This post was first published back in 2016 in my other blog site “The Unwarranted Bachelor”, under the title “The Nature of Bullies”. This has been edited and renamed for “Writings of Seb”.
Bullies can come in all shapes and sizes…and ages. As a kid, growing up in southern Manitoba, I experienced taunts from all age groups, this included teachers. You know those people who are supposed to teach you things? Those who are supposed to protect students from the mean students (to some degree)? Yup, those teachers.
I know there are children out there who take it upon themselves to bully teachers. This I’ve also witnessed. But why do teachers take the sides of the bullies? Or become bullies towards their pupils?
I can’t answer for them. What I can do is tell you my experiences and hopefully share some advice.
As a child, from an immigrant family with English being my second language, I was a slow learner. (This was especially true in grades one through four.) With that I was a slow reader. I actually couldn’t read properly until mid-way through grade four. I never told my teachers and they never really seemed to care.
The only students that they cared about was the smart kids and the special needs kids. (That was the term used for such children back then, and if it offends anyone than so be it.) I found myself in the middle and thus I was left out of their care.
As a child that is how I felt. My learning disability was kept a secret as much as my childhood depression was hidden from the world. So it seemed to me.
Back on topic: a teacher, who believed she was constantly the focal point of mockery, was a major culprit in this. As a slow reader and a slow note-taker, it took me ages to copy her lectures from the board and go on to the next section. One day when such a thing occurred, and I hadn’t finished jotting everything down and hadn’t opened my textbook to the page she demanded me to read, she snapped. “You think you’re too good to open your book?”
That day I knew she hated kids and despised her job. The question I have for such teachers is: why are you teaching our children if you loath them so much? Get out now before you destroy their lives forever.
I was afraid to tell the right people about this incident. Instead I handled it the best my young mind knew how. I exploded at her just as I did against all others who bullied me. My low self-esteem got the better of me then and, unfortunately, I find that this training is still prevalent in my way of thinking today.
Old habits die hard.
Being shown that one doesn’t matter, or is demonstrated to be a waste of time and space, remains in the subconscious far too long. A child grows up with the training of adults and his/her mind is moulded more by the negative experiences as with the positive. This is a sad truth.
What can a child do if a “trusted” teacher or other role-model is the bully?
Nothing! That is towards the culprit.
Everything! This is to get help. Children, no matter their age, need to be encouraged by their parents to share how their days went. All information given are clues parents need to be open to hearing.
As parents (which I am not one yet) we need to listen to our kids more than we need to probe them for information. If something seems amiss you, as loving parents, need to relay this information to someone at the school or school board who can do something about it.
Parents, ask questions about everything. Be in your children’s lives from the beginning. Foremost, be their parents; not their best friends; not police officers nor their lawyers. You need to find a balance to deal with bullies and help your child deal properly with bullies of all ages.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4, ESV). Too much caring and too little caring can both lead a child to anger. Be careful.
When I say don’t be “their lawyers” I mean two things:
First, don’t ask leading questions. Especially when your kid doesn’t want to talk and you suspect the reason. Usually your suspected reason is the wrong reason. Never put words in their mouths just as you don’t want them to put words in your mouth.
Be respectful of them.
Second, don’t always take their word as hard core evidence in any case. If something in ongoing you will know. If it’s the first time a teacher bullied your kid (according to his/her account), listen but don’t go witch hunting that second. The story your kid just told you is from his/her recollection of the day’s event.
Always check the facts.
It may be difficult to sit by while your child is bullied, but what if your little one directly or indirectly asked for it?
One last thing to remember: what your kid believes is unfair treatment may not be unfair treatment. But teacher-bullies do exist and they need to be removed from their teaching posts, a.s.a.p.
DISCLAIMER: I am no expert in the field of mental illness or of childhood counselling/caregiving. All of my posts are solely my experiences and/or my opinions. There are a lot of people around who have opinions on anything and everything. Please, be careful and don’t believe all you read as fact or dismiss it as fiction.