Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Mobbing Syndrome

“The mobbing syndrome is a malicious attempt to force a person out of the workplace through unjustified accusations, humiliation, general harassment, emotional abuse, and/or terror.

It is a “ganging up” by the leader(s)—organization, superior, co-worker, or subordinate—who rallies others into systematic and frequent mob-like behavior.

Because the organization ignores, condones or even instigates the behavior, it can be said that the victim, seemingly helpless against the powerful and many is indeed “mobbed”.

The result is always injury—physical or mental distress or illness and social misery and, most often, expulsion from the workplace.”
Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the Workplace p 40

The experience I described in CHICKENS AND PAJAROS was perpetrated by children while the school organization as a whole ignored the behavior. It is difficult for me to include the children as part of the mobbing syndrome because of the stigma involved in admitting that my students were acting out against me.

In the PRE-Bloomberg BOARD of Education, a “good teacher” maintained a quiet, orderly classroom. Nothing has changed in that respect in the Bloomberg DEPARTMENT of Education except that he has added the following condition: a “good teacher” has quiet, orderly students whose math and reading scores improve every year by a minimum of X%. This has now put a lot of teachers who considered themselves in the “good” category into the “bad” category—so much so that Bloomberg is closing schools like crazy and throwing teachers who were previously “good” into ATR status (teacher limbo).

In the present “Business Model” of Education, students are considered “widgets”. They are our products, and their test scores are the way management measures our “production”. But according to this same Model, they are also our subordinates. We are supposed to manage them so that they produce like good little office workers—except that they are five, six…eight, nine, …twelve, thirteen,….sixteen, seventeen.

They are not widgets, they are not office workers. They are children.

Children should not have to sit quietly for seven hours a day or more. Some are able to sit still for most of that time. Others have more and more difficulty as the day goes on. Some are off the wall by 2nd period, and we label them ADHD.

Those antsy little kids who are failing as widget/office workers, act out their low self esteem by bullying good little widget/office workers. And sometimes, if they’re really lucky they get to bully a teacher. It might be because the teacher is a substitute or a newbie, or a teacher that is a little bit off her game; or because they get the message that it’s OK with other adults in the school if they abuse a specific teacher or teachers.

Sometime these adults simply ignore the bullying. Sometimes they tacitly condone it, and sometimes they actively instigate it. It is my contention that adults in my school have perpetrated all three probully behaviors in order to force teachers they don’t like out of the school.

This may sound a little paranoid to you, but in my case, the principal and her assistant principals have been kind enough to provide me with many long, long, letters that are going to help me prove my point.

And I suspect that the Chancellor’s Archives are full of proof. Better start shredding, Bloomie—and hope that the teachers didn’t keep copies.


Pissedoffteacher said...

Sorry for the crap you are going through but glad to see you back. I posted a link to you with a note that you are back on my blog.

Anonymous said...


Hang in there. I am one of the silent many who read your log and never comment.
I am going thru a bogus 3020a and recognize much of the bullying and isolation you are going thru. If I had your writing talents I would blog.

Welcome back.

17 (really 15) more years said...

And don't forget- in the business world, if somebody is unproductive you get to cut them loose. We can't do that with our little "widgets".

The Bus Driver said...

holymoly!!! i'm just reading bits and pieces of your class from hell and the UNprofessional administration you work with. I'm sorry they're continually targeting you and that you have a bullseye on your back just for doing your job. :(

Under Assault said...

Extremely important post.

Similar mobbing happened to me last month when I was restored to my position (had been an ATR) and had to replace the teacher who'd been doing the class all semester.

Several classes couldn't handle the change, and they mobbed. It was an excruciating experience. Four different items were thrown at me when my back was turned, insulted up, down and sideways with the most sexist, agist, racist and vulgar terms. Furniture overturned and materials on desk drowned in water.

I will eventually write something on the subject of administration wanting someone to FAIL, and I will cross-reference this blog.

Moriah Untamed said...

Thanks for your supportive comments everybody.

Anonymous said...

great post, the importance of this blog can't be overstated.