When I was in 11th grade, my young English teacher stood in front our class on the first day of school and introduced herself.
"I know what my name rhymes with," she said after writing it on the chalkboard, "and I don't want to hear anybody calling me that here or behind my back."
Her name rhymed with "hard on," I later realized, and was shocked not only that she had to preemptively address this, but that she had probably been called "Ms. Hard On" by students in the past.
Female teachers deal with sexist remarks just as often as women in other professions — and it's not just isolated to the older grades, either. I spoke with 11 teachers who revealed some of the sexist things their own students, and some of their colleagues, have said to them:
"I approach Student 3 in the hallway during fourth period and ask where he should be. He says, 'in you.'"
"Student 1 is standing at my door with two other male students. Each of them is making slurping sounds through the door, and then Student 1 finally shouts, 'Hey Miss, I can't wait to cum all over that pretty face.' Student 2 walks up to me and grinds his pelvis against me while licking his lips. I report it and am told by my boss that I shouldn't wear my hair down.
"Later, I approach Student 3 in the hallway during fourth period and ask where he should be. He says, 'in you.' I tell my boss I feel sexually unsafe, and he suggests I find another job and never tell anyone what happened or he would ensure I never found a place to teach again."
— Anonymous, 27
"[I've gotten] everything from love poems to songs to raps to 'Miss, I saw you eating that muffin earlier... I want a piece of that muffin.' I've heard it ALL."
"Once in a class, I had just finished explaining something regarding a student's question about domed architecture and sound (it's an art appreciation class) when a male engineering student raised his hand and said, 'Professor, can I explain that better?'"
"The other day an eighth grade boy in my homeroom said that another student plays 'like a girl' because he lost a round on some video game. When I tried directing him to use a non-gendered expression next time, he got very defensive trying to say it’s not a big deal and that I shouldn’t be so upset."
"I also try to talk with my students about not seeing other girls as 'competition.' A new student came to our school two months ago, and I remember the girls talking about how the fact that this girl was Brazilian and they expected her to look like Gisele Bündchen. They actually called the girl 'competition.' They learn very early that the best way for them to 'get to the top' is by tearing down other girls. It’s really terrible how early sexism is internalized."
"I've had a couple of third graders talking to my chest while they were talking to me, and another kid say, 'what are those?' [about my breasts]. I think it's from some YouTube thing as well. These were both boys, third and fifth grades."
"I once caught a student taking a picture of my ass while I was helping another student.
"A professor once told me that my students will definitely listen to me if I still looked the same when I was certified. I asked what he meant and he just looked me up and down. By far one of the most uncomfortable experiences I ever had with a professor."
"When one of the boys tried to touch me inappropriately, she basically shrugged it off as 'boys will be boys.'"
"On my first day in the year-six classroom, I was placed with a teacher who was about a year and a half away from retirement. She seemed to have lost all sense of love of teaching and had very little interest in the students. Most worryingly, she cared very little when the boys started openly discussing my bum and boobs in front of the class, and when one of the boys tried to touch me inappropriately, she basically shrugged it off as 'boys will be boys.'
"Thankfully, the following week she was replaced by a male teacher who really stepped up the discipline in the classroom and once the same behaviors were repeated the following week, he actually acted and prevented it from happening again.
"I was fine, but it was a pretty shocking thing to experience. I had never thought of 12 year olds boys as being potential predators, but if they have the confidence to try and grope a student teacher twice their age, it is scary to think about what they might try to do to a student their own age."
— Stephanie, 28
"'Girls can't have muscles.' 'But green is for boys.' 'Only girls play with dolls.' I teach kindergarten...
"I also once received a 'sexy' top as a gift from a five-year-old because she was upset that she had never seen me wear anything sexy. Another time I was told that I couldn't be Marge Simpson for Halloween because she isn't sexy."
"A male teacher once told me that a fellow female colleague and I should teach the lower grades because 'women are more nurturing and better for younger grade levels.'
"He just wanted to teach AP English and felt men should have higher levels of teaching."
"Last week my boss told me that my clothes are distracting to him and if I could maybe wear clothes that don't fit my body around him, it would be easier for him to respect that I'm a lesbian and in a committed four-year relationship with my girlfriend. Because otherwise, if I continue to wear the clothes I own and the clothes I'm comfortable wearing, it is too difficult for him to control himself."
"Out of nowhere he said, 'oh and by the way, did you know that almost every single one of your male students want to bone you?'"
"Clearly, there is something sexist said every day, but I never imagined that a former student would attempt to rape me, and I'm sure I'm not alone," said Shaindel Beers, a teacher and poet, of an essay she wrote recounting the experience.
"Another former student of mine recently messaged me about something writing-related and out of nowhere said, 'oh and by the way, did you know that almost every single one of your male students want to bone you?'" she wrote in a separate essay. "This is a student who (before this) I would have considered enlightened, a male feminist. When I asked what would possess him to say this, he said he thought it was a compliment. That I would want to know in addition to being intelligent that I am desirable. I know that as long as women are valued as objects more than they are as people, more as bodies than they are as minds, this will be considered a compliment..."
— Shaindel Beers, 39