Pupils’ taunts drove him away

School Teacher
School Teacher
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A former Port Elizabeth teacher has told a different tale of alleged classroom abuse by revealing how he was a victim of dehumanisation and intimidation by pupils which led directly to his resignation.

He left teaching on the advice of his doctor. James (not his real name) was 46 at the time and said the bullying would start immediately he started a lesson.

“I used to teach at a private school in Port Elizabeth, and from [the moment] I started the learners victimised me.

“This was my second year of teaching. “They would make verbally degrading comments and gestures about the way I dressed. They criticised my teaching before I even started,” James said.

He said the pupils had taken advantage of his soft nature. The bullying got to a point where some would vandalise his belongings.

“Some pupils had no shame and swore at me directly. Whenever I left the class, I would come back to find my personal belongings were broken. They had no regard for my human dignity or me as an adult,” he said.

James said he had been subjected to oppression by a group of pupils in certain classes on a daily basis and over a long period of time. “The severity of the bullying varied. In certain classes I was victimised by one learner, and in other classes by a group – they would verbally gang up on me, making it very difficult to give a lesson.

“I constantly had to reprimand and shout at the learners to get work done.” James said he had eventually reported the bullying to the HOD and the principal. “The parents of the culprits were notified and called in to see the principal.

"Some parents came and some parents simply ignored the issue. The bullies were also called in and simply reprimanded. “And because nothing really ensued from that session, the very next day the bullying happened over again.”

He said that during this period his energy levels had been very low and he had felt completely defeated. “The bullying negatively affected the quality of education and my productivity in class because I was insecure and held back on teaching because of the anxiety.

“My anxiety escalated to a point where I resorted to medical assistance. My GP later diagnosed me with depression and I was put on anti-depression medication.

“Shortly after this, my GP suggested that for my health and moreover safety, I should consider resigning.”

James said that six months into his second year of teaching in 2017, he resigned with immediate effect and has not taught since.

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