If you’re a teacher, it’s important to know the warning signs of bullies and victims. Often, children who are being bullied are too afraid to speak up and in many cases, it can be difficult to notice when it is happening within school. Early identification of bullying can help prevent the effect it can have on children and tackle the underlying issues that may be causing it.
Here are some tips for teachers to become more aware and know how to address the issue in the correct way.
• An important aspect of bullying to understand is that both all individuals involved are likely to be affected. Bullies themselves could be experiencing inner issues such as neglect either from parents, friends or teachers. They could be facing difficulties at school or home and bullying could be their only form of outlet. There are many factors that contribute to why a person bullies, but getting to know the root cause and approaching the situation sensitively is always best.
• Victims will most likely feel uncomfortable speaking to a teacher or parent about what they are going through, mainly because they fear of the reaction of the person they choose to tell. It is important to always respect a child’s feelings if they talk about being bullied. Never tell them to just ignore it or change the way they are. It is important to ensure children never feel as though it is there fault.
• Treating each student with care and respect will have a positive impact on the group dynamics. If each individual feels comfortable and safe in a trusted environment, they could be more likely to be open to their teachers or peers.
• Implementing more group-based activities such as team building and group development can give teachers and students a way to bond and create a positive working environment. This could be particularly good for those who do not receive this kind of support from home or students who lack confidence and self-esteem.
• Having more one to one sessions with students can allow you to gain insight into how they’re getting on at school and if they are dealing with any issues they would like to address. It is important to maintain good relationships with every student to help build trust. Getting to know your students better may help you recognise when they are acting differently and allow you to identify worrying behaviours early on.
• Hold regular anti-bullying awareness sessions where all forms of bullying are identified and taught how to prevent, the effects bullying has on both the victim and victimizer are addressed and students are taught how to stop being a bullying behaviour. This could be important if people are not aware that their behaviour is harming others.
• Talk to your pupils openly about what it is like to be a student at your school. You might uncover particular bullying hotspots or trends.
• Set an example for your students and become someone they can look up to. In some cases, the teacher themselves can unknowingly pick on particular students. Ensure you treat every student equally and remember to show positive reinforcement when they perform well in class.
All of these tips can be implemented in any classroom to prevent the risk of bullying for your students.
If you are worried about the well-being of one of your students, contact your head teacher or visit the NSPCC for guidance.