Is the "bully" term used too widely?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ktdclark, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2012
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 16, 2013

    Just thinking today as a colleague at my school was accused of "bullying" her students when she asked them to stop "being annoying" by doing cartwheels and be respectful to the young adults there to run a P.E. session. These young adults (the accusers) were encouraged to take the issue further by a professor. After a meeting today with our principal who FULLY supported our teacher, the young adults were wished lots of luck in their pursuits to be teachers and asked not to come back to campus. This particular teacher is so far from a bully, but is just strict with her students and their behaviour...

    I have had parents say that their child was being "bullied" all the time and with further investigation, their child was actually an instigator!

    While I think understanding what bullying is and helping kids either face up to, deal with, stand up to or whatever, I am finding that it is a go-to term used for all behaviour! Any thoughts?
     
  2.  
  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    4

    Apr 16, 2013

    Yes, I think people are sometimes called a bully when they've instead been mean, honest (sometimes necessarily), blunt, or just acted like a jerk. Overused.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,601
    Likes Received:
    2,711

    Apr 16, 2013

    I agree.

    I tend to think that it needs to be either ongoing or egregious to qualify as bullying. Simply saying a mean thing or being rude isn't usually egregious and thus shouldn't be classified as bullying unless it starts to happen repeatedly.
     
  5. bison

    bison Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 17, 2013

    Yep, totally agree with all of the above posts. I worry that it will lose its meaning.
     
  6. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 17, 2013

    We actually had a really good training this year that entailed what bullying really is and yes, I think the term is overused. I've had parents complain their child is being bullied because a child said "you can't play with us" or "I'm not inviting you to my birthday party" (this is a common retort even though their birthdays are 10 months away ;)). It's just the way they interact with each other-definitely not bullying.
     
  7. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    467
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 17, 2013

    YES!!!!!!!!!! I had a girl inform me that her mother will be contacting the principal because the child sitting next to her is bullying her constantly. I questioned her as to what the child was doing that would be classified as bullying. Her response, "Well, sometimes, he looks at me during the day." Really?
    Another example, a child approaches me to say they want to report a bullying situation. The child then went on to say that she saw a boy run down the hallway. Really?
    I had a parent approach me to discuss the bullying occurring at recess. The parent said the dark skinned boys were being ball hogs. (Yes, those were the words she used!) This lady's child doesn't even go near the basketball hoop. He has this little game he made up with his friends that they play every single day. They play the game on the other end of the playground from the basketball hoop!!!
    We have had character education and bullying programs of some type almost every day for two years! Trust me when I say they have been taught the definition of bullying!
     
  8. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,942
    Likes Received:
    175

    Apr 17, 2013

    I hear how someone is mean quite often. When asked to explain it I usually get, "she says she is not my friend anymore." I love my school. BUT vigilance is important because it can happen right under your nose because: Many times the kids being bullied will never speak up and the one doing it will surprise you.
     
  9. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    82

    Apr 17, 2013

    This is something I'm dreading having to deal with. I think the intensity and situations change a lot when you get to the older students.

    I never had to deal with bullying in school and to be honest I'm not sure I would have known how to deal with it if I had. I agree with the previous mentions that it seems like bullying overall is over emphasized but then again you can turn on the news every few months and hear about kids who hate going to school or worse because of bullying.

    How do you guys deal with real bullying?(especially the high/middle school teachers here) I know there was bullying going on at the school I student taught in but to be honest I never saw it. It obviously wasn't going on in front of the teachers I guess.
     
  10. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 17, 2013

    Yes, the term is become extensively over-used. This is just another consequence of the "victim mentality" our society seems to have fostered and developed over the last several years.

    Saying something mean, rude, insensitive or even hateful is still not "bullying", unless it is done on a frequent and recurring basis. That doesn't mean these actions should be without consequences, it just means that, by themselves, they don't qualify as "bullying". Using the term so often only diminishes the severity of actual incidents of bullying when they occur.

    As I've mentioned before, I got bullied in school from elementary through high school, mainly because I was smaller and skinnier than most of my classmates. I've had verbal bullying, physical threats and physical bullying. So this something I DO keep a very close watch for in my classes (even when I'm subbing). It is also something I have absolutely NO tolerance for at all. Again, I enforce this even if I'm the sub in the class. I once had two middle school girls make a very rude remark about a third girl in the class. I stopped the lesson and confronted the two girls about the remark immediately. They both looked sheepish and told me they were sorry. I told them "I'M not the one you need to apologize to." They both apologized to the girl.

    It IS very hard to catch bullies in the act. I know from experience just how sneaky they can be. They are very good at doing things when the teachers aren't around or are too busy to see what they are doing. This is especially true with girls, because they often are not as open or direct with their bullying as boys are. So I look for signs that students may be bullying others or may be targets of bullying.
     
