Top signs of a toxic teacher

This article explains the common traits of a toxic teacher. If a student's self-confidence is decreasing, then it is a sign that the teacher might be a toxic one who is uncaring, unapproachable and has a criticizing attitude.


Teachers can be real influencers in the life of students. They can make or mar the future of students. However, it is not at all important that they will always be supportive and caring. Sometimes they can be mean and harsh too. Sometimes a teacher or a group of teachers can have these toxic traits. Students fear going near such teachers. They let the doubts linger in their minds for eternity but will never approach such teachers for a solution. Whereas, they have a friendly relationship with those teachers who are liberal and have a better understanding of them. Sometimes, it is not just teachers but the whole school environment that is toxic. The administration and higher authorities running the show set up some kind of rules in the name of disciplining that makes the school environment toxic. In such an environment, a kid can never prosper and progress. He will have a very bad impact on his mental health in his early childhood. Sometimes a kid may express or may not express openly what he is going through. This article explains signs of knowing whether your kid has a toxic teacher.

Signs of a toxic teacher

A teacher who easily loses cool

A teacher should be such that he or she should set an example so that the younger generation can follow in their footsteps. If she is losing her cool on every little matter and throwing her temper and tantrums now and then, it is a sure sign that the teacher is a toxic one. A disciplined teacher will never lose her temper no matter what. She will be able to run the whole classroom in a disciplined way. A toxic teacher is the opposite of a disciplined teacher. She will only lose her temper and not be able to handle anything professionally. If your child often comes crying at home complaining about how his teacher yelled at him and scolded him for no reason then it is not a sign that should be overlooked. If this happens daily, and the care is not taken then the child may undergo lots of stress and anxiety. He will become miserable and when his parents do not care for what he is going through and do not believe him then he will start staying aloof. He will be reluctant to go to school and find every little excuse to stay at home as often as possible. He will start bunking classes. He will not fare well in his examinations and even start failing in subjects.

A teacher who has a criticizing attitude

Criticizing is a negative trait. There is no such thing as positive criticism. Something negative cannot bring any sort of positive effect. A teacher who appreciates every little effort of students is the one that motivates them and helps them to excel in their performance. On the other hand, a toxic teacher criticizes her students even if they are trying their best to improve their performance as much as possible. Criticism can be through words or actions. Using abusive words or abusive language is again a sign of toxicity. This kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated even outside schools and colleges. Thus, there is no reason that school authorities or parents should let their kids experience that kind of toxicity in a professional environment. When a teacher has a criticizing trait, she does not have to find reasons for doing that. She can find many reasons for doing that as often as it pleases her. For example, she can criticize a student for not doing homework, not memorizing what was asked, coming late, not dressing up in a proper uniform, failing an exam, scoring fewer marks than others in the classroom, or having an accent, for writing slowly, for being a slow learner and for many more reasons. Such teachers are bullies and they make students' life miserable.

Toxic teachers do not take accountability

A responsible teacher knows her role and duties. She will never throw away her responsibility and wipe her slate clean. She will understand that for a student to excel, the collective efforts of teachers, students themselves and their parents are needed. On the other hand, a toxic teacher is one who always plays the blame game. They don't care how the student is performing. It is because they don't own up that they have a role too when it comes to students' grades and performance. A sensible teacher will call the parents and discuss the matter with them. She will work with parents and try to uplift the mood of students and find out the area where they are lacking so that their marks improve. A toxic teacher will rarely think of working with parents. Even when parents approach her, she will either hold students responsible for their performance or lay the whole responsibility on their parents. Instead of having a sensible discussion, she will argue with parents and give various reasons for the deterioration in the performance of students. Reasons can be anything from being a slow learner to not being punctual. She may even straight away blame parents for not showing interest in their kid's studies.

A toxic teacher decreases the self-confidence of students

No student can fare well when they are repeatedly told what kind of disappointment they are. Students especially at young age look up to their parents and teachers. Thus, when they are repeatedly told that they are good at nothing, it decreases their self-confidence. Initially, they may try to learn and excel so that their teacher can appreciate them for their effort. However, when their toxic teacher instead of appreciating their hard work, decreases their self-esteem, they start believing their teacher's words that they are not good for anything. This kind of conditioning is bad for the inner health of the child. It does not only remains confined to the classroom. A kid will carry it in the outside world too. He will start disbelieving the words of the teacher. He will stop playing with his friends thinking that there is no point in doing that because he is going to lose it anyway. He will stop attempting anything new. His creativity will turn down to zero. He will blame himself for everything and develop a loser mentality which will remain with him even during his adulthood. If a child comes home and utters negative words such as he is not good for anything, he should not attempt it, he will fail at it, he will disappoint everybody, and he is a complete loser then it is a sign that his teacher is a toxic one.

A teacher who does not care

A good teacher is always there for her students. She is easy to talk to, approachable and friendly. Students feel at ease with her. They can discuss their doubts and gain clarity on the subject matter without any hesitation. She not only helps them in their academics but also tries to understand them on an emotional level if something is going on in their lives and bothering them. A toxic teacher is mentally absent even while she is physically present in front of the students. She is not a person to whom students would like to pay a visit after the class as she is unapproachable. She is unfriendly. All she knows is to conduct the class, deliver the lecture and leave from there without caring if all of them, or at least a majority of them have understood what is taught. It does not matter to her why some students are not able to finish their homework or why they are not able to fare well in their exams. It does not matter to her why there is so less participation of students in her classroom and why there is a dip in energy levels.


Many of us just don't want to admit that there can be a toxic teacher. It is because many of us consider teaching as a noble profession. It is the reason that we respect the profession as well as teachers. Even if kids are daily complaining about how miserable they are feeling because of one particular teacher or the whole school environment, we rarely consider the kid's words. We feel that strictness is necessary to discipline a child. We don't understand that discipline and toxicity are completely different aspects. A teacher who loses her cool easily and often throws her temper and tantrums in the classroom is a toxic one. An unapproachable teacher and an uncaring one is a toxic one. If a kid often comes home crying and feels humiliated then parents should not disregard his feelings. They should look into the matter. If any timely action is not taken, the kid may lose interest in his studies and show disinterest in attending lectures or going to his school. If his self-confidence and self-esteem are decreasing along with his interest and performance report then these are the signs that should not be ignored as he may be having a toxic teacher or a toxic school environment.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao13 May 2023 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

A good teacher should be cool and have a lot of patience. A short-tempered teacher is a real curse to the student. In my opinion, a student should have respect for his/ her teacher but not fear. A good teacher should have a stick in his hand to show others but should use it very judiciously and rarely. When a teacher responds positively to the doubts of the students, there will not be any hesitation for the students to approach them and ask their doubts.

But there are some teachers who lose their cool very fast and start shouting at the students. Such teachers are real toxic teachers only. I have seen some teachers laugh at some students when they ask some doubts. The doubt may be meaningless or silly but laughing at that moment will make the students dull and their morale will come down. Students will hesitate to ask any questions again. Such teachers can spoil the future of many students.

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