I Think I'm Witnessing Abuse At My School

Hello everyone,

I need some advice on an issue that I’m afraid is only going to continue escalating. I’m a teacher at a small school where it’s only me and my manager and I’m figuring the best way to address it.

I already have some tension with my manager but it’s usually because he thinks I should be doing better, or that I need to do more to please the community and families that attend our school and I’m new, so of course there is a learning curve. But at this point, I’m only getting better for myself as his actions are making me lose respect for him.

I started in the beginning of the year at this school and recently I’m noticing somethings that seem very, very off. I’ve read about the idea of corporal punishment, but what I’m witnessing seems to be far out of this realm and completely inappropriate.

At first it started with a kid that is often at the school that does not attend classes, but is a family member. At first, nothing was off and then he began lashing out at the kid as time passed and he’d shriek in pain and begin crying. My classroom is detached from the main office so I can’t see it, but hearing a child cry multiple times a week while teaching class is teaching can become a bit disturbing. The past week he took the child upstairs and whatever happened he was wailing for like 10 minutes. I don’t think bad behavior ever justifies this but the kids never acts in a way that I would consider bad. The reason I’m concerned is that whatever my manager is doing, he is seemingly getting more comfortable and this should not be normal to teach a class while I and all the other students here a child crying out of pain.

Then this past week it spilled over onto other students in my classroom. He made two cry, one he smacked one of their books and I’m guessing called him something mean as I don’t understand Mandarin and he silently cried for like 10 minutes. The other, I’m not even sure what the issue was, but he aggressively grabbed his cheeks and he took him out of the classroom. He returned a few minutes later and was crying, not sobbing, but clearly emotionally hurt. I’m at this point where I want to tell my manager that unless I have a problem, he should not take the kids out of the room.

Then this past weekend one of my more crazy students was pulled out. The strange part is that he was having a good day, acting very well, and then decided to pretend to not have his class book. This angered my manager and he pulled him out of the room. He was gone the rest of the class (like 30 minutes) and my manager and him were out of view. Eventually, he was wailing horribly for like 5-10 minutes in the stairwell/upstairs. I look out the door and although I can’t see the kid but there’s my manager looking at me and shrugging his shoulders. This is not the type of kid that would cry easily. He returned him at the end of class and he looked just looked so emotionally messed up.

I’m planning to catch him in whatever act he’s doing because I don’t want to outright accuse him, but I need to figure out what’s happening. Firstly, it’s disturbing to teach a class while hearing a child wail like there are in extreme pain just in the other room and I’m concerned as this has built-up over time from smaller actions, to bigger ones, and from one kid, to more.

Before I was a substitute teacher in the inner city and I’ve lived in some rough places, so honestly, I’m pretty sure my attitude and assertiveness intimidates him, but I want to approach this without popping off and snapping unless he absolutely deserves it. I’d prefer to make him aware that I completely think whatever he is doing is inappropriate and that he needs to watch his step. I’m not easily shook as I’ve witness some really messed up treatment of children in the US but this is something else, and this is my school and my students. I cannot stand aside and let this progress.

I have a further up manager who is not at the school I can email my concerns too but I feel I need further proof. Any advice would be awesome.


I’m not sure I’d try to catch him in the act. I would, however, document all of these occurrences. Time, date, student, events leading up to these incidents, any other relevant observations. Use this information to voice your concerns to the upper level management.

Some parents have an agreement with a teacher regarding the discipline of their children, i.e. “punish as you see fit.” But that’s not so common these days and what’s happening sounds…pretty awful to me. Poor things.


Can you try to ask the abused kids in private what happened?

For example, ask them to stay after class for a quick chat about his/her “grades”. And then ask him/her what the manager did. Tell the kid you are on their side and need their help to know how to make things better.

If talking to them after class is not feasible, can you call them later in the evening?


Hey Keoni, thanks for the response. The major issue is that the commutation levels aren’t there. My kids are like k-7th and the kids I’ve noticed he preyed on are weak English speakers and nor could I speak Mandarin, plus they’re younger, like 3rd-5th grade. It’s quite hard to know what to do. I was outside my school Saturday after class and the kid he had made cry was out there looking completely messed up and even with the opportunity I can’t communicate it.

Hey Hanna, I think that’s a good idea. If it starts to get worse that will come in handy.

The owner of my school told me that he had permission from certain parents to “punish” their kids. As far as the manager is concerned, his/her income depends on things running smoothly so they normally will do whatever they have to do to ensure that. We might view things differently, but this is Taiwan. Many here have a somewhat “simplistic” view of how things are done. I do think it’s starting to change for the better, but old habits die hard and for many the all mighty $ is always #1.

