Bullying has become a worldwide epidemic, and it needs to be prevented as much as possible. All you need to do is a quick internet search to find horrific stories of how bullies have devastated the lives of students and their families. Educators and teachers need to know how to prevent bullying and stop it immediately. Bullying is a senseless act, and can continue to haunt people for the rest of their lives, which is why it’s so critical for our society to to be aware of how we can make a difference.
Because schools are one of the primary means of social interaction among children, bullying is extremely likely to occur at and during school. Teachers and educators are often far more aware of bullying incidents than parents are. When children come home from school, parents don’t get to see as much social interaction from their children because they tend to only associate with siblings and friends while they’re at home. It’s not often that parents get to witness their child being bullied, because bullies and victims of bullying generally don’t schedule playtime with each other after school. As an educator, it’s crucial to be able to spot bullying and deal with it on an individual and frequent basis.
The main thing that teachers need to do to prevent bullying is be proactive. Every single day, the teacher should have some sort of community building activity that is designed to demonstrate care, concern, compassion and friendship for one another. Most bullies do what they do because they lack friendship and companionship. When the bully becomes threatening to another student, the bully gains confidence that he or she is better than that person. This self-esteem boost will continue to grow unless it is stopped. The teacher needs to teach everyone in the room to get along with each other, and they must teach children alternative things to do instead of bullying.
One very effective strategies is for teachers to use the golden rule strategy. The golden rule strategy lets teachers help bullies gain a sense of empathy for other kids. Teachers can say things like, “would you like it if someone said that about you?” This lets kids put the shoe on the other foot, and it helps them recognize how hurtful their behavior is.
It’s a good idea for educators to pair up people that do not regularly spend time together. In many cases, this is all that it takes to build a partnership and mutual respect for one another. Bullies typically bully children that they are jealous of or not strong enough to fight back. Teachers should take a common sense approach to this by also teaching each child to stand strong in the face of adversity. The children that are bullied need to know that there are people available to help them, and the bullies need to be punished swiftly the first time. According to author Michael Myles, “It goes without saying that teachers cannot do all of the work themselves.” School leaders must engage in this battle and punish bullies without backing down to social issues that may result from the punishment.
Another way to prevent bullying is by having children interact with other children that are not in the same classroom. Teachers should try to find times when larger groups of children can interact with each other, rather than at recess. It is not wasted time because this time together can build social and emotional strength and understanding in all of the students.
There’s not one-size-fits-all solution to bullying, but that should never stop us from doing our part to make a difference in the world. The journey to a bully-free America requires the hard work of parents, teachers, students, administrators, lawmakers, and the community to end the heartache.