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OP-ED: The Teachers’ Code: How to handle Bullying in Classroom

How to handle Bullying in class

It’s not easy being an adult; you have to worry about mortgage and relationships and career and income…the whole enchilada… And matters tend to get complicated- what would appear to be a trivial decision has a way of fluctuating and gaining resonance.  It’s only natural that this would get overwhelming at points, and consuming at others-leaving little time really to pay attention to the ordeals of others; especially those who seem to come and go as opposed to the constants in your life. Learn How to handle bullying in classroom.

But then again…it’s not easy being a teenager either, and if you were able to turn back the clock and rekindle your younger years; you’d remember the uncertainty, the total lack of security or status, and the lack of empathy received from others. Now imagine being a bully victim throughout all that- Tormented on a daily bases, insulted and ridiculed, sometimes getting beaten up or molested and most of all BEING ALONE THROUGHOUT IT. Your life may be hard, and your responsibilities countless and absorbing- but an addition has to be made these responsibilities, which is helping those in need. Why is that?

Because even though you won’t not get paid or commended for doing so; the effect it will have on your morale will pay off.

How to handle bullying in classroom: How may this affect the other aspects of your life?

If there is a pragmatic solution to increasing your mental well being; thus altering your perspective and intake of life- and adding to your emotional stability and problem solving abilities- wouldn’t you jump to seize the opportunity?

What I’m offering is a proven therapy method, which may not be as recognized as lying in a dull office and pouring your heart out to an indifferent psychologist; but it’s a lot more effective and engaging- and its outcomes are a lot more productive.

Being altruistic might not be your second nature; to be honest the notion in itself doesn’t hold up and is impractical, except if you consider this: If you’ve been a practical “convenient” person throughout your life (you’re run by logic and equations rather than morals or principals) …has it made you any more content? Fulfilled? Happy?

If it has, then I suggest you take a good look into your ethical standards, and consider where they’re taking you.  If not; then a change is in order: and I will tell you about your new project.

This is sort of a ” personalized zero tolerance policy”, where you’ll have a simple motto: “I will not withstand cruelty”

“If I see it, I will stop it on the spot if I hear of it, I will investigate  if I find an indication, I will dig deeper and get to the bottom of it and if I am sure, I will be relentless until it ceases entirely.”

Now if you’ve made a decision to take an action; here are some facts to help you realize the gravity of the situation and how to handle bullying in classroom. 

1- It’s a bigger deal than we often assume. On average, 160,000 children in the US alone miss school every day to avoid being harassed- at the very least; you encounter three kids at each of your classes who are being abused.

2- We also know that bullying is the most common form of abuse any child is going to experience. Though most children are fortunate enough not to be raised in families where they experience abuse, most children go to school. And at school, every child is affected by bullying — either as a target, as a child who bullies, or as a bystander; this has a lot to do with the type of community we want to live in- are we ok living in a community that allows injustice?

3- Chronic bullying leads to much of the childhood and adolescent depression we see. And antidepressants won’t cure it. That’s if you ignore the long-term emotional scarring, and psychological damage- some of which is so severe that it leads to suicide attempts or permanent psychotic complexes.

The critical features that distinguish bullying in classroom from simple conflict between peers are: intentions to cause harm, repeated incidences of harm, and an imbalance of power between perpetrator and victim. Hitting, kicking, shoving, name-calling, spreading of rumors, exclusion and intimidating gestures

The most important thing we need to do, is to never look the other way- if we overlook dysfunctional behaviour; we’re inadvertently giving it the green light to continue. It doesn’t matter if the bully is an academic prodigy or the star quarterback, it doesn’t matter if their parents are major school benefactors, or if they bully in the form of a harmless joke.

YOU HAVE TO BE FIRM .you are an educator, not a lecturer; and if you can’t set the ground between basic right and wrong, then there’s a serious flaw in your educational system.

We used to do the same thing with child abuse and domestic violence. “Well, you know how it is over there in that family. It’s not our business.”…it’s always your responsibility to intervene. Only an adult can truly take charge; kids don’t have the power or experience to sort it out on their own- there will always be something standing in their way.

How this directly affects your performance as a teacher when it comes to bullying in classroom:

Children’s social lives and their academic lives go hand in hand. This means that we cannot fully understand academic achievement without knowing about the social environment of children in school. For example, children who have few friends, who are actively rejected by the peer group, or who are victims of bullying are unlikely to have the cognitive and emotional resources to be able to do well in school. If you want establish a healthy class environment; where students are able function properly, and reach their full potentials- then you have to take an affirmative stand.

Don’ts when handling bullying in classroom:

Bullying in Classroom: enact a Zero Tolerance Policy:  A strict enforcement of zero tolerance policies may actually result in less reporting of bullying incidents. If for example, a child is involved in a bullying incident and the incident was a single occurrence, expulsion is not only unnecessary, it may be an inappropriate reaction. Please know that while parents of the victim typically will ask and want to know what discipline has been imposed on the bully, most state child privacy laws prevent releasing this type of information.

Bullying in Classroom: Conflict Resolution Methods: Since there is a power differential between the bully and the victim, mediation is not a good alternative and may in fact upset the victim further.

Bullying in Classroom: strike the iron while it’s hot: Even though you have to stop any bullying on sight, you can’t really discuss it on the scene; the bully will be too focused on stating dominance (hence will be resilient and may lash out further), and the victim will be too focused on having it end (they will be ashamed and unsusceptible to any conversation)

You have to wait till both sides cool down, and then approach each of them individually.

Also realize that there is no end to eliminating Bullying in Classroom, unfortunately it’s an ethical conundrum that ultimately depends on the individuals’ stand. Rather bullying prevention programs require an ongoing monitoring and intervention; each and every time an incident occurs

Finally; there are a few keywords you have to use throughout your bullying campaign; as a reminder and slogan throughout assemblies and discussions:

1- Strength is an individual trait- not one practiced at the expense of others

2- I know my rights and the rights of others, and am not afraid to stand up for either

3- If you stand by the sidelines now, there’ll come a time where you’ll need someone to cross it over for you and might not find them

4- it’s cool to be brave, it’s cool to be different!

5- by asking for help, I’m not a coward or a snitch- I have the courage to be open, and the freedom to be different.

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