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Shocking Teachers' Views on Bullying

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Recently I had the opportunity to discuss the subject of bullying with several teachers. I was surprised by their reaction when I brought the subject up.  All of them had the same response, they said bullying has gone on for decades, was a normal part of life, and not something which they had the power to control/stop.

I am not saying that every teacher on the planet shares their views. 

The teachers with whom I was discussing this subject were from different states and towns, which gave me the impression that their views were shared by other teachers across state/town lines.

My questions are these:

Why are (some) teachers' views on bullying so drastically different than those of the general public?

Why do they not see the danger inherent in bullying and the severe damage it does to some children?

Why do they think they are powerless to intervene when they are right there, on the front lines of the bully/victim interaction?



by on Aug. 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM
Replies (41-50):
futureshock
by Ruby Member on Aug. 8, 2012 at 3:14 PM
2 moms liked this


Quoting pagancuriosity:

My husband is a teacher and I asked him about this....he said a huge reason why teachers are cautious about getting involved is b/c it can end up costing them their jobs. You get a parent who thinks their kid shits rainbows and you tell them that they are a bully, and watch how fast the superindendent of the school is invovled. And a parent can end up tying up the entire school system if angry enough. My husband actually has to deal with a bully of a parent of a student of his. He has a fair grading system and this student doesn't always perform as well, therefore doesn't get the grades her mother thinks she's entitled to. She has called the superindendent on my husband a few times. Every time, the principal asks my husband to back down, but he refuses. So, a lot of times, it's the parents holding the teachers back from doing anything productive about bullies.

Back down in what way, like changing grades?  Why would the superintendent be intimidated by a parent?

Your husband sounds like a great teacher.

OHgirlinCA
by Platinum Member on Aug. 8, 2012 at 3:15 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting futureshock:


Quoting OHgirlinCA:

 I'm not a teacher, but had a child that was bullied. 

In my opinion, the definition of bullying has changed, and some children are labeled bullies simply because they choose not to play with a classmate or think that someone is weird, or calls someone a name once. 

In the Middle School here, if someone is labeled a bully, they have to attend counseling sessions.  The victim does as well.  Now the victim feels they're being punished and pointed out because the school is making it a point to pull them out of class to attend counseling. 

Sure, teachers absolutely need to break up anything where someone is being physically attacked and bullied in that regard.  I think the bigger thing teachers can do to make an impact is to stress respect for others within their classrooms, and also stress self esteem.  It should be a no brainer. 

Until parents keep their children in line, bullying will continue.  Teachers cannot tell a parent how to parent their child.  What parents can do for their children is build their self esteem and give them the tools necessary to deal with bullies.  Afterall, they will be dealing with bullies their entire life.  It's the reaction that will make a bully stop or persist.

How so?

Afterall, they will be dealing with bullies their entire life

 Adults bully each other all the time.  At some point in everyone's life they'll come across a bully, whether it is a boss, coworker, neighbor, or random stranger at an event, store, or even on the road.

wenchmommy381
by Wenchy on Aug. 8, 2012 at 3:23 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting futureshock:

My questions are these:

Why are (some) teachers' views on bullying so drastically different than those of the general public?

Because the general public think that teachers are these all-seeing overlords like the headmaster in Pink Floyd's "The Wall." When my students came into my classroom, the only thing they were allowed to discuss was the work in front of them. I didn't want to hear their pettiness and teenage problems. We had shit to do. I didn't deal with them in the hallways, at the football games, or anywhere else-- unless they wanted me involved, in which case they saw me on their own time. 

Why do they not see the danger inherent in bullying and the severe damage it does to some children?

If I saw a child in distress, I would direct my concern to their Guidance counselor-- they were the ones trained in dealing with that sort of thing. I took a whopping 9 Psychology credits in college (3 of them in Alcohol and Drug abuse, so that I could ID someone under the influence in a classroom), and as such am not equipped to help.

Why do they think they are powerless to intervene when they are right there, on the front lines of the bully/victim interaction?

I never saw bullying; I saw kids who thought calling each other "bitch" and "asshole" were freaking hilarious, like they were the first people to use the words in public. I had one student "report bullying" to me and when I told her that the formal report would be filed by the end of the day, she rescinded, saying she was "only kidding." I had easily a dozen of these "false reports" in the last school year alone. Kids have no idea that they muddy the waters and make it harder for me to identify bullying. Because they're kids.

As a teacher, I am not on the front lines; the bully's and the victim's classmates are. They are the ones who see what the teachers and administrators do not. We have to teach them that reporting a bully is not "tattling."




