When school bullying is in the media, the focus usually is on the learners. The bullying is about the learners but seldom about their teachers. Hardly any mention is made of another group that gets bullied – the teachers. Worldwide, the level of bullying amongst staff, is staggering.
In 2018 Elizabeth Mollema did a Master’s degree at the University of Pretoria in which she researched teachers’ experiences of bullying. In the United Kingdom, 67% of teachers either witnessed bullying or themselves were bullied over a period of twelve months. The United States of America figure was almost 50% (Mollema: 26). Two other researchers found that in South Africa almost 90% of survey participants were bullied over a period of twelve months (De Wet and Jacobs cited by Mollema: 26).
Teachers bullying teachers is a universal unpleasant reality. Sadly – in comparison to the thousands of studies done on bullying amongst learners – there’s far less research on teachers being bullied or bullying their colleagues. Much more research is needed. The more that teacher bullying is ignored, the more likely that it will grow.
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Quality Education News is a quarterly publication issued by the South African Quality Institute (SAQI) in the interest of promoting educational excellence.