School bullying is an increasingly frequent problem.Too often, cases of children, adolescents and young people who are victims of mistreatment by their schoolmates appear on the front pages of the newspapers. worst of all is that in most cases the victims suffer in silence and sometimes the teachers and parents don’t even realize it, until it’s too late and the emotional wounds are already bleeding.
Fortunately, contrary to what some might think, most teachers do not intend to wash their hands or look the other way in the face of bullying. A large-scale study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that 98% of teachers and educational support staff think it is part of their job to step in when bullying is discovered. However, only the 54% have received information on how to behave or on the regulations applied by the school, which tells us that there is still a long way to go at the institutional level.
Five tips for teachers who have to deal with bullying school
1. Treating students with respect
Disrespecting students does not set a good example, rather it sends the message that those who have power can use it against those who are weaker. It is also important for teachers to be open and available, so that if a student is being bullied, they feel comfortable and safe enough to confess what is happening.
2. Planning activities that condemn bullying
Teaching the curriculum is important but from time to time, especially to educate in values, it is necessary to resort to more original solutions that go beyond the curricular script. For example, there are many books, movies and television programs that serve as a basis for discussing the impact of bullying and, in the process, for students to develop some level of empathy with the victim. It is important not to limit yourself to a merely cognitive analysis but to delve into the emotional wounds left by bullying.
3. Stop the bullying immediately
If the teacher witnesses a bullying situation, they must stop it immediately. It is important for students to be aware that teachers do not allow other children or adolescents to be mistreated and to know that victims have the support of institutions. In these cases, it is recommended that the teacher impose his authority and not try to mediate, as if it were a simple conflict, since in cases of harassment there is always a great disproportion of power and the attempt to mediate often it only serves to make the victim feel even more helpless and exposed.
4. Talk to the aggressor in private
In many cases, the aggressors are children or adolescents who come from dysfunctional homes, where different forms of violence are accepted and practiced. In other cases, the aggressor himself was a victim of bullying at another time and his violent behavior is his way of defending himself. Therefore, it is important to talk with that student in private, trying to understand why behaves like this. If the teacher detects that she has problems with anger control or shows dysfunctional behaviors, the ideal would be to refer him to a psychologist.
5. Notify what happened and follow up
Teachers must report cases of bullying to the school director, and it is also convenient that they communicate it to the parents of all those involved, both the victim and the aggressor. In fact, parents are often not aware of their children’s behavior, but they are a key player in resolving that conflict. It is also important that the teacher stay tuned to how the situation unfolds and keep in mind that bullying typically occurs when students are unsupervised at school.