Recently I was in a situation where a parent asked me whether she should file a complaint against a teacher, not at my school. Of course, I listened to the complaint carefully before giving my opinion. It was a hard decision to make because I know that some teachers definitely do the wrong thing while others are often misunderstood and falsely accused. Plus, it just feels odd supporting a complaint about a teacher. Working with people you are always subject to that.
After I heard what was at issue, I understood both sides. My advice was to approach the teacher first directly and if that did not yield the desired results, contact the supervisor and request a meeting with the three parties. In this case I didn’t feel I was committing “teacher cannibalism” while at the same time I was able to suggest what I feel is a healthy first step towards resolution.
There is always a temptation when hearing about a teacher in trouble to jump on the bandwagon against her/him. There is also a feeling of kinship (of sorts) that leads me to want to explain the teacher. That is, unless the actions shared are really weird and need reporting on the face of it.
You can avoid feeling feeling like a teacher cannibal by not joining in feeding frenzies. Be calm cool and collected as we try to be in this profession and you’ll be helping everyone involved.