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wenchmommy381
by Wenchy on Aug. 8, 2012 at 3:28 PM


Quoting futureshock:


Quoting pagancuriosity:

My husband is a teacher and I asked him about this....he said a huge reason why teachers are cautious about getting involved is b/c it can end up costing them their jobs. You get a parent who thinks their kid shits rainbows and you tell them that they are a bully, and watch how fast the superindendent of the school is invovled. And a parent can end up tying up the entire school system if angry enough. My husband actually has to deal with a bully of a parent of a student of his. He has a fair grading system and this student doesn't always perform as well, therefore doesn't get the grades her mother thinks she's entitled to. She has called the superindendent on my husband a few times. Every time, the principal asks my husband to back down, but he refuses. So, a lot of times, it's the parents holding the teachers back from doing anything productive about bullies.

Back down in what way, like changing grades?  Why would the superintendent be intimidated by a parent?

Your husband sounds like a great teacher.

Superintendents are where the buck stops in any school district. If enough people don't like what he or she does or says, they're out-- losing a substantial salary in the process (easily 6 figures). So the administration is acting in their own best interests to make sure the grading process is indeed fair. Once they see that this is the case, they can go back to the parent and say, "Everything is working correctly on our end of the bargain. How about you?" But they cannot assume the child-- or the teacher-- is 100% without fault.

  Knowledge is Power
 
     Smart Chicks (a debate forum)
      www.cafemom.com/group/smartchicks2

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Aug. 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM


Quoting futureshock:


Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

If it is clear that a child was being bullied I have always stepped in. There have been times that I didn't step in and I probably should have. I really feel like helping kids to learn conflict respolution could be a valuable tool against some situations that begin as disagreements and end in torment and actual bullying.




Thank-you for sharing this.  Why do you think you hesitated to intervene on these occasions?

There have been times that I didn't step in and I probably should have.

Those times I felt like getting involved might have escalated the harassment at a later time. The times I didn't get involved always were when words were exchanged. I always intervened if I saw kids physically being a bully by pushing, shoving, tripping etc.


LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Aug. 8, 2012 at 4:07 PM
1 mom liked this

1. I think teachers who have grown up in that system and went directly on to work in that system find the 'norms' of that system normal.

2. They can't look at it from that angle, because it conflicts with their worldview.

3. If they start intervening, they'd be doing it all day (they think)... plus, intervening is a waste of time, since it's 'normal' and all kids need to learn to 'deal with the real world' (remember 1. above)

nuclear_sugar
by Jaye on Aug. 8, 2012 at 4:13 PM
2 moms liked this
I have only run across this attitude from one teacher that I work with, and she is a "dinosaur," so to speak, so it doesn't surprise me that she holds this view. Many older people (not just teachers, but the general public as well) were raised to believe that bullying was just something that happened in school to "toughen kids up."

I take a very hard line against bullying, and I don't apologize for it, even when I get into hot water with parents who don't believe little Johnny or Susie could be bullying someone. I frequently have kids stay after class to talk to me about bullying, or slip me a note during class.

My biggest issue is that I'm often legally/professionally prevented from intervening in these situations. Our school policy states that I'm not allowed to hand out punishment for bullying unless I witness it directly - even if I'm sure of what's going on. If a child reports bullying in another area outside my classroom, I have to report it to the person in charge of that area (bus driver, another teacher, etc), and/or send the child to the counselors (who, at my school, are just shy of worthless in terms of helping kids, and ALSO can't punish something they didn't witness).

I'm not allowed to handle things myself...and I can't write up an act of bullying, no matter how offensive, unless I see it or have written proof. I can talk to the alleged bully about what I've been told, but unless they confess, I'm SOL, and have then made it worse for the kid who's being bullied. I've also then opened myself up to calls from the bully's parents about "harassing" their sweet baby.

Basically, school policies designed to avoid litigation is cock-blocking good teachers from stepping in.
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_Kissy_
by on Aug. 8, 2012 at 4:14 PM
Bullying today has gone to a whole new level.
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wickedfiress
by Kellie on Aug. 8, 2012 at 4:30 PM
1 mom liked this

Something else that I have mentioned before in other posts on other topics, such as why the teen suicide rate is so high, that due to things such as parents 'hovering' some have not allowed thier children to experience any negative emotions, or even simply allowed them to fail at something, in thier lives so when they are faced with that they have no idea how to deal with it and it makes it all very dramatic in thier minds and must mean they are being "bullied."  You see this on here as well, for instance when more than one person disagrees with a particular reply by Person A, Person A sometimes accuses the other posters of "ganging up on" person A. 

It's amazing how people don't hold themselves to the standards they set for others.

MommaGreenhalge
by Bronze Member on Aug. 8, 2012 at 4:34 PM
1 mom liked this
I worked in a hs cafeteria a few years ago. Before school started, we were all having an inservice day and I watched as the teachers were watching a video about bullying. The male coaches were all sitting in the back, and they were cracking up, making fun of the whole thing. Jocks who bully in school grow up to be coaches who coach bullies.
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