As a teacher I have been: MASTURBATED OVER in class by a special needs kid every time I went in his class- weekly for a year (teachers told me to ignore it my job was in the balance, there was a language barrier and I wasn’t really in a position where I could address it. I was also made to high five every kid in the class at the end of lessons, yes, including *that* kid), spanked by a 12 year old, trapped and encircled by a group of 14 year old boys making comments about how they were going to use my body (during teacher training), groped and touched more times than I can remember, had sex simulated on me by the friends of a student who asked for help just to position me so his friend could fake-fuck me, FOLLOWED HOME ON THE TRAIN WHILST STUDENTS SHOUTED ‘TITS TITS TITS’ at me, I’ve been subject to daily jokes about my body, had photos taken of me without consent, asked what colour my pubes were and other sexual questions, and a whole load of other shit that has become so commonplace I can’t even see it any more. STAFF have told to ‘take it as a complement (by a head of year), told me I’d risk losing my job if I reported being followed home (my boss), moved out of boys’ classes as the solution (rather than them being addressed). Asked for a snog from a married male colleague. Had my arse patted by male colleagues in Japan (not recently but I’ve seen this and other inappropriate behaviour at office parties every time I’ve gone and attendance isn’t always optional) The worst thing about it is that nobody ever deals with it and I am in a position where I will be let go if I rock the boat. Damn right I’m angry about it all to this day.
Finding male staff sitting comfortably around the fire place in the common room scoring female staff or MILFs out of 10 is not an isolated incident. Boys, when writing about their families, often describe their parents along the lines of ‘my father is intelligent and earns lots of money’, ‘my mother is pretty and cooks/helps me with my homework’. When inappropriate comments about my female colleague in a previous school were found on students’ Facebook pages, WE were told to wear longer skirts. When I thought of applying for a more senior role, I was told in advance that school would probably want to appoint ‘from outside’ and that it would probably ‘be a man’. We do not have a single female teacher on the senior leadership team.
So, while I was applying for University towards the end of school (UK), I completed my application and went to the teacher responsible for looking over University applications. I decided to apply for an initial teacher education course because I love early and development psychology as well as working with children. For the last two years, I had walked miles once a week to volunteer at a nearby special needs school, then walked miles back to be back in school by the end of break (I started the day on a double free period), I had been elected as a house captain and worked hard for my school community, also having a regular column in the school newsletter. I also worked very hard in my studies and was predicted excellent grades. The teacher read over my application, and said it was fine, and should get me accepted by my University. I left happy enough. A boy in my year, we’ll call him Kane, was applying for the same University at the same course, but because, he said it would be an ‘easy’ job. He was a regular truant, and when I saw him go to show the teacher his application, I asked what feedback he had and if I could have a look at his application. We exchanged and read one another’s. He had no extra curricular activities, poor attendance and no work experience. He said ‘Wow, yours is really good. The teacher said mine was great and that I would probably be head teacher in five years.’ He wasn’t joking.