Looking back- Bullies were in charge

Teachers Write 2014 ButtonOver at Teachers Write – the Tuesday prompt was to write from your child’s voice, to find that memory with deep felt emotion. Nora Raliegh Baskin, author of Anything but Typical, was pushing us to hear the voice of the child. If we are writing for young children we need to hear and write from that voice.

It was 7:30 am mid west time when I got to the post and already there were 10 or so responses up. Wow – we teachers are really risers and excited to write. There was another wow for me when reading the posts as well.  They were well written with high emotion from when they were very young and most were about being bullied.

I have to admit when I thought of writing from high emotion I also quickly remembered two or three time when I was teased, bullied and physically hurt by others (think ice ball thrown at face leaving a large black eye). Man, that was a long time ago. I am old, retired and still those memories come flooding back in a surprising fashion.

When I was young it was not talked about or dealt with. If anything was said it was often a word about fighting back or walking away. Hmm – that’s how I got the black eye – walking away.

I am grateful for all the work teachers and parents are now doing around bullying. There are posters in the hall, class discussion and lots of good books that touch on this subject. There are videos, songs and spoken word poems that keep this topic alive and talked about.


I know it is mid summer and we are only now sinking into that relaxed mode but I just want to put a little spark in your thinking, a question.

What will you do this fall, when your students return, to share this topic again? What will you do to make this important and fresh?

I worry that we are tuning out the message due to over use. I listened to some friends the other night over a glass of wine doing just that – “oh did you see there were a lot of shooting in Chicago this weekend.” The response was “yeah I don’t pay attention any more it is all the same stuff – shooting and killings – enough already let’s talk about something else.”  I get that not wanting to talk about it but the “I don’t pay attention” floored me.   We are becoming desensitized to the violence in our communities. Is this happening at schools?

Please don’t let that happen to bulling in the schools – our young bullies become our adult bullies.  How do we keep this topic fresh and important for our students? How do we make a change in the culture of our students lives?

I am hoping they will grow up to write about their deep emotions by sharing the fun they had with family and friends!  We can hope can’t we?

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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in behavior, Reflection. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Looking back- Bullies were in charge

  1. arjeha says:

    Unfortunately, bullying has been around for a long time and no matter what we do it is hard to eradicate it. It is a shame that people are becoming complacent with what is happening.Bullying is a battle that we can never stop fighting.

  2. margaretsmn says:

    I am participating in Teachers Write, too. On my blog post, I shared my writing. While it really wasn’t specifically about bullying, the character was being pushed around by a leader. I think this needs to be part of the discussion, good leadership skills. We need to train our students so that they can be effective friends and successful adults who use leadership without bullying. You’ve got me thinking this morning.

    • I have not written for todays lesson – the bulling ideas kept popping up but I would prefer to find a more positive memory to write about.

      I agree – teaching the skills of a good leader are so important! The new book shared by Tara this morning fits into this discussion as well – Gifts from the Enemy.

  3. Tara Smith says:

    I think our kids need us not to get complacent about bullying – and they appreciate when we talk about these issues and acknowledge that it exists. We always begin the year with Patricia Polacco’s “Thank You, Mr. Falker” – a wonderful text to set the tone for our classroom community.

    • Patricia has several titles that connect to Bullying – It might be fun to have students do an author study of her work and see how many really relate to this topic. I love “Thank You, Mr. Falker”. Thanks for you comment.

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