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The primary kid he hurts isn’t even a student. It’s his own family member he takes care of at the school who isn’t in class. He has some form of disability too. And there were many cases kids deserved “punishment” before and he did nothing. Now I’m seeing kids do close to nothing and he’s treating them badly. And as far as business goes? Imagine if a parent comes in a hears/sees that? Some parents might be concerned for their own children. I know there’s cultural differences but I’m not dealing with it if it gets worse.

Also I’m not sure if this makes any difference, but my manager is the same age as me, mid twenties. Not some old school dude.

As was mentioned earlier, document everything. Record stuff on your phone if possible and start looking for another job. Your manager is probably under a lot of pressure from the owner of the school and probably has no or little experience working with children. This is a business and money is #1. Have you ever spoken with the owner?

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Yeah I do plan to start recording and documenting. I’m praying it doesn’t get worse but it’s been progressing so I’m sad to say I think it will. My higher ups are actually westerners so I feel that once I’ve experienced enough I will have their support.

Don’t assume that they’ll look out for you. When it comes to money and jobs, there is no honor amongst thieves. I’d suggest go to them and just ask them if this is acceptable behavior and then see how they respond. Meanwhile document ASAP and start looking.


I’m a certified teacher/mandated reporter in NY State and previously worked as a caseworker for Child Protective Services.

Don’t start asking the kids what happened. You’ll end up leading the discussion, “Did Wang Shu Shu hit you?” And it will be worse if your Chinese is shitty.

To the OP: there’s only one threat to make: exposing him as a cruel abusive fucktard. It’s a tough one, depending on your financial situation and visa status. Video the act in progress, or the sounds of a kid screaming and the crying kid coming back into class. Send/show it to the parents or the owner.

Or, there’s a number to report abuse that someone surely has put up. Use it.

Or say to him, “You fucking hurt another one of MY students and I’ll fucking walk.” Or be a dick, “You know, Loaban, traumatized kids don’t learn as fast as non-traumatized kids. Studies have shown this, and I just want to help you make money.”

Oh yeah, OP will be totally on his own. The old, You don’t understand Chinese culture horseshit will appear. I wouldn’t trust any co-teacher to help or understand either. Yer on yer own.

As a former buxiban owner, I would have this chat with new teachers, local and foreign. “You are here to teach, not to hit MY kids or make them cry. Period.”

That school sounds awful btw. Start looking.


@theformula, you have some leverage because you are the only teacher, right?

  1. Plan to “accidentally” walk in on him abusing a kid.
  2. Tell the manager you are uncomfortable with his behavior and that you will resign if he continues to abuse the kids.

With a camera out?

Know how fast a loaban can call the cops and tell them that bignose was diddling a kid and that’s why he’s crying?

OP, I would not suggest some kind of STING operation.

You will lose:

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Yeah I think I will have to play it off as “it disrupts class” and it does make me super uncomfortable. That’s the safest way for me to approach it and if that makes an impact, great. If not, I’ll definitely have to speak with other management and even challenge him myself. The hard part is I live in a really isolated place so I’m not in an easy place to find more work if it were to get worse.

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Hey thanks for the advice. Yeah it’s a fucked position to be in. I’m going to keep observing, taking notes, record audio if I have to.

I live in like the middle of nowhere so it’s difficult to find other work and of course, I’m about to the my ARC so it’s just a shitty experience. I do plan to reach out to further management first but if it comes to it and I’m certain of what he’s doing, I might just snap the fuck out on him.

I know what he’s (probably) doing is despicable and it’s natural to feel angry about it, but it’s in the children’s best interest that you keep your cool. If you don’t stay there with them and see this through properly, they’ll have no one on their side and only continue to suffer by him.

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Yes and no, in that order.

No big outburst in public.

OP is not obligated to stay forever and protect the kids. By staying, he is signaling to the parents that’s everything’s OK. If teachers keep walking, parents will start asking questions. If it comes out that Loaban is scaring the shit out of the kids to get them to behave, and parents pull their kids out, well, that’s justice, yo.

That’s not what I was saying. I meant that he doesn’t want to put himself in a position where he’s let go for behaving unprofessionally before he gets a chance to bring this guy’s behavior to the manager’s attention. He should at least make the effort before he walks, IMO.

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Not all old school bash up.their kids, i never hit any of my own kids or relatives, although yeah in my generation it was normal to get a hiding but most of us did not do that to our kids.