Toxic Teacher

Mean Teacher
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Definition: A toxic teacher is one who in some way or another hards children. The harm is more emotional and academic than it is physical. We have laws that prevent teachers from committing physical violence on children, but nothing can prevent a teacher from doing other kinds of harm.

At the less harmful end, a toxic teacher may cause a child to become an underachiever. This is harmful because it can seriously affect a child's potential.

For example, a child who was enthusiastic about space science with a goal of becoming an astronaut, might stop caring about that goal and may lose interest in science altogether. Rather than encourage that interest, a toxic teacher would mock the child and actually try to stop him from thinking about space. And if that isn't bad enough, the toxic teacher would insist that the child complete work that is tediously boring simply because it is "grade level" material. In other words, the teacher is extremely rigid, not caring how her policies might be hurting the child.

As bad as the academic effects are of a toxic teacher, even worse are the emotional effects. A toxic teacher is one who might go so far as to make fun of a child in front of the entire class. She may make it difficult for the child to cultivate friendships, keeping him away as much as possible from any kids in the class he's on friendly terms with.

It's hard to say what motivates such a teacher to behave as she does, but whatever her reasons may be, her behavior toward the child is emotionally damaging.

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