Bullying toward Teachers: An Example from Turkey

Assist. Prof. Dr., Uludağ University Faculty of Education.


Problem Statement: The studies investigating bullying behaviours exhibited by students toward teachers are limited in number. Since teachers are perceived as powerful adults compared to the teenagers and are responsible for managing the classroom, it is commonly thought that they cannot be considered the victims of students. Such thoughts may have put limitations on research studies examining this matter. It is known that student-teacher interactions have effects on school climate and are extremely important in terms of carrying out anti-bullying programs. For this reason, it was thought that collecting more detailed data about bullying behaviours exhibited by students toward teachers can provide useful information for prevention efforts.

Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this research is to determine the existence and characteristics of students’ bullying toward teachers in Turkey according to the gender of teachers and to draw the attention of those preparing anti-bullying programs and of teacher trainers to the subject.

Methods: Participants of the study were volunteer teachers (n=540) serving at the Osmangazi district of Bursa city. A questionnaire was used to determine behaviours related to bullying exhibited by students toward teachers according to teacher perceptions. The obtained data were analyzed by using frequencies, percentages, and chi square tests.

Results: The comparisons showed that there were no significant differences among bullied and non-bullied participant teachers in terms of gender. On the other hand, male teachers experienced more physical bullying and female teachers experienced more verbal bullying and gossiping. It was determined that there are significant differences among female and male teachers in terms of the gender of the students and in terms of some locations.

Conclusions and Recommendations: The findings showed that the gender of the teachers and students are important in terms of bullying behaviours exhibited by students toward teachers. Therefore, it should be taken into consideration if bullying is included in the content of whole school antibullying programs, pre-service, and in-service teacher training programs. In this context, it is believed that future research investigating the differences between bullied and non-bullied teachers, the characteristics of bully students, the variables such as school size, class size, and the effects of students’ bullying toward teachers on school climate and teacher performance will contribute to the improvement of teacher education programs and anti-bullying programs.

Keywords: Bullying, students, teachers, teacher education, gender.