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15 Tips To Avoid Student Humiliation

Everyone deserves respect be it the teacher or the students. Each student is different from the other and has a unique personality. Sometimes, dealing with all the unique personalities can be too much for you as a teacher. Therefore, a teacher may unknowingly end up humiliating a student to force them to do what they want from them.

What many teachers and school authorities do not realize is that their job is to guide the students in the right direction and not humiliate them. There is a thin line between guiding the students in the right direction and actually controlling them.

Humiliating a student in front of their friends and other teachers can have many consequences. It can garnish and destroy their self-respect. In many cases, it can leave a scar on their personality that can tarnish them.

Humiliating students in front of others in any form is not acceptable and needs to be avoided at all costs. If you are also humiliating students knowingly or unknowingly, then check out the following ways to avoid students’ humiliation.


1. Avoid Any Form Of Sarcasm

Some students are more sensitive than others. They do not take sarcasm as sportingly as others. As a student’s brain is still in the development phase, they may not take sarcasm as you intended. Even if you intended to deliver it in a light or funny way, the student might not understand it.

As a result, they may feel embarrassed about being the victim of your sarcasm in front of everyone. It can destroy their self-respect and make them feel that they are good for nothing. Therefore, sarcasm in any form must be avoided by the teachers.


2. Do Not Give Embarrassing Punishments

Sometimes, you might be tempted to give a punishment to the student when they have done something wrong. But, if the punishment is too embarrassing, other students would make fun of them. As a result, it would shatter the confidence of the student.

Therefore, giving such punishments should be avoided at all costs. Instead, as an adult, you need to counsel them about their disturbing behavior and ask them to not repeat it in the future.


3. Do Not Over Do It With Praising

Did you know that praising the students more than the normal can have a negative impact on their personality as well? Even though you might think that you praising your students will increase their confidence, but when you overdo it with the praising this can have a completely opposite effect.

When you praise the students on achieving even a simple task, they might get the message that you have low expectations from them, and as a result, they may feel humiliated in front of others.


4. Do Not Use Sexual, Religious, Or Racial Slur

Making fun of students on the basis of their caste, color, or sex is completely unethical and should be avoided at all costs. It would make the students think of you as a threat, and they would try to avoid you as much as possible. Also, making such comments on the students would make them feel embarrassed in front of everyone.


5. Discuss Their Progress In Private

As a home tutor or school teacher, you might need to communicate with the student individually to discuss their progress. The purpose of this communication can be anything. You might want to discuss their academic progress or their conduct in the classroom.

But, discussing it in front of other students can actually lead to humiliation of the progress is bad. Therefore, the best way to discuss their progress is to discuss it in private. This would save them from public humiliation, and they will be thankful to you forever.


6. Give Them The Right To Pass

You must know that the students do not share the same level of intelligence. You will have many students in your class. Some will have above average intelligence and some will be less intelligent than others. So, there is a possibility that they do not know the answers to the questions that you ask in the classroom.

Even if you consider a particular student intelligent, it might be possible that they are not able to answer your question. This is why you need to give the students the right to pass on a particular question that they do not know the answer of. This will save them from facing humiliation in the classroom.


7. Give Them The Option To Choose Their Own Consultant

There would be many circumstances in the classroom where the student will give the wrong answer to your question. You need to very carefully handle such a situation or it can have a negative impact on the self-confidence of the student.

When a student is not able to answer any question correctly in the classroom, instead of asking the other students to help him, you should give them the option to pick their consultant. This would convey them the message that you actually care about them and want them to learn. They will be more prepared next time.


8. Pay Close Attention To Their Body Language

Sometimes, a student might be scared of you to complain even if they feel humiliated. This is why you need to pay close attention to their body language. You might have unknowingly humiliated the student at some point.

If the student is shy, you would not hear them complaining. Instead, they would show their resentment towards you through their body language. They might show defensiveness or withdrawal towards you. When you notice the body language of your students being odd at any time, you need to make sure that everything is fine between you two.

Related post: Being able to read students' body language


9. Do Not Make Them Feel Like They Are Not Good Enough

Even if the student is not performing according to your expectations in the classroom, do not make them feel like they are not good enough or unworthy by your harsh comments. Instead, give them the encouragement to do better next time. This would increase their confidence as well.


10. Treat All The Students Equally

As a teacher, you need to know that not all students share the same level of intelligence and intellect. Some are more intelligent than others. But, this does not mean that you give extra special treatment to the intelligent ones or treat the less intelligent students with more kindness.

No matter what the level of their intelligence is or how special a particular student is to you, as a teacher, you need to treat each of them equally. Giving a particular student special treatment than others would damage the self-confidence of the other students, and they might feel that they are not good for anything.


11. Take The Opinion Of Your Students

Each student is unique in their own ways. Sometimes, what one student might find embarrassing or humiliating, is considered perfectly fine by the other student. Therefore, as a teacher, it might get confusing for you. You would not understand the dynamics of how to treat them individually.

This is why you need to take the individual opinion of every student and ask them the things that they find humiliating. Instead of discussing it in an open class, it is better that you ask them to jot it down on a paper. This would help you in treating different students in your class.


12. Encourage Them To Participate

Instead of belittling the students when they are not able to answer any particular question or are not doing good enough in the class, you need to encourage them to participate more and take part in the discussions. This would increase their confidence, and they would be motivated to do better.


13. Speak Gently With Them

Sometimes it is not the belittling words that tarnish the confidence of the students, but it is the tone of your voice that shatters them from the inside. You need to know that some students are very sensitive and might get disturbed by your harsh tone of voice. Therefore, you need to provide them with a safe environment by being gentle to them.


14. Connect With The Students

Connecting with the students is another important step that would let them open up to you. Tell them about the times when you were embarrassed or humiliated in front of others. Tell them how you dealt with that particular situation. When you will connect with the students on a personal level, they would also open about the times that they felt humiliated. This would help you in avoiding it in the future.


15. Make Sure That You Two Are On The Same Page

Sometimes, the message that you are sending to the students is interpreted completely differently by them. What you presume as the normal instructions from a teacher would be taken as criticism by the student. Therefore, you need to make sure that you and your students are on the same page and there are no hard feelings in the heart of the student against you.


Teachers are considered as a second parent of the children. Therefore, you have a huge responsibility entrusted on your shoulders to use this opportunity to turn your students into a better human being and not damage their self-confidence by making them a victim of humiliation.


Additional reading materials:
Do friends influence your child's results? How to manage it?
Reducing exam stress in Singapore: Should grades define worth?
Is doing homework really useful? A Singaporean's viewpoint

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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.