Guest Writer: Rhonda Martinez
Did you know that one out of five students report being bullied, according to National Center for Education Statistics? In other words in your classroom, 6 out of 30 kids might be the victims of bullying. Right now, we as educators should take action, but what can we do?
We have talked to guidance counselors and experienced educators to find tips on how to create a positive classroom climate. We have singled out 5 main ways to prevent bullying and make the classroom an educationally safe environment.
- Talk with Your Students
Talking about bullying is of utmost importance. Discuss with your students the consequences of bullying. Spend enough time teaching them emotional intelligence: developing empathy, teaching to be respectful and showing them how to understand emotions and feelings.
- Keep an Eye on Small Behaviors
Small indicators can often help you detect bullying at an early stage. Things like eye rolling, laughing cruelly or ignoring can show that the problem exists and it can aggravate if no measures are taken. That is why it is vital to notice such small behaviors and take action.
- Serve as an Example
You have probably seen teachers who were bullies themselves, or educators who were bullied by the colleagues. Imagine what your students feel and how they react when they witness such behavior. For this reason, make sure you do not let some bad mood or any negativity you may experience from colleagues influence the way you interact with your class. Be positive, open and supportive. Show your classroom that a healthy and safe educational environment is possible and be the advocate of such behavior in your school’s culture.
- Solve Conflicts Immediately
The longer the bullying continues, the more disastrous the consequences may be. Do not hesitate to take care of an incident instantly. Make sure both a victim and a bully get professional help from the guidance counselor. Always talk with a victim and a bully separately and privately. Show the victim that you care and understand their feelings. Assure them that you will help with the conflict. At the same time, find out why the bully behaves in the following manner, try to tell them about other ways of communicating.
- Help Students Connect
First and foremost, avoid letting students choose their own groups during group tasks and projects. This is how exclusion and ignoring are encouraged that may then lead to bullying. Assign students to groups yourself. This will help them learn how to interact, work and connect with different people, with different interests and hobbies.
Summing up, school bullying has lasting effects on a person’s life. It is shocking how many adults suffer from being unconfident and struggle with anxieties because they were victims of physical aggression or ignoring at school. Fighting and preventing bullying is not an easy task, it requires determination and constant awareness. Still, we believe that as educators we are shaping our society, and we can help it become a safe place to study, work and live.
BIO: Rhonda Martinez is a mom of two, a teacher of English language for adults and a senior editor at LegitWritingServices review website. Rhonda is keen on writing, tutoring English, and discovering new and effective ways of teaching her students.