Teacher

B

In maths class today, my teacher asked us to put up our hands if we were done and he would give us more work. I am quite smart, and was first done in the class. I put up my hand, just as another (male) teacher walked into the class. “It’ll need help.” He said. IT! I AM 12! “Go check her out,” he continued. I couldn’t say anything; he was a teacher, but I sat fuming in my seat. Thank you for reading my story.

H

I was bullied a lot all throughout secondary school by my peers because I was ‘weird’ (now I realise I was just being read as queer long before I ever consciously felt like I was). We had a young male teacher for Design and Technology and we had class with him once a week. One of the boys favourite ways to bully me was to pretend ‘flirt’ with me and then laugh about it, the joke being I was of course too disgusting and weird to ever be flirted with for real. My male DT teacher used to do the same thing – jokingly flirt with me, and then laugh about it with the rest of the class. This started when I was in year seven, eleven years old. He did it nearly every lesson, and it was humiliating and scary. The worst was at the end of year seven, I had won a trip to a theme park for running a stall at the school fete. The DT teacher was supervising this trip, and he came up behind me in class and leaned over me and joked that I could sit next to him on the rides if I wanted – the idea of ‘throwing a bone’ to the ‘ugly’ girl. It made my skin crawl. I only had to have lessons with him for two more years, and every wednesday (the day of our class with him) I’d pretend to be sick and go home early so I didnt have to go to his class. I dropped his class in year ten, soon as I was allowed. I used to get physically sick the days before his classes. I didnt feel like I could report his behavior because I felt like other people would laugh at me for thinking that a young ‘attractive’ teacher would even think about flirting with someone as ‘weird’ as me. I hated his guts for the rest of the time I went to that school, and had to watch all three of my younger sisters go on to have classes with him (luckily he didnt do this to any of them far as I know – I was very tomboyish and so singled out as visibly ‘weird’ where my sisters werent).

V Brown

The headteacher of my school wanted me to complete work ‘before I went on holiday’. He was referring to my maternity leave. Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t allowed to return to my post, despite nobody even checking the timetable to see if flexible working hours were possible. I’m now into my second year of pursuing my sex discrimination claim and am unable to say anything to anyone. The school gave the message to staff that I’d chosen not to return to work. I expect to lose on some sort of technicality but would rather risk the thousands of pounds this is costing me than let a school continue to treat another woman this way.

Sam

Im 15 and live in Greece. My PE teacher is extremely sexist, but not the aggressive type. That is, he says things like “women talk a lot and only care about nails and clothes” but doesn’t openly treat girls differently. He does however separate the two genders while we play volleyball. One time, i, a girl, happened to be in a team full of boys, while the other team was all girls and one boy. He then told me to go to the other team, while I was playing, “because the other boy felt lonely”. He had never done that before. Never changed us like that before.

Meredith

My PE teacher refers to me directly as “Princess” everyday. He calls my friend “Sweetheart” and singles her out for demonstration constantly. I don’t think he even knows our real names.

Jo

After I did my short teacher training course I stayed in touch with several people. One guy I met up with on an irregular basis, purely as a friend. He was pretty geeky, but then so am I, so that was all fine. Then I found out from a mutual friend that he takes regular trips to the far East for sex tourism. The guy is in a wheelchair, so at first, even though the whole idea of exploiting impoverished women who have gone into prostitution in developing countries was obviously upsetting, I found myself making excuses for him to some extent. I know that this is not an excuse, however, plenty of people in wheelchairs have relationships, it is this man’s odious attitude to women that was the problem. Perhaps even worse, I found out that he upskirts women, and has probably done this in my presence when we went out, or has even done it to me. I cut off contact with him eventually, but it makes me sick to think that this man is teaching young women. I hope he has stopped paying to rape women and illegally violating their privacy with upskirting, which is thankfully now an offence in the UK.

