There have been a couple of 'calls to action' in the past few weeks on the subject of bullying of teachers. It seems people are starting to want to do something about it collectively. But what is going to work, and what are we hoping to achieve from taking this action?
Check out this link to a survey, as posted on TES Forums: Short survey on bullying of adults in schools. The poster states that they are going to go public with the results and use the statistics gained from it to form a campaign.
Here, there is an e-petition: Bullying by Adults in Schools is unacceptable and needs urgent government attention. The aim of which seems to be to ask the government to 'take action to protect people'.
Finally, there is a call for a national demonstration on the matter: National Demonstration of Teachers. It's more aimed at the excessive reforms that seem to be an attack on teachers, and from the other responses is not a popular idea.
I think there are enough teachers that this is happening to to warrant doing something about it, but none of the above seem to have gained enough momentum or support at all. Particularly in the last post, there seems to be a consensus that any campaigning will have zero effect, is not a mature or professional way to go about things, and teachers should just get over that.
I think there is also a lack of clarity on what we are trying to achieve by doing this. An end to bullying of course, but how specifically? What exactly needs to stop? The first survey does show different types of bullying behaviour, and I'd be very interested to see which occur most often in schools. But again, how do we stop that? What needs to happen?
Sometimes I don't think that collective action is the right way to go at all. Sometimes I consider individuals fighting their own battles to be more important, taking things to employment tribunals and publicly naming and shaming academic institutions notorious for bullying. Perhaps supporting more teachers to do that rather than bow out gracefully and save themselves is the answer.
Evidence will be important as well. Evidence and statistics that back up any claims that a campaign will make. Where will this come from?
I'm considering working on these issues in detail, particularly now that I am on maternity leave, and perhaps trying to answer these questions. I'd love to hear your views on these matters, you can comment below, or email me.