I was bullied at my primary school for quite a while by a girl in my class. I used to go home with scratches and bruises and she’d verbally abuse me throughout the day.
She had her own problems going on at home and her frustrations were directed at me and others too.
Do you feel like you have a voice?
How has it impacted me? Well it definitely made me stronger and I’m sure I didn’t just sit back and always stay quiet. Upon reflection, nobody at the school ever sat down to listen to us together. It always seemed to get dealt with separately and never seriously, I don’t remember ever receiving support or guidance at school throughout and it always happened when nobody else was in sight that she’d do it.
We weren’t taught to say how we both felt or express ourselves confidently and hear each other. I didn’t really know how to or feel safe nor courageous enough. She clearly was crying out for help.
This was quite a while back and I know schools have tighter policies and procedures in place now.
Do you have enough courage?
Over the past 20 years teaching, kids have come to me and said ‘oh so and so said this or that’ etc Quite often I’ll say well did you tell them you don’t like it or let them know how you feel? They’ll often say no, they just got used to an adult fixing the problem for them and didn’t have the courage always to stand up for themselves.
We do a lot of role play in class, even with 4 year olds, to express how we feel and what we want.
Adults can make a big difference
In 1998, I was teaching a Year 3 class with a group girls who constantly fell out. In the end I used to invite them in at lunch for 10 minute conversations where I’d facilitate, so they could hear one another and we’d could role play different scenarios and choices. I was surprised at what a difference this made just giving them a space to each be heard with an adult just there for them. It really did improve things, so I continue to use this approach even with my own kids, but they do still have big fall outs it’s the recovery time that interests me, how do we bounce back and move on and learn from things? How can we respond rather than react, we always have a choice.
Oh I haven’t got time for all that
A while ago, my son had a few weeks of being in trouble, one day where it went really wrong with so many adults being involved and each telling him off. I said to the teacher, well have you actually sat down to listen to what he has to say and just allow him to speak, even if what he has done is wrong, might it be good to look at other ways he could have behaved and coach him a little?
‘Well, I haven’t got time for all that‘ said the teacher.
Listening, do we have time?
Just some Tuesday musings.