Instigating Annie – What About The Bully?

Once upon a time, many years ago, I taught grd 6’s in a primary school. This I did, for 7 glorious years. I learnt so much in this time. The syllabii and ever- changing teaching models taught me things.My peers taught me things. The parents of the kids in the school taught me things. But, most importantly, the kids taught me things.

At the parent-teachers meeting at the beginning  of each year, I would make this statement,”If your kid walks out my door at the end of the year with good marks, that’s cool! However, more importantly to me is this: IF YOUR KID WALKS OUT OF MY CLASSROOM WITH RENEWED CONFIDENCE AND THE SELF-BELIEF THAT THEY CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING THEY SET THEIR MINDS TO ACHIEVING, THAT’S WORTH MORE THAN AN A -AVERAGE TO ME!” When heads tilted of a few parents trying to digest what I had said, I would cement my statement with the following;” A HAPPY KID, A CONFIDENT KID IS TEACHABLE. IF THEY REACH THEIR POTENTIAL, THAT’S FIRST PRIZE!” I would end off the meeting by saying,”I promise not to believe everything your kid says about you guys if you promise not believe everything they say about me.” Some folks would laugh and others would probably think,”O my goodness! Our kid’s teacher is weird.”

So let me continue with the purpose of this post. Teachers get to see how different kids behave. If the parents had to walk around the playground at break time, their eyeballs would pop out! You see many things. The kids who don’t care about eating; just playing ball games. You get kids who just run around! You get the little groups quietly sitting in a circle, eating their packed lunches. You get kids standing with a R50 note, waiting in the line to buy their tucks shop lunches. You get the kids waiting around the tucks shop line, ready to bum some food from their friend:) You get kids reading a book quietly (hoping the bell to end break time, would ring). You get kids who hide out in the library or bathrooms as they don’t have any friends. You get kids who walk around afraid of being picked on, talked about or hurt. You get kids who dominate others by instilling fear in them. They are sneaky and are able to create a destructive scenario without being seen. The group that follows them walk in fear. The kids who try to get away walk in fear.

I want to talk about that kid: THE BULLY

A quick story: I noticed a child in my class(call him Mike) was not himself for a few days. I asked him before break time one day,”Mike, are you alright? You seem sad and not yourself. Is there something bothering you?”  His response was,” Miss M. There is a guy who is making fun of me, all the kids are laughing and I am very upset and scared about it.” My response was,” Mike, I would like to help you. What that boy is doing is wrong. I am going to call him (let’s say Phil) to my classroom and I am going to position two chairs in front of each other. You are going to welcome him in and show him to his seat. I am going to sit at my desk, pretend to be marking my books, overseeing the proceedings. You are going to sit down in front of Phil and ask him why he gets pleasure out of seeing people in pain.” And so the bell rang for break, Phil knocked on my classroom door, Mike opened it and asked Phil to sit down. I said,”Howzit Phil. Don’t mind me. I am marking some work, but Mike wants to ask you something.” Mike sat down and asked,”Phil, I want to know why you get pleasure in hurting me and making fun of me? Why do you want everyone else to also laugh at me and make fun of me?” There was a nervous silence as Phil could not answer that question. Mike proceeded to say,”Please stop doing it!” And Phil stopped making fun of Mike.

Now, this is where I should have done more for Phil. Other than say,”Phil. I will gladly mark my books on a Friday and you can sit in detention every Friday if you proceed to bully others?”.I should have tried to help Phil, the bully more! I should have listened to his life story more. I should have tried to understand why he gets pleasure out of hurting others? I feel bad about that! I can make a 1000 excuses. Bottom line. Phil was not born a bully. Something happened in his life to cause him to put a lock and chain around his heart; to redirect attention to others; to hurt others to make himself feel better. I am not a psychologist, but I am sure they have the answers.

I am not condoning the behaviour of a bully. What they do is wrong! I am saying that the schools, in general, need to come alongside these bullies even more to help them with their anger issues, help them find the keys to unlock the chain around their hearts and help them love themselves so that they can let others love them too.

I wrote this poem for bullies. I hope bullies find the keys. I hope bullies realise that God made them and that He has a plan and purpose for their lives.

The poem is entitled INSTIGATING ANNIE:

Love Tam x


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