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arturodiaz's avatar

How to handle an insulting teacher?

Asked by arturodiaz (553points) September 29th, 2010

I’m a law student and my political economic teacher is , he spends 75% of the class insulting students, he definitively knows what hes talking about, the problem it is really, really annoying so much attacks to students, he kicked one student cause he was taking notes while the teacher was talking and he constantly calls me fat, to a black guy he calls him whitey. He also insults catholics, jews, girls, people who dont speak perfect spanish(the class is in México), if you happen to take out your cell phone for any reason(even if it doesnt sound) he throws to the garbage from several meters far, so does with pens. His class is just frustrating me. They cannot really fire him as teachers in this school are not payed. Not a crappy school at all, there is actually a waiting list of teachers eager to give classes there. Anyway, any experiences with such situations?

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12 Answers

Seek's avatar

I would request a transfer, if there’s another available class. If that were not possible, I’d bring an audio recorder, and have a long talk with the dean after a particularly nasty class, in which I might mention my passing thoughts on letting the data make it to the local media.

arturodiaz's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I thought of such thing, telling the administration or something, but im pretty sure he would make me pay. Badly, I cannot afford to fail in this school.

Maybe a more diplomatic approach.

muppetish's avatar

I would report him. Write down everything he says, word-for-word, and take it to his superior. Go straight to to the dean of his department. Even if you cannot get him fired, you should still report him.

What does his syllabus say about some of these policies (such as cell phone usage)? If he doesn’t explicitly mention a policy, then you should report that too. The professors at my university are obligated to state their in-class policies in the syllabus before they can enforce anything.

(You can also contest how he grades you. If you are worried about him making you pay if you go to a higher up, and he does, then you can take that to the administration as well. They can override his grades if you can offer a plausible reason for how he has unjustly graded you. In this case, I don’t think it would be difficult to argue at all. Don’t feel intimidated from speaking up about this.)

I would feel disgusted being in this teacher’s presence. I’m sorry you have had to put up with it so far. I think I would have pulled a Hermione and walked out.

Seek's avatar

@arturodiaz I’m certain the Dean would just love for someone with evidence of harassment to gain further evidence of same due to a report.

What your class is experiencing is abuse. And one of the key factors of a successful abuser is instilling in his victims a fear of further abuse.

He only has the power to “punish” you if you allow him.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

There is no way you can make a complaint and tell someone of higher authority over him he is being this way?

arturodiaz's avatar

@Mom2BDec2010 you can say something, there is nothing stopping you, but consequences are to be expected, all the exams here are oral and there is just one exam of about 20 minuts which grades everything at the end of the year. The grades at the exam are not negotiable in anyway, is one of the funding principles of the school.

Adagio's avatar

He sounds like he doesn’t deserve handling with kid gloves although you probably need someone in authority to act on your behalf… perhaps you know of another student who would like to present this issue to an authority figure alongside you, it might strengthen the complaint.

Nullo's avatar

It depends on the teacher. I had some success chewing out an especially speedy lecturer who refused to repeat herself, and in high school a politically vociferous biology teacher.
Probably won’t work with this guy, but if you do go for it, be sure to wave your recorder menacingly. Stylistically, you want to be polite, but firm. Avoid temerity at all costs.

The trouble with diplomacy is that it requires that the target be willing to change. As you said, this guy knows what he’s doing, and the fact that he hasn’t is fair indication that he won’t without some outside motivation.
@Seek_Kolinahr‘s suggestion, about deaning the guy, is probably pretty good.

YARNLADY's avatar

Is it possible to call him out? If he says you are fat in front of everybody say “Did I hear you correctly, did you just call me fat? That is entirely unacceptable!” You are an adult, and there is no need to put up with that kind of treatment.

Your_Majesty's avatar

What a very strict teacher! I know some teacher do that to test and train your mentality. He will scold and insult you but he’ll never hit you,at least,not physically (if he did that then a report to the police station is a must).

I’ve met such teacher when I was in school and I tried to compromise with the rule they made and manage to win their attention by doing their ‘dirty job’ as a ‘teacher’s pet’.
I see there’s nothing wrong with the rule he tried to put in his class,it’s very strict but it still rational and he did that for a reason,except the ‘harsh’ words he said to his student (well,harsh words are allowed but ‘forbidden’ words aren’t allowed).

I think you need to be more patient in his class (provided that he’s honest in giving scores) till you graduate from this class without challenging this person. Good luck!

Nullo's avatar

Consider researching and abstracting from the defensive behaviors of wild animals.

downtide's avatar

I agree with @muppetish. Write everything down (or better yet, record it) and take the evidence to the Dean.

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