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.