Why Veteran Teachers Bully Novice Teachers

We have all heard that nurses “eat their young”. Sadly, this is a true statement. But, did you know that nurses are not the only professionals who eat their new recruits. Some teachers are also guilty of belittling and harassing their novice co-workers. The following are some of the reasons that I have identify as the causes of “teachers eating their young”.


Teaching is a very stressful job and time consuming job. It often requires hours to planning, tons of paperwork. Teachers too often find themselves lugging home tons of work, sacrificing family time, and jeopardizing their own health in order to meet deadlines and meet state standards. Instead of turning to each other for support, some teachers turn on their co-workers. According to The Association of Lecturers, 25% of teachers report having been bullied by a colleague.

I have worked with teachers who were wonderful in the classroom, but absolutely nasty to new teachers.

Large Work load

As the state and federal standards keep changing, teachers find themselves tackling more and more paperwork. Everything must be documented. Every classroom strategy explained . Lesson plans that take hours to write because everything must be scripted. This increasing workload can be too much for some teachers. They feel powerless, and in order to gain some control over their lives, they become bullies.

Fear of the Being Replace

Veteran teachers can feel threatened by novice teachers. Novice teachers are generally young, fresh out collage, full of energy, and full of new ideas. They also make a lot less money than teachers with more experience which can make them more appealing to school districts. Older teachers can feel intimidated by the younger teacher’s energy and enthusiasm. As a result, they may resort to bullying behavior.

Fear of change

Change can be scary. I will be the first to admit that it is difficult to keep up with all the new technology and educational programs. Some veteran teachers resent the push toward technology while younger teachers are excited about change. They are often the first to jump on board with new strategies and new technology. This can lead to workplace conflicts.

Fear of losing popularity

It has been my observation that students seem to like younger teachers. This is probably due to the fact that they are closer to their age group and appear less threatening than an older, more seasoned teacher. This can lead to feeling so jealousy and resentment.

Why do teachers “eat their young”? Teachers bully other teachers because they feel threatened, they are stressed, and they fear change.

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist. However, I have been a teacher for the past 10 years. I have been a novice, and I am now a veteran teacher. I have been the victim of teacher bullying, and these are the causes I noted behind the behavior.

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