  11. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2012
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 17, 2013

    What irked me about this incident was the fact that the complaint came from college-aged students who felt that the teacher was being a "bully"by referring to the kids as "annoying" and were ready to go to our superintendent since they felt the teacher was "labeling" the kids...this poor teacher is the only bread winner in her family of 3 children and has been so stressed over the incident. As she told the girls, a complaint like this could cost her her job!
     
  12. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,788
    Likes Received:
    251

    Apr 17, 2013

    I agree with others, but I also think there are certain labels, diagnoses, issues, etc. du jour which lay folks use. I don't necessarily disagree with Cerek about the victim mentality idea (good to see you posting more frequently again Cerek, by the way :) ), but I'm not sure it has to be that. I think a lot of folks just don't know what bullying is, and use it because that's what they hear everyone else use.

    For example, a lot of schools over the past few years have started using things like "bully boxes" to anonymously report bullying, and have local community organizations (e.g., theatre companies) that will do creative presentations about reporting bullying. So, I can see how kids and adults alike would overgeneralize the behavior. They might just not have a better way of labeling what's going on.

    In terms of the "young adults" in the OP, I would say that sounds to me more of a case of self-righteousness and "know-it-all" behavior, or a case of strongly adhering to a particular value (e.g., always talk nicely to kids) without understanding nuance in some situations.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,392
    Likes Received:
    2,252

    Apr 17, 2013

    I'm trying to determine the reason you included that the teacher was the sole bread winner in her family of 3 children.

    I understand it could cost her job, but if the action from the college students was not warranted, it shouldn't matter if this was an independently wealthy teacher just doing the job because she loves it or if she was a sole bread winner.

    I know adding the information must have had some meaning to you, but I'm really trying to figure out what it was.
     
  14. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    82

    Apr 17, 2013

    I cant believe the college students thought they had any grounds to make a complaint. My school made it clear I was a guest at all the schools I attended while in college. If the teachers didn't want me there then I wouldn't be there.(no matter the reason)

    Those future teachers are in for a hard road if they think that is acceptable.
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,788
    Likes Received:
    251

    Apr 17, 2013

    Mr. history, I've definitely noticed that younger folks today seem to feel a bit more entitled to opinions/giving input much earlier in the process. There seems to be less of a concept of "intern" now than there used to be. Not sure if this is related to larger changes in parenting (e.g., telling kids that they are entitled to whatever their heart desires, promoting questioning authority at all costs).
     
  16. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    82

    Apr 17, 2013

    I definitely agree. I was lucky I guess.
    The program I graduated from was run by a bunch of "old school" professors. If we had tried to pull something like this they probably would have not only kicked us out of the schools we were working in but the teaching program as well.

    I can't imagine being a college student and trying to tell an experienced teacher what they think they should do. I student taught with someone who had 39 years of experience. He would have laughed me out of the building!
     
  17. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,396
    Likes Received:
    4

    Apr 17, 2013

    This.
     
  18. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,886
    Likes Received:
    232

    Apr 17, 2013

    It abslutely is. Now some of my students say their parents bully them.
     
  19. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2012
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 17, 2013



    I included this just a personal FYI on the teacher...she has a LOT on her plate and this just pushed her over the edge. As I mentioned before, our principal was super supportive of her in this situation but nevertheless, it was an added stress on her. I just feel for her. Simple.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,392
    Likes Received:
    2,252

    Apr 17, 2013

    Thanks for clarifying, kdt.
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    6,392
    Likes Received:
    2,252

    Apr 17, 2013


    Let's not forget, this is probably the first group of students that have gone through the bullying prevention lessons for most of their K-12 years where "report, report, report" was the mantra even though they would never do it among their peers because they knew they would constantly be around them and be a target.

    Add that and the idea that anything said that seems to be mean equates to bullying, I expect that when they went back to the professor and told him about the incident, it came out as major bullying because that was their perception based on faulty meaning of the term bullying.

    I'm not justifying what they did, but I can see how they possibly could have come to that conclusion.
     
  22. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,788
    Likes Received:
    251

    Apr 17, 2013

    I agree a2z, and that's a great point. It's interesting to think about the long term effects of some of our programs such as bullying prevention. Not to say that I think "reporting" is a bad idea, but teaching social decision-making is also important. Certainly something to think about.
     
  23. bison

    bison Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 17, 2013

    I think this is a pretty silly generalization. In my credential program, something this ridiculous would likely get you kicked out pretty quickly. We're also taught that we're guests in the classroom, and you're grateful and gracious or you're out. I've never heard of any issues.
     
  24. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,770
    Likes Received:
    1,004

    Apr 17, 2013

    I agree that real bullying cases are ones in which it is almost impossible to catch. I've been teaching here for almost a year and I've never seen a case of bullying yet, but I know it happens. Victims don't speak up and it is done so very clandestinely. Some things I hear about that happened when I was even in the same room make me doubt my skills of observation as a teacher.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 238 (members: 4, guests: 213, robots: 21)
test