Many may argue that bullying doesn’t occur as much as people like to say it does. As a victim of bullying, I can say that it happens all the time, but many children are afraid to speak out against it. I know that I was. Due to my own experience with bullying, I want to reach out and help students who are falling victim to this senseless interaction. It is guaranteed that this will occur within the school I will be employed by and it is my job to help these students, to be their ally
- Be observant in your own classroom
This seems to be one of the largest things I took away from the websites I observed and researched. It is necessary to know your classroom environment, including the students that occupy it, to understand when a student is the victim or perpetrator of bullying. Being an ally to students begins with the relationship you have with your students. Once a relationship is established, the ability to detect when something is wrong becomes much easier.
2. Be supportive
This may see obvious, but when a student is being bullied, they often need a safe space for them to go. As an ally, you should be supportive of students in general; the same goes for students that are struggling with bullying. Students may be slow to warm up or may struggle to talk about what they are going through. An ally needs to wait through all of this and be understanding to the student’s current experiences.
3. Provide real-life solutions
It is easy to tell a child to simply “ignore the bully and they’ll stop.” I was told this exact advise when I was being bullied, but only after both my parents and teachers were made aware of the problem at hand. As an ally, you must move beyond these general statements to focus on a true solution for the student, be it by focusing on the individual, making the problem known to the faculty, etc. An ally is an active member in a child’s life and this means they actively try to help fix the problem.
4. Stop the problem before it begins
It is key to make sure you create an environment in your classrooms that holds kids to a standard of respect and kindness. If your classroom has the potential to foster bullying, it is likely that it will happen. Your classroom must be a kind place, one that allows students to feel comfortable. Beyond the environment, make it clear what behavior is tolerated and what is not. While you can’t guarantee that bullying won’t occur, there are several premeditative steps that can be taken to stop it before it even begins.
5. Act Immediately
There should be no hesitation when acting upon bullying. Once the issue is brought to your attention, you should be acting. Colleagues should be made aware of the issue, the victim should be provided with adequate resources to help them through the issue, and the bully and his/her family needs to be addressed. There should be no hesitation. Bullying is a very pressing issue within the school systems within this country. There is no excuse for it. As an ally, you act the moment you know that it is occurring.
Being an ally to your students reaches out across many different aspects of school, family, and social lives. This is just one area I was able to expand my knowledge in. Feel free to check out the sites I used to educate yourself further.