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Shocking Teachers' Views on Bullying
August 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Recently I had the opportunity to discuss the subject of bullying with several teachers. I was surprised by their reaction when I brought the subject up.  All of them had the same response, they said bullying has gone on for decades, was a normal part of life, and not something which they had the power to control/stop.

I am not saying that every teacher on the planet shares their views. 

The teachers with whom I was discussing this subject were from different states and towns, which gave me the impression that their views were shared by other teachers across state/town lines.

My questions are these:

Why are (some) teachers' views on bullying so drastically different than those of the general public?

Why do they not see the danger inherent in bullying and the severe damage it does to some children?

Why do they think they are powerless to intervene when they are right there, on the front lines of the bully/victim interaction?



Replies

  • OHgirlinCA
    August 8, 2012 at 12:10 PM

     I'm not a teacher, but had a child that was bullied. 

    In my opinion, the definition of bullying has changed, and some children are labeled bullies simply because they choose not to play with a classmate or think that someone is weird, or calls someone a name once. 

    In the Middle School here, if someone is labeled a bully, they have to attend counseling sessions.  The victim does as well.  Now the victim feels they're being punished and pointed out because the school is making it a point to pull them out of class to attend counseling. 

    Sure, teachers absolutely need to break up anything where someone is being physically attacked and bullied in that regard.  I think the bigger thing teachers can do to make an impact is to stress respect for others within their classrooms, and also stress self esteem.  It should be a no brainer. 

    Until parents keep their children in line, bullying will continue.  Teachers cannot tell a parent how to parent their child.  What parents can do for their children is build their self esteem and give them the tools necessary to deal with bullies.  Afterall, they will be dealing with bullies their entire life.  It's the reaction that will make a bully stop or persist.

  • esrice
    by esrice
    August 8, 2012 at 12:18 PM
    I am a teacher and I agree that bullying has been a part of life for years. However I think it has gotten worse and often times parents are part of the problem. I get a lot of " boys will be boys" from parents whose child is bullying (not that it is all boys, girls tend to be worse). These parents often refuse to accept that their child is not perfect. These children have no punishment or consequences for any poor behavior at home or school. If there aren't consequences to hold them accountable they will keep doing it.

    Then there are parents from the other side who have never given their children the opportunities or tools to stand up for themselves. They ride to the rescue at every bump in the road leaving their children with the idea that they don't have to face their own problems, mommy and daddy will always take care of it. Or a child comes home and says someone teased her because of the outfit she was wearing. The parents immediately call the school because their child was bullied. This is not bullying if it only happened one time. Bullying is a repeated behavior, not a one time occurrence.

    As a teacher, I try to stay vigilant in watching for bullying in my classroom. But it often takes place in the lunchroom, on the playground or at the bus stop where there is little adult supervision and I don't know that it is going on. The lunch and recess aides at our school are usually parents working for an hourly wage. They have not been trained to appropriately handle such situations.
  • Veni.Vidi.Vici.
    August 8, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    I can't speak for everyone, just for myself. There are often instances that the behavior going on between two students isn't bullying, but it can be emotionally crippling for the student on the receiving end. There have been times that I saw interactions between students that I didn't intervene and  obviously there are times that I have. It depends on the students involved, their ages and what is happening between the two. Not all children need an adult to swoop in and be a hero. In my opinion there are more children today who get bullied because they have never had to deal with personal conflict amongst peers because an adult has always intervened in their disputes.

    If it is clear that a child was being bullied I have always stepped in. There have been times that I didn't step in and I probably should have. I really feel like helping kids to learn conflict respolution could be a valuable tool against some situations that begin as disagreements and end in torment and actual bullying.




  • ltmana
    by ltmana
    August 8, 2012 at 12:30 PM
    Probably because they see it so often, it's become a norm for them.
    I was bullied a lot through school and let me tell you, being tormented and afraid to go to school everyday is Not normal or acceptable.
    I start student teaching in January. I'm anxious to see how it has changed over the years.
  • Veni.Vidi.Vici.
    August 8, 2012 at 12:33 PM


    Quoting eema.gray:

    Not a teacher either but I suspect that part of the problem is a perception by teachers that children lose their ability to feel empathy within a year or two of entering the school system.  If you assume that the majority of students in your class lack empathy towards their classmates, it follows that bullying will ensue and be pretty much unavoidable.  But if you assume that the majority of students in your class have empathy, you can work to bring that out in your classroom and prevent most cases of bullying before they even start.

    I've never felt that way and I don't know any teacher who does.

    I don't require a child to have empathy to enforce proper people skills.

  • NWP
    by NWP
    August 8, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I worked in schools with zero bullying policies. They had peer councils, social groups, mediation, councelling, workshops..whatever they could to bring the issue to light and to stop what they could from happening. If a child was caught bullying, parents were brought in and a whole system set up.

    However, this does not stop the problem. Bullying is worse now because of social media. It happens outside of school hours and not on school property.

    While some students are bullied so badly, they switch schools, it isn't enough any longer. Changing schools is not effective in a world of social media. Even if the parents had the resources to locate to another state, social media stigma will follow a child who's name only needs to be googled or searched.

    Teachers and schools do have a responsibility...but so do parents. Unfortunately, a school cannot control what happens off school grounds.

    I am not sure if I have a solution that would end it.  But I do think that children should not have social media accounts.

  • Veni.Vidi.Vici.
    August 8, 2012 at 12:40 PM


    Quoting sweet-a-kins:

     They are jaded...they see the same thing year in, year out....it FEELS like a never ending cycle..

    The way those in retail get jaded that every return is a LIE of a reason

    I really feel like this kind of response could lead to some animosity between the parent who feels that way and the teacher. The same could be said for the teacher who makes baseless assumptions about parents.

    IMO some parents hold teachers to higher standards then they should and vice versa.

    The very best a thing parent can and should hope for with their child's teacher is an open dialogue and understanding. IMO if teachers and parents communicate effectively many things can be worked out much more easily.

  • cjsbmom
    by cjsbmom
    August 8, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Sadly, a lot of bullying goes on outside the school walls. With technology the way it is, cyber bullying has changed the face of bullying.

    I also think a lot of teachers just don't want bothered. They don't think it's their job.

  • sweet-a-kins
    August 8, 2012 at 12:43 PM

     

    Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:


    Quoting sweet-a-kins:

     They are jaded...they see the same thing year in, year out....it FEELS like a never ending cycle..

    The way those in retail get jaded that every return is a LIE of a reason

    I really feel like this kind of response could lead to some animosity between the parent who feels that way and the teacher. The same could be said for the teacher who makes baseless assumptions about parents.

    IMO some parents hold teachers to higher standards then they should and vice versa.

    The very best a thing parent can and should hope for with their child's teacher is an open dialogue and understanding. IMO if teachers and parents communicate effectively many things can be worked out much more easily.

     I see it both ways

    I thnk parents are lazy when it comes to partnering with their child school/teacher/education

    and some teachers have become numb/jaded because year after year of the same BS...

    The good teachers adjust, the bad ones just go with the flow

  • Veni.Vidi.Vici.
    August 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM


    Quoting cjsbmom:

    Sadly, a lot of bullying goes on outside the school walls. With technology the way it is, cyber bullying has changed the face of bullying.

    I also think a lot of teachers just don't want bothered. They don't think it's their job.

    You can only curb what you witness and take care of what you know about as a teacher. If Sally is crying in the bathroom all day long but no one ever sees the 'abuse' or Sally doesn't share why she's sad there isn't a lot that can be done. Kids suffering outwardly but silently is fairly common, too.

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