Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects, including education and creative writing.
Mr. Garson should never have set foot in a classroom. Although he had a sound lesson plan and was deemed highly qualified, he was ineffective in terms of dispensing it to his students.
The problem was evident, at least for the teachers next door to his English class. They described hearing books slammed against a desk or on the floor. Also, they told administrators of hearing things crash and break. Most notably, they heard a lot of yelling.
It was obvious who was doing all the yelling. Mr. Garson was screaming at the top of his lungs. In some cases, the verbal lashing would go on for nearly 20 to 30 minutes.
At first, many of his colleagues thought he had been dealt a bad hand; they believed he was given a group of rambunctious students. In fact, several would come over to help Mr. Garson whenever possible by trying to calm his class down or take a student out of the class.
Yeller is "teacher jargon" for a certain type of ineffective educator.
After a while, however, his colleagues, as well as the school security and administrators, stopped visiting. Students requested – and received – transfers, parents started complaining, and the process to non-rehire him was going before the district school board.
Faculty and staff (especially among the seasoned teachers) began to refer to him by a particular name. They labeled him a “yeller”. It can be a “death nil” for any teacher who receives it.
Yeller is "teacher jargon" for a certain type of ineffective educator. Despite their abilities and competence in their curriculum, those labeled with this designation often lack management or people skills. And, as the name suggests, the only way they deal with discipline is to raise their voices to a deafening screech.
Characteristics of a Yeller
Besides, yelling, these teachers have other characteristics. Many of them are loners and rarely seek help from others. When they do reach out to others for help, they call security to have a student removed from the classroom.
Their brand of discipline is often inconsistent. One particular yeller, for example, was quick to write a referral for boys being out of their seat, while only giving a verbal warning to girls who committed the same act.
Referrals are over-used, sometimes for the smallest infraction. Another example was an incident in which a yeller wrote a referral for a student who made the mistake of saying “Hi” to her.
The most disturbing aspect of yellers is that they are confrontational. In fact they may intentionally or unintentionally bait the student into acting out. One such example was witnessed by this writer. An instructional assistant in an ED (emotional disorder) class started in on a student for not bringing a pencil. It didn’t take long before the two were screaming at one another. It only ended after the instructional assistant wrote a referral and was removed from the classroom.
Personality disorder aside, there are other ways to spot yellers. And, the first place to look is the classroom. In September, the yellers have control of their classroom. It would appear that everything is in order. The students may like them, as well. However, by June, it’s a totally different story. The classroom is chaotic. Items missing; the students not listening. Most notably, the teachers in these classrooms are not teaching. They’re either showing a film vaguely acceptable to be shown to children, or seated at their desks, exhausted or just watching the mayhem envelope the learning environment.
There are others factors found in their classroom:
- Classroom rules are not posted on the wall. This may seem minor; however, the posted rules are there to remind students of what is expected from them.
- Shrinking classroom: yellers tend to lose students at an alarming rate. Students will not want to sit in a classroom for 10 months being yelled at. Parents who often get wind of the teachers’ behaviors will also request their children’s removal.
- Lessons start on the first day of school. Why does this matter? It’s a sign the teachers are disregarding lessons and reviews on classroom rules. Also, they haven’t planned for disciplinary actions to address misbehavior or for the educational expectations. In a sense, they broke the first rule of classroom discipline: be proactive rather than reactive.
- School security routinely patrols the halls outside the classroom or is constantly making visits (it should be noted that security will eventually stop showing up on time when they are called by these teachers. After a while, they come to realize that these calls are taking them away from other serious matters happening on the campus).
- Other teachers stay away. In some cases, even the union representatives stay away.
Fortunately, yellers don’t last long. Many will be non-rehired and will not be allowed to come back after the year ends
Ultimately, yellers are teachers who have lost control of their classrooms. They may have thought that a loud, angry voice would put the students in place and compel them to pay attention and learn. It may have worked in the beginning; however, when students realize the teacher is just loud with nothing to backup those words, they stop paying attention.
Fortunately, yellers don’t last long. Many will be non-rehired and will not be allowed to come back after the year ends. Others quit at the end of the semester or year (in one case, a yeller jumped out the classroom window, ran to his car, and took off. He was never heard from again. What caused this? A student who couldn’t take the yelling anymore threatened him).
In other cases, the yellers transform. They learn to take control of the classroom and use proactive measures. These are the ones who will last. Still, there are a small percentage of unrepentant yellers who survive the first three or four years of teaching and become tenured. This doesn’t mean their fellow teachers and councilors are not aware. In fact, the yellers eventually will become isolated as their colleagues stay away and councilors steer students away from their classroom.
What Happened to Mr. Garson?
Eventually, Mr. Garson, was asked to leave before the school year ended. He made a huge mistake; he showed an R-rated horror film in class. It’s not certain if he moved onto another school or district.
However, the teachers who had their classroom next to him, are not wondering about that. They’re enjoying the quietness that now permeates from Mr. Garson’s former classroom.
© 2012 Dean Traylor
Greg Horlacher from Grand Prairie, TX on July 26, 2012:
You perfectly described a bad teacher. I used to be a version of this person when I started at an Eckerd Youth Alternatives camp in North Carolina. Great mentors and patient training helped me become a better person and teacher in time. I feel for these bad teachers because I know that most of them just need great mentors, continuous training, and more overall experience.
Dean Traylor (author) from Southern California/Spokane, Washington (long story) on May 22, 2012:
Thank you all for the kind compliments.I'll be posting articles closely related to this topic. I think it is important to know that there are some people who are fit for teaching, and others who are not.
Emer420 on May 20, 2012:
Oh man. I have no respect for a teacher that yells at their students. There is no other way to get a student to want to leave your class, and not learn, than to yell at them. I have had a few and have dropped their class, because I wasn't learning anything by getting yelled at. Very well written hub here. It contains many important points and is very informative.
Jyoti Kothari from Jaipur on May 20, 2012:
Teachers must have qualities to teach their pupil properly. Yelling is not a right way adopted by some teachers.
Nice hub, rated up and useful. Thanks.