of abuse, and begging parents to ask their children what happened at school every day and to speak up for the wellbeing of educators everywhere.
We tell women (and men) that if someone hits you, screams at you, tells you that they're going to kill you, tells you…
Demczak shared the open letter on October 15th, and it's been shared nearly 120,000 times since then.
"This is so truthful," one Facebook user wrote in the comments. "It is sad that the system never takes any of our concerns as teachers seriously."
Unfortunately, the post is just the latest indicator that being a teacher in today's day and age isn't what it used to be. For more on this, read This Teacher's Reasons For Leaving Her Job After 12 Years.
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