The things that happen to us during childhood can have a profound lifelong effect, and that includes humiliation at the hands of educators. A Reddit thread reveals ways real people have experienced this.

By Zara Hanawalt
October 07, 2020
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There's more than one way to teach children. Educators rely on multiples styles, but they must all work to find that balance between nurturing and firm—that sweet spot that allows children to feel safe and cared for while still reaching their full potential.

But one thing is clear: There's a difference between discipline and humiliation, and the latter can affect children in ways that linger long after the lesson is learned.

A Reddit thread illuminates this. Users share their stories of humiliation at the hands of teachers—and it's very clear these experiences can have a long-term effect.

"In middle school, my art teacher used one of my paintings as the example of what not to do for all of the classes in my grade. My name was on it and it was clearly my work. My peers were pretty chill about it and I know that I'm not a great artist, but I really enjoyed it. I never painted again," one user shares.

Another adds: "My primary school teacher in year one who stopped the whole class mid-way through a rendition of 'the wheels on the bus' to tell me my singing was awful and I shouldn't sing anymore. I've never been able to sing in public since."

"My fiance was publicly humiliated by our high school teacher. He was a sickly kid and so his mom requested he had a fan close to him on the side of the room to keep him cool. We live in a tropical country so it could get really hot sometimes," another poster shares. "Our teacher publicly humiliated him about it. He stopped going to school altogether and just wasted the year away. He may not admit it but I have observed it has affected him a lot.

Yet another Reddit user shares a story about making a speech in English class as a high school sophomore. The teacher berated them and said the user would never amount to anything in life—a terrible thing to say to a child by all accounts. "I wound up leaving the class in tears. I'm still terrified of public speaking. I'm also now incapable of crying due to severe depression stemming from how I was treated as a kid," the user writes.

There are more stories along these lines in the post, and one thing is very clear from all this: There's absolutely no reason for teachers to treat kids this way.

So where does this leave us as parents? For starters, this thread is eye-opening; it's important for us to understand that this sort of verbal abuse may be more common than we'd think. And maybe we also ought to have conversations with our kids about this issue. We need to teach them that nobody has the right to humiliate them, not even an authority figure, and that if they feel hurt or uncomfortable by something an educator does, they can always come to us to discuss it.

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