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School Problems: When The School and the Teachers are The Problem, Not Your Child

Updated on August 20, 2013

In the days when my son attended high school, he was bullied by many of the teachers and labelled a “slacker”, even though he tried hard to do well. But no matter how hard he tried, his grades just seemed to get worse, and no matter how hard he studied, he just couldn’t seem to remember anything at exam time. The teachers started telling him he was lazy, and that he was slacking. I was convinced he was the problem and laziness his driver. I was sure he would not pass the year.

The Problem Wasn't My Son; It Was the School

After receiving letters from the teachers, punishing my son as a result of the letters, speaking to the teachers and being shocked at what they were telling me about my son’s behavior, I finally decided to call a meeting with the teachers who seemed to have a problem with him.

We gathered in the school boardroom for what seemed like a session of war. The war waging was between the teachers, the vice principal and myself against a 14 year old boy. My 14 year old son didn’t stand a chance.

How my heart breaks when I remember that day. Because I stood with the teachers against my teenage son, and I stood with them because I was convinced that they were right and he was wrong. But as the meeting progressed, I saw how they bullied him, giving him no chance to speak. As we left, me in confusion at what I had witnessed (for goodness sake, these were teachers! How could they bully a child?!), and him in tears and sorrow, I knew that the problem lay not with my son as I had originally thought, but rather with the school.

Bullying By a Teacher?

My son was bullied by teachers who should have tried helping him, but victimized him instead
My son was bullied by teachers who should have tried helping him, but victimized him instead | Source

Teachers Who Bully

It was some time after that, that he was diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorder. Not once had any teacher considered this as a possibility for the problems he seemed to show in his school work. The symptoms he showed were as follows:

  • A noticeable difference between his intellectual capacity and his grades (he was just about failing in almost every subject)
  • He was bullied by his peers and labelled stupid
  • He often suffered depression
  • He never made friends easily
  • He was forgetful and would do the wrong homework, or forget he had homework
  • He would lose focus and concentration and be easily distracted
  • Teachers complained about his behavior and thought he was rebellious

Finally, we understood what the problem was, because there was a definite disconnect between what his teachers were complaining about, and his behavior at home. He was content to be alone, didn’t party, smoke, drink etc. He was a good kid.

The really sad thing is that only two of his teachers ever sat down and spoke with him in the attempt to help him, but the rest just treated him like he was a nuisance to be tolerated in their class. Not one of them looked deeper into the situation and therefore, they never understood why he was such a “rebel” (as many of them put it). They automatically just conspired against him, except for those two teachers who are just about his only pleasant encounter with teachers in a high school setting. Those two teachers will never be forgotten. Those two teachers had real love for their students, unlike the others who bullied a child they should have been trying to positively shape.

My son Danyil-Jon on the left. He was bullied by teachers in high school.
My son Danyil-Jon on the left. He was bullied by teachers in high school. | Source

If Your Teen Has School Problems, What Can You Do?

As a parent of a good kid who was being bullied by teachers, my advice to you if your child is doing badly at school, or tells you about unfair teachers, is to investigate why. If a teacher tells you your kid is lazy, examine where the laziness comes from. Is it friends? Is it psychological? Is it ADD, or ADHD? Don’t blindly accept what teachers tell you about your kids. They may be right about what they say (and please parents, don’t blindly take your child’s side either), but they may very well be wrong.

If you can’t identify the problem, examine the teachers. My son says he really started going downhill when the teachers lost faith in him. They picked on him, and deeply unhappy, it showed in his grades.

It may be that the teachers are mean and unloving, or even just simply not caring. You may ask why this would affect your child’s grades? My son says he picked it up in class, sometimes subconsciously, and so he would respond with the same attitude, by not caring about said teacher’s class. This is why the teenager might do well in certain classes and badly in others. It’s all up to the teacher taking the class.

Creative Kids Often Battle in the School System

All kids are different. If your child does not fit in the generally conformist school system, he or she may face problems
All kids are different. If your child does not fit in the generally conformist school system, he or she may face problems | Source

The School System Often Doesn't Work For Creative Kids

To boot, if it’s not a case of your teen having ADD or ADHD, the school system only rewards a particular type of child, and there’s a great chance that the style of teaching is wrong for your child. Since all people learn differently, the school system is difficult for many artistic and creative people. The school system is respondent to the left side of the brain, which is mathematical and realistic, but some people like my son learn well in a colorful and fun environment. If this is the case with your teenager, look for a school who can provide that style of learning, or even just talk to the school, and ask them to put some color into the work, or some fun activities.

