Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bullies Be Gone!

I had a rough/sad day yesterday. I just found out that I didn't get that awesome teaching position overseas (they said I was the principal's second choice). However, on the bright side, the HR lady did refer me to other schools looking for teachers and gave me their contact info. I just want to say that this is the first time a HR person spent the time let me know about other schools. Honestly, this was by far the "best" rejection letter I've received.

On another note, don't you hate it when you see bullying in school or outside of school? It breaks my heart to see a child get hurt by a mean remark. Well this happened to one of my little guys at my after school program. We meet at one of the local community recreation centers and one of the older local boys (I'm pretty sure he was a 5th grader), bullied and pushed around my little guy at the pool table. He said things like, "The pool table is only for big kids who know how to play!" I remember I had to confront the big 5th grader and remind him that the pool table was for all ages. I think I scared him a little since he left 5 minutes after the confrontation.

So the bullying topic has been on my mind a lot because I know it happens right under our noses. As teachers, it is difficult to catch all of the bullying especially in the lunch room or at recess! Another bully situation I recall from student teaching last year was with one of my Indian-American girls. Her mom emailed my teacher mentor saying that the other girls at her lunch table make fun of the food she brings and that it stinks. This was so heartbreaking to me! I remember watching my teacher bring the two girls outside the hallway to talk about the situation the next day. She said, "Sally* (the bully), would you like it if someone made fun of your lunch that your mom packed for you? Lucy's* mom home cooked Lucy's* lunch out of love and you are hurting her and her mom's feelings by saying mean things." That was a memorable day for me because they don't teach you how to comfort and confront students on situations like these in college!! 

 Also, I think that situation hit home for me since I experienced relatively similar experiences-- I was typically the only Chinese-American in my classes, and kids always asked me the silliest questions!  One of my personal favorites (aka most annoying): 
Student: What's your name?
Me: Andrea
Student: No, I mean what's your REAL name?
Me: Andrea. That's the name my parents gave me! 
Student: I mean like your REAL name in Chinese!  Isn't like 'Ching Chong'...
Me: Um you can check my birth certificate, it says 'Andrea'.
(FYI, I still got these questions in college once in a while...obviously all kinds of bullying happens with adults as well)

Do you have any bullying stories you'd like to share? Also, I would love to get more advice and tips on how to deal with bullying of all kinds, whether it is cultural, gender, age, physical, mental, etc. Let's try and stop the bullying!

Here's a movie that will come out soon about bullies in schools across America. It will come out on March 30 in select theaters across the U.S. This is a definite MUST SEE on my movie list.