Monday, November 7, 2011


Dawn Boyle
Last week a friend posted this, a story about a New York teacher who was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take out a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up, not to rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now, even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bullies another child, they may say they’re sorry, but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.
After reading Jen's story I immediately forwarded it to our district PTA. After a few days (and no response) it was just not sitting well with me. I spoke to a few friends, some of which are teachers themselves. I asked why is it that bullying seems so prevalent today than when we were in school? One friend had the "nerve" to look directly in my eyes and said these exact words "Dawn, is it more prevalent? Or did you never fall victim as a kid?" A flood of emotions came over me. I remember all too well being bullied. I remember not having "any" friends. I remember being made fun of about something my parents decided involving me as a baby, that bullying made me leave. I remember walking into the lunch room with the fear of not having anyone to sit with.

Seems it has been going on for a longtime. It doesn't matter if you're pretty, skinny, wealthy or a good student, kids will target you for whatever reason takes away from the bullying being directed at them. How sad. How very, very sad. I don't recall ever bullying anyone when I was a kid. If I did, boy am I sorry. Having two girls and seeing firsthand the crap kids do makes me sick.

Back to the after a long few days of reflecting and honestly thinking what would be a way educators can not only do what the original teacher did to spark this post, I was thinking that maybe it maybe that crumpling of the paper should be followed up (maybe with kids 2nd grade and up) with the teacher handing out two girl/boy cutouts to everyone in the class. The one cutout should be labeled with the students name, the other blank. For a few minutes allow the students to write down (privately) all the things they find bad or dislikes about themselves and placed in their take home folder for nobody to see. Next I would hand out the other cutout with the persons name on it. Have the children write one good or positive attribute about the child on the cutout. Give the student the positively filled out cutout to take home as well. Tell the children that when they are feeling bad about themselves to look at the cutout where their peers have written all the wonderful things about them.

I don't know if it will work, but it can't hurt. I plan on doing it with my own class next week. Let me know what you think. Tell me what you are doing with your children/students.

1 comment:

  1. My children's teachers in middle school and high school have sent a pieces of paper around the room for each student. Every student anonymously wrote one nice thing about the student. Even for a "cool" 10th grader it was a great thing. My quiet "under the radar" children came home feeling good about themselves. Sometimes its just a kind word that will make a child feel good. Unfortunately, bullies will be around forever. Many of those child bullies, end up becoming adult bullies.