Issues with bullying and cyber bullying within my school appear to be minimal. Of course, it seems so anyways, within any extended group of people there are cases of bullying. However, it seems to be in check at the school I do my field experience. In regards to acts of bullying, there have been instances that I have noticed. In the younger grades I have observed some students need to “tattle” on other students. While tattling isn’t really bullying, the manner in which the children behaved before bringing in their teacher felt a bit like bullying to me. For even simple events it appeared as if some students look for others doing something incorrectly so that they could verbally attack them for it. To me this can be an issue, because it is unnecessary, but this kind of behaviour can lead to social ostracism. In my own grade 8 classroom, I have noticed some students get momentarily frustrated with each other, but overall the classroom environment works more as a cohesive unit. Cyber bullying is more difficult for me to see, since I have never worked or observed students using computers during class or bring up issues of cyber bullying. That is not to say that there is more than what I have seen going on. I’m sure bullying still exists even if I am not aware of it. I think the most common type of bullying has a high social aspect to it.
Prevention of bullying within my school is noticeable. The walls contain images and saying that reflect a community that expects everyone be given respect. I think the setting of this kind of tone enacts bully prevention. Additionally, there is a document on the wall that asks students to prevent bullying and all of the students have signed their names on it. It is displayed in one of the hallways. To me this shows that the school as a whole is teaching students to not only stop participating in bullying, but to allies for their peers. In my classroom the teacher has a policy of leaving drama at the door. She sets up a classroom community that demonstrates prevention against bullying and supporting of peers. I cannot speak to the prevention of cyber bullying, because I have not noticed anything outlining the issue or prevention of it in my class.
How will I deal with and prevent bullying in my own classroom? I think it is important to establish a safe and respectful classroom community from day one. I will model this behaviour by respecting all of my students, but also by being an ally against bullying of any kind. This will also be reflected in the way that I teach and the materials present in my classroom. I think that by only valuing certain ways of knowing and certain perspectives we present a belief that some ways and some perspectives are lesser. Creating imbalance and a lack of respect for diversity goes hand in hand with bullying. I will set guidelines and expectations that will directly make note that I will not tolerate bullying of any kind. I will follow through, by acknowledging acts of bullying. Moreover, I will ask my students to be a part of the process of building a respectful classroom community. I feel it is my job to create a safe environment for everyone of my students.