male teacher

at the beginning of the school year my male social studies teacher said to our class (7th graders) “I need 4 strong guys to carry books down” I would have offered but i was hurting and didn’t want to move. when he came back with the four boys i asked why he said only boys to help and he responded “i didn’t want u girls to get sweaty”

High School Teacher

Hi, I am a 18-year-old-French-high school student. My economics teacher is a white sexist patriarchal man. When a girl in my class asks a question or comments on the topic that we’re working on, he says “a woman who is silent is a gift of the Lord” (in French “une femme qui se tait est un don du Ciel”) and whenever a female students says something he doesn’t agree with he says for those who know French “c’est de la mauvaise fois typiquement feminine” which basically means “she has bad faith / she is lying like women do”. Finally, he calls one of my female classmates “la nulle” (which means in French “you suck”) I tried to speak up, both in class and to the principle, who is also a man, but every time he is excused and I am told to stop being “so sensitive” and to lighten up and learn to take his jokes… I can’t take it anymore. Those sexist jokes give legitimacy to this patriarchal society, send the message to the boys in my class that it’s ok to mistreat women while we girls are invited to remain silent and accept the discrimination. Those comments repeat the stereotypes that continue to harm us today. I just wish the school would speak up and sanction this teacher….

Tales Avellar from Brazil

(I’m actually a trans boy, but as I’m not on hormones I’m seen as a girl) – When I was kissing a girl at a bar table and my friend started yelling to a guy, about him recording the kiss with his phone for future masturbation. – When I had to wait for the bus in the early morning to go to school, and one day a car followed me real slowly yelling the things they wanted to do to me, and I started to pray for that to be all and for them not to drag me in. – I love to go to the movies alone, but I stopped going for a really long time after the man sitting next to me stared at me all the way throughout the movie, and I was so terrified I went to hide in the bathroom crying and stayed until I thought it was safe to leave. – I live with my grandmother, and we ordered a desk. She didn’t want me to open the door for the guy alone, because recently she had to do it and the guy, standing on her doorway, started saying he had a stomachache and putting his hand inside his pants because it “hurt”. – At school it was a well known fact among the students that the PE teacher stared at girl’s breast and touched them to correct their posture in a different way than he did to the boys.

It’s never ok

When I started secondary school at age 11, there was this one woodwork teacher all the girls would avoid. We had all heard his inappropriate comments, hands brushing our legs as he walked past, his unsolicited ‘hands on’ offers of help using the equipment, overly touchy-feely, we all dreaded these lessons. But in my whole time at school it never occurred to me there was anything really wrong. Even at the age of 11 I had learnt to recognise this behaviour as something I was just going to have to put up with, experiences like this were just an intrinsic part of the female experience. It was a secret all us girls kept together, we would put up any defences and deflective shields we had already acquired, then later huddled together over our packed lunches swapping war stories, tutting and giggling at the absurdity. Even if we had considered speaking up, we instinctively understood we would have been ignored. Of course everybody already ‘knew’, he was just one of ‘those’ types, he was ‘old’, he is a ‘character’, you’re just going to have to learn to put up with that sort of behaviour. But nobody was sad to see him go. Towards the end of my time at school, another teacher was removed all of a sudden. Rumours began floating about his sexual misconduct, harassment of young students, in appropriate behaviour. This shocked us to the core. How could a teacher, somebody entrusted with the safety and well-being of minors, who we all admired and respected, and trusted, abuse his power in such a way? Somehow, this terrified us, yet my peers and I never equated this with our own prior experiences. Not this teacher, “he couldn’t have”, “but he’s so nice!”. It disturbs and sickens me that only in the wake of the “me too” campaign have I really started to question my school experiences. How could I have allowed myself and others to be abused in this way, why haven’t I questioned it before, and why did the terms ‘predator’ and ‘paedophile’ never occur to me until now? Perhaps surrounded by my peers, the group experience gave us the illusion of safety. Or maybe because it wasn’t the worst behaviour or this kind I had encountered, even at the age of 11, I considered it a training ground for future experience. It doesn’t make it ok.