I’m not a fan of discussing this topic, especially in school, because you start talking about it and before you know it, during the next playtime, every child is being bullied.
I like to think I know my class pretty well, especially since we have been learning together for a long time. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and try to sort disagreements out between themselves first, before they tell an adult. But today, I was slapped in the face by the reaility that bullying has been happening in my own class, under my nose, and I didn’t even notice!
Today, I had to put on the performance of a lifetime. Not for the children but for a parent. A performance that required me to beg and plead for a chance to try and end the playtime problems, before drastic action was taken. It left me feeling angry, sad and on the verge of crying real tears. It also left me with a numb left foot!
After school, a parent wanted to talk about how her child, a usually happy, cheerful, cheeky, smiley young girl, (one of my favourites) was feeling sad everyday after school and didn’t want to come back to school ever again. At playtimes, some boys have been making fun of her. They’re generally being incredibly unkind to her – on a daily basis it would appear. She has been telling adults but they haven’t done much, except tell the boys to stop annoying her, which they obviously aren’t doing. When she last told an adult the boys started to do it even more, so she stopped telling adults.
Throughout the entire conversation, I was sitting on the floor, discussing what had happened so far and trying to persuade her Mum that I would resolve the situation, now that I actually know about it. I also had to persuade the child to come into school on Monday because she was adamant that she didn’t want to come to school anymore… When I went to stand up again, my left foot gave way and I had to shift my entire body weight onto my right foot instead, before I fell over like a bowling pin.
I completely trust this child. She’s such a lovely little chipmunk. I know she would never lie to me or make this up. I also know that she used to love coming to school last year. I used to be her best teacher ever. I don’t feel like I am her best teacher ever right now though. I feel like I’ve failed her for not realising that she is unhappy at playtimes, but when I think about it, she has probably been putting on a brave face for a while. She was so upset that I wanted to hug her and promise her that I would fix it all.
She has a few good friends but does enjoy the company of adults more than children. She also does tend to sit on the wall, by herself, at playtimes (which probably makes her an easy target) but she says she’s happy there and likes to watch the other children. I completely understand that. I’m always people watching, almost always silently criticising their incorrect use of grammar or bad habits whilst near children.
So now I know she is unhappy at playtimes, I’m making it my mission to fix it. I’ve promised her I’m going to do what I can to help her feel happier on the playground again. I want those boys to know that I know what they have done to her. I want them to know that if they carry on doing it, I’ll personally keep them off the playground. I want my happy, cheerful chipmunk back. She used to like being at school. I want her to love school again.
I’ve already planned to have the girls rally around her. (Like we tend to do.) We also have a new girl, who at first impression, appears to be a lovely new addition, starting on Monday, so hopefully, asking her to be her buddy will take her mind off of it and help her forget her worries.
As soon as she has identified the unknown boys, on Monday morning, I’m marching them down to higher powers to issue them the riot act! And I’ll be watching them like a hawk for the rest of the year. I don’t like bullies and refuse to have one of my favourite 5 feeling sad in school. 😡