Book Reviews: The ADHD Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Gain Motivation and Confidence (Instant Help Book for Teens)

Book Author:

Lara Honos-Webb

Self-help topics covered:

  • Attention deficit hyperactive disorder
  • ADD help
  • achieving goals despite having ADHD
  • how to self-calm
  • how to get organized
  • how to be confident
  • motivation

Recommended ages:

11 – 18 years

Recommended sex:

Male and female

Books for teens review:

A teenager with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder may find it difficult to pay attention and sit still when their impulses are constantly tempting them to do the opposite. In The ADHD Workbook for Teens, they’ll learn simple skills to confidently handle school, make and keep friends, and organize and finish every project they start (which is something the Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder teen struggles with).

This workbook helps teens find out who they really are through a series of exercises and worksheets that focuses on identifying their strengths and interests. Then, they'll begin using those strengths to create strategies for overcoming the ADHD related issues they struggle with. Topics included:

  • Learn how to calm yourself down when you feel hyperactive or impulsive
  • Develop plans for meeting the goals that matter to you most
  • Get your life under control and organize your schedule
  • Improve your social life by becoming a better listener and friend


Is your child thriving in the school system?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago


      I realize that my comment about older teachers was a generalization, and should have mentioned that I based it on MY own elementary and high school experiences. Obviously this sort of thing varies from school to school, and it's basically a roll of the dice. What infuriates me more about the situation here in Canada is that teachers get paid between $50,000 to $70,000, which is substantial compared to the peanuts they get in the U.S. There have been studies in the U.K. indicating that salary increases do motivate teachers to perform better, and I think this would be especially useful in the U.S. where teachers are paid way too little for the time, education and responsibility they dedicate.

    • Get Thin for Good profile imageAUTHOR

      Claire Carradice 

      5 years ago from Western Cape, South Africa

      Hi there pstraubie48. I so wish my son could have had you as one of his teachers. Perhaps you and the other teachers you refer to are a few who were meant to teach children and I salute you. Teachers have a difficult job with kids and I take my hat off to those who really play the part of "teacher".

      Of course I followed all the right channels in our situation. As I said in my article, I at first believed the teachers who were bullying my son. I took their part at first, but later started seeing the truth. I approached the head of the department, the vice principal and the principal. All of them stuck up for the teachers, and I eventually had to go so far as taking the matter to the Department of Education who had to intervene.

      It got so bad that I had to remove my son from the school.

      It was a devastating experience, and one that years later, still has an effect on my son.

      Most teachers are not as caring as you, and most teachers should not be teachers.

      Thank you for caring, and thanks for your comment.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 years ago from sunny Florida

      I do not usually read comments but I read the first one. I respectfully disagree that older teachers are burnt out and don't care. I taught school for 40 years and my care meter increased from year to year. And the majority of my fellow teachers 99% of them were the same. We knocked ourselves out every day to insure that our children in our classes had the best possible learning experience.

      As new issues crept into the classroom my job became so much more than one to facilitate learning. I became one who was to meet all of the needs that my children brought to the classroom including counseling when they had lost a loved one and making contracts to use so that the children who had more severe problems than ADHD as well as ADHD would be able to survive in school I did NOT send kids to the office because they were not learning if they were out of the room so I did everything I could to see to it that the parent, the child, and I worked together.

      It is unfortunate that teachers you encountered did not meet your expectations and far as you were concerned they were at fault and your child was not.

      In cases like that, go to the administration. Meet with teachers first as you did. If not happy, go the Principal. Express your concerns. Then request a meeting for the teacher and the principal. Your child should be present. If that doesn't work, go to the Superintendent. Usually it does not need to go that far but working with children is everyone's business.

      As far as meeting the needs of creative children, you must make it clear what your expectations are. I made certain that all children were stimulated and challenged every day. You need to monitor and request challenging experiences. Education is about student, teacher, and parent working together to make it work.

      As I matured, I became better and better and learned new and more creative ways to reach children who brought so much to the table that would disrupt their learning.

      Angels are on the way to you are your family this evening.

    • Get Thin for Good profile imageAUTHOR

      Claire Carradice 

      5 years ago from Western Cape, South Africa

      For someone who doesn't have kids, you have spoken many words of wisdom about them. And I agree wholeheartedly with you. Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great hub. I find that teachers who are young (not all, but most) seem to be more eager to empathize and make a difference. Older ones (again, not all of them, but most) are just burnt out and don't want to care. They just collect their checks and wait for retirement, while hiding behind an iron curtain that makes it virtually impossible to have them fired. I don't have kids, but if I were in a similar situation, I'd call the teachers lazy and tell them to go f*ck themselves, then take my kid somewhere where people are actually qualified, rather than disgruntled bullies who scrape by with the bare minimum.


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