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Rape and Abuse If you or someone you know is being abused in any way and you need support or advice, don't hesitate to reach out to us here.

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lexi17 Offline
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Question Think my teacher is being abused - August 15th 2015, 05:34 AM

I'm really worried about one of my teachers. I had her last year for English and she's a great teacher, but I don't know, you know how sometimes you can almost feel when something is off with someone, like they act perfectly happy and normal but there seems to be something sad under that? Anyway, all last year, she wore long sleeves, and sometimes, there were bruises you could see, like on her wrists, and a couple times more obvious ones, even though she had stories for them, and she always had lunch alone in her classroom. Then, last May, we had a sub for a week, and when she came back, she had her arm in a sling and bruises on her face, and she said she tried rock climbing for the first and last time and fell. Maybe it was true, I don't know. But I was scared enough that I said something to my mom, but she told me I was probably making something out of nothing, that I read too much and was just being dramatic. If any of the other students or teachers have noticed, no one acts like it, so maybe nothing's going on and I am just being dramatic. I hope so.

But anyway, the reason I'm writing this is that I ran into her last week when I was helping out with freshmen orientation and I'll have her next year for senior writing but not until the second semester. I felt so bad when I saw her bc I really still think something's wrong and I'm being a huge coward.

I guess I'm looking for advice. Do you think I'm making something out of nothing and should let it go? It still feels like I should do something. Should I try talking to another adult, but who? I want to just say something to her but if she was going to talk to someone I doubt she'd pick a random teenager. Maybe I should leave an anonymous note just letting her know that someone is concerned and that's there are resources to get help if she needs it?

Please help.

Thanks, Lexi
   
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Re: Think my teacher is being abused - August 15th 2015, 05:51 AM

Hey Lexi, welcome to TH

I can't say whether or not your teacher is being abused, but from what you've posted it does sound suspicious. I don't think you're over reacting. You feel like something is wrong and you want to do something to help. I know this is a really awkward position to be in.

I would suggest talking to either your guidance counselor, principal, or vice-principal about your concerns. Your guidance counselor would probably be the easiest for you to approach. They can discuss it with her as a colleague and she won't have to know it was you who said anything if you're worried about that. This way you've done something and helped her without feeling like you're intruding too much. Just make sure that you tell whoever you talk to everything that's making you suspicious and personally, I'd do it sooner rather than later. If she is in an abusive situation, the sooner you do it the better.


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Re: Think my teacher is being abused - August 17th 2015, 07:18 PM

Hi, Lexi: I can understand your apprehension due to fear of overreacting, but at the end of the day, I feel that you perhaps should take some sort of action if you believe your teacher's safety is in question. Your idea about the note may be a good one, although it may not be as effective as you wish if she is not aware of who sent it.

I'm not sure it would be the worst idea to actually approach her directly - but gently, of course - regarding your concerns. You could even preface the conversation with something such as, "I'm going to feel somewhat silly and very sorry if this is a mistake, but I am also worried and would rather take that chance than risk feeling a great deal more guilt later." I don't think she would be angry about your asking and I would hope would actually be thankful for the gesture.

Whatever you decide, I hope all goes well. Best wishes.
   
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Re: Think my teacher is being abused - August 17th 2015, 10:36 PM

Thank you both for your advice. I'm not sure I did the right thing, but I decided I had to try to do something. Today was the first day of school. I didn't talk to her myself because I thought that as a student she probably wouldn't confide in me (that she might have to feel like she had to deny it, whether she wanted to talk to someone or not, because of our roles and her responsibility and all that).

So I talked to the guidance counselor over at the middle school. (It's in a different building, but all the schools are on the same campus in my town. The high school has four guidance counselors, but I decided to talk to this woman because I always remember her being supportive and a good listener, and I thought maybe if this teacher was going to say something, it might be easier to talk to someone who she didn't have to work with every day.).

I told the guidance counselor everything that had me worried. The counselor appeared genuinely concerned and she told me that if I told her who it was she would talk to this teacher. She also assured me that she didn't have to say anything to anyone else, not even the principal, unless it was something where a student could potentially be harmed or if the teacher had kids who were being hurt too, but she doesn't have kids. So I told her the teacher's name, and she told me that she would find out when her free period was and talk to her tomorrow.

I don't know how much this will help if it's even true, but if there is any chance she needed to know someone cares, or would listen, or would help her get help if she wanted it . . . I trust this counselor to be like that.

The counselor also said she wouldn't say who had said something, but I asked her to. If she is being hurt, she might be trying to hide it or feel ashamed. I don't think I'd want to be wondering, if it was me, how many people were thinking this, or feel like people were talking about it behind my back, wondering whether it was this student, or that student, or one of the other teachers. So I thought it would be less stressful for her if she didn't have to wonder. She might be angry at me, but I thought it was better than making her feel more isolated. Anyway, I'm not in her class this semester and probably won't see much of her until January either way.

I don't know that I'll know what happens from here. The guidance counselor encouraged to me to come over and talk to her again if anything was still bothering me, but she told me that she wouldn't be able to tell me anything they talk about, to protect the teacher's privacy, which I understand, and because I'm student, which I get too. She told me that she thinks I did the right thing but that its not my responsibility to worry about what happens now. I might still worry, but like I said, at least I did something now and that feels somewhat better.

Thanks,

Lexi

Ps. I did leave an anonymous note for her today, but it was just one saying that she was an awesome teacher, that I had learned a lot from her, that I really enjoyed her classes and how much she cares about her students is inspiring to me. Because everyone needs words of encouragement sometimes and maybe she needs them more right now.
   
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Re: Think my teacher is being abused - August 18th 2015, 05:22 AM

Hey there,

To be honest you ain't over reacting! You did the right thing! (: To me it seems a little suspicious about the bruises and long sleeves and stuff. I might get worried if it was my teacher! You would rather be safe then sorry, right? (:
   
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Re: Think my teacher is being abused - August 18th 2015, 05:05 PM

That's terrific, Lexi - I think you handled this very difficult situation extremely well. I hope everything turns out alright for her.
   
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