8 Ways teachers can stop bullying

Bullying is common issue for parents and teachers. Very often teachers are in the best position to mediate the situation and facilitate an intervention.  It’s important to understand why children become bullies and how you, as a teacher can help. Educational Psychologist Marinda Botha explains.

Reasons children become bullies
Bullies are often bullied themselves or going through a difficult time at home. They operate from a desire for social power, poor self-esteem or feelings of insecurity.  Common causes of bullying behaviour include:

Children feeling powerless in their own lives and trying to gain power over others. 
The family is going through difficult life issues such as divorce, abuse or other forms of trauma. 

It might be that your student is also being bullied or has a poor self-esteem. 
It’s also important to remember that bullying is not just physical but can be emotional, social or sexual. For a boarder definition and signs a child is being bullied, read about it here

How teachers can help
1. Don’t ignore bullying behaviour. It is important to stop it as soon as possible. It is the school’s responsibility. 
2. Follow the anti-bullying policy of your school.
3. If you don’t have an anti-bullying policy, get one. Download the Bullying Workbook from the Department of Education for a template of an anti-bullying policy or download this example of an anti-bullying policy and change it to fit your school’s needs. 
4. Understand that both the bully and victim need support.
5. Get all the necessary role-players involved. If you have a school counselor use him/her to assist you.
6. Get both the bully and victim’s parents involved. They do not have to meet together, but everyone should be aware of the situation and the steps that need to follow. If they want to meet, you have to stay the objective mediator.
7. Make your classroom a no bully zone. 
8. Create awareness throughout the school about what is seen as bullying behaviour, why it is wrong and how it will be dealt with by the school.

Here some helpful facts and tips about bullying

  • The bullies are not always physically bigger.
  • Boys and girls are equally at risk to be bullied or to become bullies.
  • Bullies often have low self-esteem, poor social skills and are feeling depressed or anxious.
  • Bullies are feeling powerless in their own lives.
  • Both the victim and bully should receive some form of support or counselling.
  • Always listen to your child if they report themselves or someone else being bullied.
  • Reassure your child that the problem lies with the bully and not with them.
  • Even good people can be bullies at times because of personal issues they go through.

If your child is the one bullying others, you might want to read our article on how to stop the behavior...