Discrimination can be a very insidious thing, so much so that those who are being discriminated against hardly even realize that they are experiencing discrimination.
What is discrimination?
It is the act of systematically denying rights and privileges to a person based on personal prejudices. Racism, sexism, casteism, ableism ( discriminating against people who are disabled) all fall under the category of discrimination. All professions to some extent experience discrimination bias and this exists in the teaching profession too.
As mentioned before, discrimination can be very subtle. But by the time the person realizes he/she is being discriminated against, it is too late and the damage has been done. Repeatedly facing discrimination can cause a person to lose self-confidence, experience a serious dip in self-esteem and even begin suffer from depression and a sense of being worthless.
Here are 6 signs that should help you recognize if you are being discriminated against.
1. Suspicious interview questions – When you are being interviewed for a position as a teacher, if the interviewer in question is more interested in where you come from, what your caste is and what your sex is, instead of paying attention to your teaching qualifications, then you should stay away from that job because these are warning signs that discrimination is going to occur.
2. Treatment of employees – Observe how employees of your school and your colleagues are treated. If some people are constantly being put down regardless of how well they work because they are of a different sex or belong to a minority, then discrimination is occurring. If the discrimination is occurring to you, you could either take your case to the school management or quit your position because it’s okay to not want to deal with people who could potentially make light of your situation.
3. Harassment by colleagues – When most people think of harassment, the first thing most people think of is sexual harassment. While sexual harassment is one of the most well known forms of harassment, it is not the only kind that exists. If your colleagues constantly make fun of your age, your gender etc, they are still harassing you because you have no control over these things. If you are a younger person, they might unnecessarily give you a lot more work, make continued remarks about your immaturity, your lack experience etc. If you are an older person, they might tell you that you are failure, that your age means you lack intelligence and that you are lazy and don’t work hard. Regardless of your age or gender, colleagues who make remarks such as these are being extremely unprofessional. What you could do about it is speak out and give them a piece of your mind. If they still continue with the remarks, you can approach the school management with your case. It would also help if you found other people who are experiencing the same problem as you.
4. Irrational increase in work load – As a teacher, yes you do have a plenty of work. But if you are constantly being assigned more work by the teachers in your department, so much so that you are unable to complete it regardless of the hours you put in, then you might quite possibly be experiencing discrimination. See how much colleagues in the same position as you are being assigned. If their workloads are normal and manageable when compared to yours, try to find out the reason why you are being assigned this much work. If the answers are not forthcoming, you will need to pointblank inform your superior that you are only human and not capable of this much work and that you are being taken advantage of. If the situation becomes better after that, you can rest easy but if does not, talk to colleagues of yours who are sympathetic to you and figure out what course of action you must take.
5. Responsibilities are being diminished – For example, you are a teacher who has 15 years of experience behind her and have generally received good reviews from parents, teachers and colleagues. But all of a sudden, you are being shunted to the side, asked not to take classes or even participate in school activities; you should try to find out why this is happening and if there is a legitimate reason behind it. Even if the school wanted to give you lesser responsibilities, then they should do so after talking with you about it, not abruptly and without an explanation.
6. Lack of support from other staff – If you are being discriminated against, and you don’t even have the support of your colleagues and friends within the school, then it would be best to say goodbye to this place before they make any further dents in your self-esteem. Some places are poisonous by nature and refuse to change their ways. Rather than exhausting yourself by trying to change them, what you should do is remove yourself from this place and find another where the environment is encouraging and positive. Sometimes we must work hard to rise above prejudices, but in some cases this is simply not possible, not if you don’t have the support of others.