My last blog post shared stories from teachers who have been traumatized by administrators and fellow instructors. Today's post introduces strategies to counteract bullies' go-to move: rhetorical evisceration disguised as "helpful" critique. Don't think that the hostility will simply dissipate over time. Bullies are serial antagonists and need to be stopped before their harassment calcifies into a pattern.
Be warned that having a heart-to-heart with the victimizer might not work, but there are other alternatives. Before describing what strategies to try, the section below will discuss practices that backfire.
"When I came back one day after lunch, the warehouse people had axed the reading loft [on the principal's orders] . . . This was only the beginning . . . He stripped away everything that made my room unique . . . I want out." - Teacher
"I would take the dog for a walk and cry in the dark." - Australian Teacher
We’re used to media reports about children and teachers who bully students. A more hidden fact of school life is the extent to which teachers suffer at the hands of cruel colleagues and administrators. One in three teachers claim they have been bullied at work. In Part I of a two-part post on the subject, I will share the voices of teachers who describe being bullied by colleagues. Part II will discuss solutions.
I was born with a cleft palate and lip. Due to the scars and constant surgeries, school was very difficult. Children seemed to really enjoy hurting me. Whether it was verbal, physical or emotional didn't seem to matter as long as they each got a turn at picking on the "flat nose."
It's been a long time since I was in elementary school. But I can remember it like it was yesterday.
I wasn't the cutest, skinniest or best-dressed girl. I wasn't even a popular girl, but I had an advantage; I could sing like "nobody's business," and my teachers loved that about me. As a result, I think I was spared the bullying that could've come from classmates due to my lack of the aforementioned qualities.
Like most youngsters at 14 years old, I sometimes came home from school and said to myself, "I could kill that kid." Of course I never meant it and never once did I think it was even within the realm of possibility. Things have changed. After the Columbine Massacre, I tried to find out why.
There is nothing quite like the sound of children on a playground at recess. As a former elementary school teacher, such sounds remain a pleasant sense memory for me. Unfortunately, on school playgrounds across the country and for many of the children on them, there exist sounds that are not as pleasant as those I recall. As educators, we all know from our own experiences that the less structured spaces of a school such as the playground are often sites of name-calling, harassment and bias.
As simple as any introduction, my name is Kevin Curwick, and I am currently a senior at Osseo Senior High in Osseo, Minnesota -- a suburb of the Twin Cities. I have always been involved in my school and, just like many students, I strive to make a difference. I have recently been able to achieve a significant change that has already produced encouraging results.
October is Bullying Prevention Month, and schools and families across the country are having frank discussions to raise awareness about bullying. It's a subject that's grown increasingly complex and troubling over the years: while in-person teasing and harassment has never flagged, new technologies have given rise to cyberbullying, which can be equally as damaging -- and even more public. And news of tragic consequences stemming from cases of both kinds spreads quickly through social media.