Bullying can have a negative impact on the physical, emotional, and mental health of a student. It can take many forms, such as physical threat, harassment, teasing, violence, and in today’s age of social media, cyberbullying. Children who fall prey to bullying usually have low self-esteem, have difficulty focusing on their studies, and in extreme cases, have thoughts of suicide. This is why it’s important that teachers know how to address bullying.
How Teachers Can Address Bullying
Create a Supportive and Safe Environment
Establish a school culture where respect and inclusion exist. Encourage students to show respect and thoughtfulness to everybody, especially in the classroom. Teachers can create a safe environment by making sure that students interact safely. Monitor bullying hotspots in school, like the cafeteria, bathrooms, playgrounds, and other areas where there’s little or no adult supervision.
Enlist the aid of school staff. Aside from teachers, librarians, office personnel, school nurses, bus drivers, and cafeteria staff see students every day. They can play a part in preventing or stopping incidents of bullying. Hence, school administrators should train school staff how to address and respond to these type of situations.
Well-managed classrooms are less likely to have instances of bullying. Develop rules together with students so they can have a sense of responsibility. Teachers can reinforce rules by making clear expectations and keeping them simple, direct and specific.
To promote positive relations and order in the classroom, consider the following tips:
- Be a role model for students. Give students respect and encourage them to be successful.
- Use positive words.
- Reward good behavior.
- Use one-on-one feedback. As much as possible, don’t reprimand students publicly.
- Help students correct their behaviors. They should understand that violating rules will have consequences.
Stop Bullying on the Spot
When teachers respond quickly, they send the message that bullying isn’t acceptable and won’t be tolerated. They should:
- Intervene immediately.
- If necessary, enlist the help of another adult.
- Intervene in a firm but calm manner.
- Separate the students involved.
- Make sure that everyone is safe.
Get police help/medical attention immediately if:
- A weapon is involved.
- Violent threats have been made.
- There is physical injury.
- There is sexual abuse.
- Anyone is accused of an illegal act, such as extortion or robbery
Find Out What Happened
Whether you stopped bullying on the spot or a student reached out to you for help, you should:
- Keep the students involved separate.
- Get the story from various sources.
- Listen without blaming.
- Do not call the act bullying yet while still trying to understand what happened.
- Collect all available information.
Support the Kids Involved
Teachers should understand that bullied children may be hesitant to talk. In such cases, a school counselor can help. It’s important to support all those who are involved to minimize the negative effects of bullying.
Be there for the victims. Provide support for the bullied child. Make him/her feel safe. Check on the student at a later time to see if he/she is okay. Finally, create steps to ensure that the bullying will not be repeated again.
Teachers should know how to address bullying in schools. Bullying affects a student in many ways: physically, mentally, and emotionally. It has a negative effect on the school environment and creates an atmosphere of hatred and fear among students. It also reduces a student’s ability to learn. For this reason, educators should make a strong commitment to prevent and stop bullying.