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From the Teacher's Desk

Help Prevent Bullying Back

Teachers have an incredible amount of responsibility lying on their shoulders.  They must educate tomorrow’s leaders and in doing so, they must make sure that the classroom and playground are safe and bully-free. Bullying affects more students now than ever. Taking measures to prevent bullying may seem like a daunting task, but it could help save a child from suffering needlessly. Here are some tips for teachers to prevent bullying.
  • Take Immediate Action. Students need to know that they are safe while at school, otherwise they may be tempted to stay at home instead of coming to school. Failure to act provides implied approval of the behavior and can cause it to spread. However, avoid escalating the situation as you do not want to make things worse.
  • Create a Bully-Free Zone classroom.  Have your own class rules for no bullying.
    Hang a poster stating, Bully-Free Zone and discuss with the students what the school and district policies are on bullying.  Share your reasons for wanting a bully free area and encourage the students to share their feelings as well.
  • Do Classroom Activities around Bullying
    Read books and show TV shows and movies and help the class understand the impact of identifying and bullying.  Discuss the impact it has on both the bully and the one being bullied.  If you discuss why bullies are the way they are it may help a student with bullying tendencies to deal with his/her issues.  Have class meetings in which students can talk about bullying and peer relations.
  • Treat everyone with respect and build a safe environment. 
    Anyone that comes to your classroom should be treated with warmth and acceptance. This example will go a long way.  When the students enter the class in the morning greet them with a smile and let them know you are happy they are there.  If your students see the warmth and respect from you, they will be more comfortable to tell you if they are experiencing trouble. 
  • Confer with Colleagues.  
    Find out what your fellow teachers do in their classroom. Discuss bullying and your concerns with specific students. Ask for advice when you need help and make sure you are there to provide support to those in need.
  • Involve the Parents.
    Parents may know things about situations that you are not aware of.  Speak freely with them about any concerns you may have about their children or any others (with discretion, of course.) It is important that the parents, students, and the community work together against bullying. Have a Bully Prevention Program. Encourage parents to
  • Lead by Example.  There are moments when teachers are so busy and pre-occupied that they may not realize how they answer the students when they have a problem, question, or need to be excused. Watch your tone and be aware that when you are at your wits end, the students are watching you to see how you handle yourself.  It’s very often that you recognize your own behavior in the little ones surrounding you so be very aware and extremely honest with yourself.
Making an effort to stop bullying can save lives. These are just a few of the steps you can take to prevent bullying in your classroom. Communicate with your coworkers to see the techniques they use and get more ideas. It is important for students to feel safe, so that they want to continue coming to school to learn.  Make it known to your students that you are always there for them if they need to talk about anything. A lot of students go without telling anyone that they are or were being bullied.

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