Bully for You!

The Edifice of Elucidation is launching a new campaign about bullying. I was initially excited about this project because I thought that finally we’d stumbled across a professional development program that I could actually use in the classroom! Learning the finer points of bullying could go a long way to making me a more effective educator and enable my students to achieve their full potential.

As it turns out, however, this is one of those programs that is trying to eliminate bullying. Apparently, picking on people hurts their feelings and makes them feel bad about themselves. The reason I was initially confused was because growing up we didn’t call it “bullying”… we called it “family time.”

The idea is that if we let students know what bullying is and that it really hurts other people’s feelings, then they’ll stop doing it. This makes me wonder how stupid we think our young people are. Is it even remotely possible that they don’t know that what they’re doing hurts other people?! Isn’t that why they did it in the first place?

Don’t get me wrong I’m all for the kinder, gentler method of dealing with young people. I strongly believe that locking them in boxes was cruel and inhumane and I’m glad that we’ve discontinued that practice. I have to wonder, however, if we’re not setting these children up for failure as adults if we don’t expose them to bullying at a young age?

As an example yesterday I was told that I had to attend a meeting after school, or else. Please keep in mind that no useful information was disseminated at the meeting and even though I slept through half of it I was assured that I didn’t miss anything, but I was still required to attend. I received notice after notice about the meeting, which finally culminated in being summoned over the loudspeaker for the whole school to hear! How humiliating! There wasn’t even a “please!”

Thanks to the bullying I was exposed to as a child I knew precisely how to deal with the traumatizing situation above. I sulked and pouted until I got home and then I pretended that it never happened; burying the memory of the incident deep in my subconscious where it won’t hurt me ever again.

If I had grown up in a world without bullying, how would I be able to get through the day as an adult? Think about your last trip to the DMV… See what I mean? You’d be reduced to a quivering mass of shame and anguish that some unlucky custodian would have to unceremoniously dump in the puddle just outside the back door and you’d still have the wrong address on your license!

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