Bullying- A teacher’s point of view.

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Bullying.

It happens every single day. It happens in all sorts of schools. It happens all over the world. I’m a teacher, and I’d like to tell you that we too feel helpless. My experience comes from being an English teacher in a foreign school. There is a major barrier… it’s the language. BUT bullying still happens. It happens in school AND out. How do we fix it? How do we stop it? It’s serious, and it’s real. It’s happening, and kids are hurting.

I recently watched the documentary Bully with my husband on Netflix. It made my heart hurt. I felt like angry parents were giving blame to principals and teacher’s. I guess what I want to say is that there are teachers out there who do care, who love their students, and want the VERY best for them. There are teachers out there who STAND UP to bullying. Who do everything they can to stop it protect the kids, and to end bullying in their classroom. I don’t know the universal solution to end bullying. I wish I had the answers. This world we live in is full of sin, but I am here to say that I believe something needs to be done.

The day before watching the documentary I had an incident in my classroom where I witnessed bullying. First let me preface this story with the fact that I love teaching. I love teaching English in Korea. I love my schools…and I hope what I saw was the first/last time I ever have to see that again.

We are working on a project… I look over, and one of my kids is in a choke hold from another student. I run over and tried to pull them apart , but dang those 12 year olds are STRONG…and bigger than me in size. I have never yelled at my kids, but in a panic I screamed “NO” “LET GO!”- Side note. Discipline is difficult with a language barrier. My stomach was in knots. Why was he choking this other boy? What happened? To me it didn’t matter what was said or what happened violence is NEVER okay. I looked at the boy who used violence (trying to remain calm), and sternly said “THAT IS NEVER OK IN MY CLASSROOM. DO NOT EVER TOUCH HIM OR ANYONE EVER AGAIN. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” At this point my Korean co teacher ran over, and intervened. I explained to her what happened in English. She was already disciplining them. Both boys were in trouble. I told her that the boy who used violence should be punished. NOT both. It didn’t matter what I said. She told me that they were both in trouble, because they were fighting.I ran to the bathroom, and just cried. I just felt so helpless.

After having time to process all of it. I looked back on my experience as a teacher working at a very low income preschool. The kids who hurt others had been hurt their whole life by their own parents. They were damaged, bruised, and broken. Hurting was all they knew. Hurting others was “normal” life to them. Hurting was their survival. I love teaching. I love kids. Man,  it isn’t always easy though. See what I wrote here awhile back about being a teacher. I tell you my story, because I wonder if you have ideas on how to end bullying in the classroom. Or if you have had any experiences with bullying in the classroom?

How do we change bullying in our world? Is it more love? Is it punishment? Is it both?

Please tell me your opinion…

Together we can be the change.

Wishes...

Wishes…

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About Elicia Shepard

I'm unique just like you. I've learned every person has a story which makes us who we are. One minute I am here..then I am gone. Discovering unknown places and people is an addiction I am proud of and will be an endless journey of mine. Smiling is not a pastime it's what I do. I live for moments that take my breath away. Falling in love is the greatest feeling-and the biggest risk. I thrive off of risks.Challenges. Adrenaline rushes. Making others smile. Art is all around and in ourselves. I love taking an unknown path not knowing where it'll lead. Mystery is beautiful. Compassion, kindness, and love- things I will always strive for. Know what you believe in. Stand up for it. Never be afraid to feel. Time waits for no one.Ever. Children inspire me. God fires me. Happiness is being with those you love.I am really blessed. I think God is love and forgiveness and I think he wants us to be good people and love EVERYONE. Figure out who you are and what that means to you-It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself (and you deserve it.) Live frugally on surprise. Breathe. Be who you are. Be an outcast...If you wanna find me I will be where the wind blows...Wherever that may take me.

2 responses »

  1. Elicia – I agree whole heartedly with you.

    Coming from someone that was bullied as a child/teen – I think that bullying should ALWAYS be stopped in the act and take actions to prevent it.

    When I was a kid, teachers did ABSOLUTELY nothing to stop it. I was never physically abused (like in your story) – but verbally abused by boys 24/7 during school and after school (middle school was the worst). I know for a fact that teachers saw how I was treated and literally looked the other way – literally. I know for a fact that bullying can affect the person psychologically (without the person even realizing it at the time). Bullying can affect how you look at yourself and the world as a child and down the road as an adult. Speaking from experience – I am still trying to get over my skewed view of myself (because of how my bullies treated me). Honestly – because of the way I was bullied (about how ugly and fat I was) – I began to bully myself – which I still do to this day. Although I am trying my hardest not to do that anymore.

    Now recently I had a bully issue at my volunteer center (I volunteer once a week at an afterschool care center in Gwangyang-si). At my afterschool volunteer class there are mainly girls (12-14years old). One girl is not as popular; she wears glasses, has acne, shy, etc… yet she has such a sweet personality. Now another girl – also sweet and pretty – called the other girl ugly and “slow” (meaning she was stupid). I immediately told her NO – do not be mean – be NICE. She is BEAUTIFUL, SHE IS SMART. I had her say that and then help her with a worksheet (that everyone was working on). Later on when everyone was leaving she said – “Teacher, thank you.” – My heart sank… I said – “Never let anyone talk to you that way. You are beautiful, you are smart. Always believe that” – yet she might not have understood everything that I said.

    I feel in today’s society bullying is even easier than when we were kids. Technology has made bullying the most easiest thing to do and get away with. As teachers I think we should show acceptance, love, etc… about every student that walks through our doors. I think we should overtly show our love of everyone – whether they are short, tall, fat, skinny, white, black, Asian, etc… I think we should also lay down GROUND RULES of bullying inside and outside of the classroom. Let our students know that they will (somehow) be punished for their actions. But not only putting “the fear of God” in them, we should also make them – maybe – hang out with the person they are bullying? For example – my coteacher disciplined two boys this week (5th graders). A girl started crying during my class (we were playing a game). Two boys had said mean things to her. He took the boys aside and for the rest of they day it was their JOB to entertain her/make her happy. At the end of the day I saw her – asked her if her day got better – she said “yes – although those boys will always be stupid.”

    This is my POV. What do you think? I’m curious to know!

    (Have a good week btw – maybe soon I will come visit Yeosu).

    Love, Mallory

    • Mallory!

      It blows my mind that teacher’s look the other way. I believe we are here to be the teacher’s who DO stand up to bullying. It breaks my heart to hear stories from people (like you) first hand who have been in the midst of it, and it has long lasting effects. What you say is dead on with technology today. I don’t have the anwsers, but what I do know is that we can be the ones who stand up to bullying, and hopefully surround ourselves with others who feel the same way. Thank you so much for sharing your story/advice! It brought tears to my eyes! YOU inspire me to continue to fight the fight against bullying. It all starts with love..and we have lots to give!!!!

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