Some topics seem to never go away with regards to schools and teaching. One such topic is how to deal with bullies. This is something the teachers and schools cannot put up with. I’ve laid out some things that work and some ideas that can help.
Assess your class on day 1 but be prepared for a surprise:
Day 1 of any school year is a hit and miss day, but this is a good time to be paying attention. The bullies do not always show themselves on day one, but the bullies most addicted to this behavior, somehow present themselves early.
In order to see those with a tendency to bully, you have to also notice the quiet kids who keep to themselves. You may also want to notice those who maybe have a discerning characteristic that could be something to be teased about, such as thick glasses.
As you look around, notice who talks often, wants to sit in the back, or giggles, this sort of thing. Make mental notes. Also be aware of the quiet ones, and those intent on their work or even trying to impress the teacher. These are your least likely subjects. Although I have seen bullies try to flatter the teacher.
Be sure you only make mental notes, and do not let on that you are hip to any particular student.
Surprise the class with seat assignments:
This is a sure fire way to split up a potential problem. It is important to not punish those who were well behaved as they may thrive surrounded by the comfort of their friends.
For the rest , make it seem it was random but put them up close to you.
What you see is not always the truth:
Much of the time, a bully will hide behind good grades, high standing family in society. Don’t be fooled. Be observant, and get to know your students, with an open mind.
Sure the kid who feels himself superior is prone to bullying. They befriend the teacher then behind your back , bully others.
Then there are those who feel bad about themselves or have seen bullying on TV and see it as a form of being “big stuff”. It is your job to watch and observe.
You may need to make no bullying a rule with stiff punishment:
If you teach in a tough district, consider speaking to the principle, and getting a no bullying rule set up at your school. If the school does not back you that makes your job that much tougher.
Immediately deal with bullying:
It is very important that the person who bullied provide restitution to the student who was hurt by this action. They need to be dealt with swiftly as to discourage this behavior again, and in others. Pride is a big factor in bullying and this type of punishment goes a long way to deter, and prevent bullying.
Parents need to have been informed that this is a rule, and the school will stand by it prior to any events. This will help you as the teacher to have credibility. They may act surprised, but they have no grounds as it was presented to them at the first of the year in writing.
Keep their minds and hands busy:
Busy minds and hands, will not have time to think about bullying. If you act up, you get to sit up front with the teacher. If you continue to act up you will be removed from class. Keeping the kids away from the victim of bullying is a must.
Encourage unity in your class:
It is very important to get the entire class involved in games and activities that require them to get to know their fellow school mates. It is harder to be mean to someone you know very well.
As the teacher, you can be part of the solution from the git go. Promote your students to each other. What does this mean? This means, get your students involved in group activities, and point out each ones strengths, being careful not to leave any out.
If you see two students who may be from different social classes, with a propensity towards bullying, introduce these two under your supervision, as part of a class activity. Require them to work together. This may or may not work but in my experience it does.
Firstly asses the class, make mental notes. If you see a potential problem, assign seats. Make it appear random. If someone feels picked on this will only exasperate the situation. Have eyes in the back of your head as they say. Be aware that you are apt to be fooled from time to time, so be on the lookout for that. Work with the school if bullying is a big problem to make it a standout rule, with stiff punishment. Do not wait to deal with a bullying situation. Don’t be the teacher who turns their back to it. Get assistance from other staff if need be. Next keep their minds engaged and their hands busy. Last but not least, be part of the solution and encourage unity in your class.
Try some or all of these tips if you are having problems with bullying or suspect you will. It is better to be ahead of the game then to be unable to deal with a situation down the road.