I have been wanting to blog about bullying for a while as I think it’s a really pressing issue. It happens to be anti-bullying week too so I fugured now was the time to write it. There have been many stories in the press about children being bullied to the point where they take their own life. It is shocking and heart breaking that they feel it has to come to this. For many, I feel they suffer in silence, too afraid to tell anyone what is going on. As a teacher, I know that we cannot deal with these issues if the child doesn’t come forward and tell anyone about the problem. I would hate to think that a child, particularly in my tutor group, were too afraid to come forward and talk to me about it. I want to encourage children to come forward and not suffer in silence.
I understand first hand how bullying feels and how they can affect your life. I was bullied in school in year 7 and 8, and then again when I was in year 10 and 11, both for different reasons. Anyone who knows me will probably know these reasons. I was made to feel small, like I didnt matter, and these were constant, as you can see from the timescales. People would call me names in the corridor, I even remember people going through my stuff and putting it on show. There were times when I would go home and cry. I am an outgoing and strong minded individual who is pretty stubborn. Because of this I learnt to ignore it and not to care what people think. When I reflect on my school life, I have realised that when I had glandular fever in year 11, it was probably partly due to the fact that I was being bullied, I lost friends, didnt eat as much as I should have, worried a lot. All of this just before I did my exams. I have never put this together until recently. There were probably a few other reasons too, I was playing a lot of sport, and my immune system was probably weaker than it should have been. However, I believe that I am now a stronger person because of my experiences. I am unique and if people have an opinion about me then who cares. I am not going to let what other people think influence me or what I do.
I suffered in silence, I didn’t tell the teachers and I can’t remember if I even told my parents, I just got on and dealt with it in my own way. Having experienced ‘bullying’ in schools, I know that some children genuinely do suffer and get bullied. Kids can be very cruel when they want to be. However, I also believe that the word bullying has lost its meaning with some. Children are very quick to accuse people of being bullies when they may have just fallen out with their friends. A week later they are back talking again. I am confident that this happens all over the country. It is almost like their tolerance to this has become less, they arent not ‘thick skinned.’ The youth of today has changed and are changing. We are educating them for jobs that don’t yet exist. But some are less inclined to ‘take it on the chin’ and stick up for themselves. Someone calling them a name is them being picked on. Bullying in my eyes has to be a constant occurance, things repeated. It can be verbal, physical, intimidation and more and more now it’s also done via the internet and social media sites.
So, there is a very blurred line, are those being seriously bullied suffering in silence? Are those not really being bullied as such making more out of the situation than they should be? Are social media sites creating more problems? Do we need to reiterate on a regular basis what bullying is? There are lots of questions raised.
In the news yesterday, and the reason I wanted to blog today is the use of the term ‘gay’ as a derogative. I spoke to my tutor group about it and it spark a conversation in which I was told about this clip. It is 19 minutes long but creates a powerful message about what bullying can do and can lead to. It is also based on true stories. It is a real eye opener and I believe it can be used in our teaching to show children what their actions could be doing to others. Maybe we need to demonstrate the consequences of this sooner in education to get the message across earlier and try to prevent bullying. What else can we do to encourage children to be an individual and not to care as much what others think.