Friendship and Bullies
He came in the first day looking scared; he was now in high school and the kids were much bigger than in middle school. “Were they going to beat up on him, take his lunch money and publicly humiliate him in front of girls?” he asked himself. He timidly approached the entrance, looking for hidden enemies bent on an ambush.
I was watching him from my car and his anguished face reminded me of my own youth. The big difference was that he weighed no more than 115 lbs. soaking wet, and I had been a big boy weighing 200 lbs., ready to get into a fist fight. I got down and approached him, thinking that the presence of a teacher might reassure him. He looked at me out of the corner of his eyes and almost jumped when I said: “Your first day?”.
He nodded and I perceived an effort to smile. “I’ll go with you to the classroom and show you how the school is organized, OK?” Again he nodded with some effort. As we walked down the corridors of this huge building, I explained to him that each floor was divided into three halls, D, E, F and that his schedule showed the letter followed by a number for each classroom.
Come And See Me
By the time we reached our destination, he was a little more relaxed and started to ask me what my subject was. He seemed disappointed when I said special education. I added that I would see him walking around between classes and he could go to my office if needed. I wrote my name and office number on a piece of paper.
He came to my office the next day during lunch time looking excited and followed by another student; when I asked him how he was doing, he said that he had found a friend from middle school who was in the same class. That kid was big for his age; you could tell he would be picked for the football team.
“Hey”, I said, “I guess your problems are over.”
He grinned awkwardly and added that he was glad I had approached him the first day of school.
“Not a problem”, I answered, “Come and see me anytime.”
The Bullying Problem
Bullies abound in every school and smaller kids are the victims. They are afraid of reporting them, obviously, which is why we, the teachers, should keep our eyes open for any indication of a problem. Bullying not only causes fear, it also creates a victim complex in the target child and destroys his self-esteem. It doesn’t seem like a priority in education; after all, we have more important issues such as drug dealers and weapon carrying students.
We must anticipate all these problems and not just concentrate on the more sensational cases. Newspapers very seldom report on bullying, but they certainly cover drug and weapon charges. Ask the parents of a bullying victim if their son or daughter doesn’t have serious trouble.