By Monique Coppola
Bullying – it’s not just for kids. It also happens to adults in the workplace, and it’s more common than you might think.
Dr. James Fedderman, a choral music teacher in Arcadia, says he has been the target of school administrators and even fellow teachers for quite some time. Attacks have come in the form of verbal attacks and emails. He has been feeling downright undermined and demoralized by what he calls “professional bullying,” he says.
“There has been yelling; there has been standing up in front of my face, pointing down at me, being told ‘You better not do this, ever again.’”
Fedderman, who is also president of the Accomack Education Association, says the scoldings had nothing to do with school policy, but rather his efforts to go above and beyond when it comes to educating his students, and for providing an ear for those who need help.
Fedderman is not alone. Among teachers who responded to a national study on being bullied in the school workplace last year, 29 percent say they’ve been bullied by an administrator and 45 percent by another staff member. In a broader national study on general workplace bullying, one in four workers felt they experienced some form of bullying. The majority neither confronted or reported the bully.
Fedderman suggests a few things you should and should not do if you are bullied in the workplace.
“You have to understand exactly what the facts are, and you have to remove yourself from issues that are not the facts. They need to take time to process, and not to respond when they are in the heat of the moment.”
Fedderman described his experiences in a magazine article published recently by the Virginia Education Association. He has received hundreds of responses from teachers who have also experienced bullying. He plans to conduct a formal study on bullying in Virginia Public Schools this fall.
The national study on bullying in schools was conducted by John Hopkins University and the National Education Association. The broader workplace study was made by Career Builder.
Source: Public News Service