Bullying: Are You the Target?

School003

Tuesday is for Teachers

This article from a CNN blog explores a topic that is seldom seen in the media: when teachers are the bully’s target.

CNN Schools of Thought Blog

My intent in these Tuesday posts is always to be encouraging, but today’s topic needs to be addressed. Bullying teachers occurs. It happened to me.

A student sent me a hateful email to my personal email address and used my daughter’s death to try to make me feel bad. It was disturbing, especially since we could not track down who sent it.

The school system’s response was hardly supportive; they basically advised me to contact the police, which I had already done. It took a number of phone calls to reach a detective who would pursue it. They finally determined that it was from a former student at my school whom I actually never taught.

It was one of those incidents that I just pushed to the back of my mind, and since I never heard from him again, I really didn’t feel threatened.

But I know of teachers in Nashville who have suffered physical violence at school and can immediately empathize with them.

RX for Trauma

I wish there was some way to communicate to principals the importance of taking care of the mental health of teachers. One principal provided me the best supportive response from one of those adrenalin rushes that leaves you shaky. I was escorting a bleeding 6th grader away from a fight and toward the office when I fell. I tried to stop him as he dashed away from me to return to the fight in front of my classroom. Here’s the remedy for teacher recovery:

  1. Have someone cover the teacher’s classroom.
  2. Find a place that is quiet and have the teacher put her feet up.
  3. Turn on some relaxing music.
  4. Offer water or soft drink.
  5. Leave the room for a few minutes.

My principal did all of those things for me; never in my 30+ years of teaching had anyone ever made sure I was able to return to teaching after a traumatic event.

It is a known medical fact that after an adrenalin surge, the body will experience a sudden crash afterwards. It didn’t take me long to recover, just a few minutes. But they were such important minutes. In the process of managing crowd control after a disruption, students often take the priority, but a teacher may be a forgotten causality.

Here’s another post that resulted in some heated debate between teachers and parents on a CNN blog. See if you agree with Ron Clark’s assessment of what teachers want to tell parents.

Counting joy today and praying for the mental health of teachers whose students are missing important support themselves.

JoyMartell

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