It is every students right to learn and feel safe in the classroom and as part of the school community. This means that student’s should not feel inferior to one another or others. Unfortunately, bullying still occurs and mostly away from adults for example before and after lessons, during the breaks, in the corridors, in the toilets, on social media… In addition, bullying can be ongoing for a long time before pupils report it or ask for help.
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Table of Contents
What is Bullying?
Bullying is the repeated behaviour of someone who’s intention is to hurt or frighten another (Victim) and make them feel smaller and less powerful.
This can be emotionally or physically and in some circumstances is often aimed at certain people because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation or any other aspect such as appearance or disability.
Bullying can take many forms including:
- Physical Assault
- Social Bullying
- Threatening Behaviour
- Name Calling
What do I do about Bullying in the Classroom?
School's Bullying Policy
Knowing your school’s Bullying policy is important. You need to have a clear understanding on the steps you should take as a teacher to avoid bullying within the school and how it can be prevented when it occurs.
Working within the School Policy
With understanding the policy you now can work within it to ensure that you know what to do if Bullying occurs in your classroom. Communicating this properly with your students is vital to create a clear understanding for both teacher and pupil.
- Remember that at most schools Physically Bullying can result in a student being suspended.
- Cyber-Bullying can have legal complications and can usually only be handled by an administrator.
Have your own Bullying Policy
Having your own steps to take when Bullying occurs tailored to in your classroom can be useful. (Obviously in line with the school’s Bullying Policy) Remember you are the teacher and are most likely the first point of contact in the school for students, which can be very influential to effectively stop bullying.
Communicate your Policy
Students need to be able to identify what Bullying is.
- Discuss with your class what is their definition of Bullying and what it means to them.
- You can get them to act out a role-play of Bullying and discuss.
- Then clearly state what happens if a fellow student is Bullied inculding the support and consequences of bullying.
Send a copy of your Bullying Policy home
Bullying can stretch further than just the classroom that is why it is important to send a copy of your Bullying Policy home, it gives a chance for Parents/Carers to discuss bullying advice with their child and also can protect you from complaints.
Make a Promise
Making a promise that can be reinforced throughout the academic year that if a student falls victim to bullying that it will not be tolerated and you will take care of it. Making sure that you protect them from Bullying and make it go away.
Make yourself approachable in this time
Offer individuals to talk! It is important to offer time for a student to talk to you individually any chance to reconnect or talk through emotions privately is beneficial during this time.
- You can do this by offering “office hours” where students are free to come to talk to about worries on a one-to-one basis.
- Or create “check-in” schedules to keep up to date on the mental wellbeing of all your students.
- But you will protect their privacy and never let on you learned about their being bullied from them.
Know your Class
Obviously you will get to know your class throughout the year but, noticing changes in your students is well advised.
Keeping an eye on students that may be more quiet, less confident, socially awkward or smaller in stature can be beneficial, being aware of those who have fewer friends, or who play by themselves are sometimes (not always) prime targets of bullying.
Be proactive! Victims of bullying are usually scared or embarrassed about coming forward.
You can do this by Identifying Leaders within your Class– which is a key strategy from Michael Linsin “Build a trusting relationship with these few key influencers. It’s critical that you’re able to count on them to be your eyes and ears on the playground or whenever you’re away from your class.”
If the bullying behaviour in any way triggers a consequence in the school’s policy, you must report it!
- Remember however, the reported bullying is handled in the office or taken further, you will still follow through with your classroom bullying policy.
Speak to the bully’s parents.
Call the parents of the bullying student and set up a conference. Be kind and respectful. Just give the facts during the meeting, reading straight from your notes. Tell them simply that bullying is unacceptable, and inform them of how you’re taking care of the problem and how the student will be held accountable.
Speak to victim’s parents.
Let the parents of the student being bullied know exactly what happened and how you’re handling it. Assure them that you’ll do everything in your power to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This is now a critical responsibility and highest priority.
Check-up with Students
If a student has been bullied it’s important to talk to both students (bully and victim) and check-up on how things are going. Ask how they are feeling and if they are having any problems.
It is imperative to not hold a grudge over the bully, give them opportunity to put the past where it belongs. An apology letter can help reamend the bond between victim and bully.
Supervise from afar (leaders within your class can help) this can be while they are playing in the playground or other down time your students may have.
Check-up with Parents
After supervising both parties it would be beneficial to feed this information/facts back to their parents letting them know how their child is progressing. They need to be reminded that you are still there for your students and take bullying seriously.
Don’t forget that Guide to Life can help with wellbeing within your school community, infusing the 5 ways of wellbeing with an holistic approach to ensure your students develop an healthy lifestyle and state of mind.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our blog and found our Bullying Advice helpful!