So today is the day! Thanks for joining the bloghop as we speak out against bullying!
I called the last post Perfect Timing, meaning that it was great that I had found the link for this idea at the same time our school was celebrating No-Name Calling Week. But maybe I should have used that same name again today, as we had another great conversation about what’s been going on with bullies in our classroom.
First, though, a reminder of what happened a few weeks ago.
After that conversation, we made these for our school’s KROB news broadcast to promote No-Name Calling Week:
Dominic tells about a time when he was picked on for his size.
Doniya says she’s sorry for what she’s done.
Kelsey comes clean and apologizes.
Taylor speaks her mind about bullying.
Lauren and Molli talk about the changes that can happen when friends talk and problem solve together.
So, today, as we have for the last few weeks during our class meetings, we came back to the topic of respect and bullying and how we’ve been doing with this. It seems that all is not perfect in our 5th grade world. While many in our class wanted to believe that one meeting could change things forever, today we had more concerns bubble up related to how some of us have been speaking to each other in a less than respectful way.
I kind of have a love-hate relationship with this topic lately–I love that they are willing to continue to come back to the table (er, carpet) to talk about it, but I hate that they have to. I, like many friends in my room, wish it was as easy as saying once that we’ll all change our ways and be friends forever. Obviously, though, it’s not that simple, and it’s something we’ll continue to work on all year together.
Our meeting was pretty intense at times today, with questions and concerns coming up about some of the same things we dealt with at our first big meeting. In the end, there were several one-on-one conversations that sparked from it, and we had to just agree to change some pretty big things in the way we deal with our classmates.
As our closing circle, I asked the class to tell me what they would take away from our class meeting today. I was glad they said what they said; I think they’re reflective like me: at the moment it may not seem like they’ve “gotten” it, but after they have some alone time to process, they come up with some pretty great stuff! Here’s what they said they learned from our conversation today:
- I learned we dwell on the past. (Many people mentioned things that had been done to them weeks ago, rather than today or this week. They were holding on to things that had already been apologized for or that were no longer being done to them. Many of us were holding grudges and not believing that certain people were changing.)
- I learned that we should assume positive intent. (I taught them this phrase last week, as a way to work together in a more positive way. It’s a norm that the teachers in our school work under, and is based on the idea that if we assume that our friends have positive intentions–even if they look or sound like they’re being mean or ugly–we can often avoid problems or confrontations. We can, after all, only control our own actions, not the actions of others. We should give our friends the benefit of the doubt, not always assuming that they’re trying to be mean. Maybe they’re just having a bad day.)
- I learned that we should say something when someone does something we don’t like, instead of just ignoring it. (Today lots of kids mentioned that they were fed up that others continued to annoy them or do mean things, and they admitted that rather than tell that person to stop, they had continued to let it happen, or responded in an equally mean way. Eventually, when they were really mad, they’d tell the teacher or bring it up in a class meeting, rather than dealing with it immediately.)
- I learned that just because someone’s saying my name doesn’t mean they’re saying bad things about me–it might even be a compliment. (Maybe–just maybe–they’re laughing about something completely unrelated to you.)
- I learned that if someone comes to me and tells me that my friend said something about me, I should go to my friend and find out about it instead of just being mad or doing something mean back. (Getting the truth out and finding out what really happens helps to clear up misunderstandings. This is soo much better than being mad at your best friend for what ends up being no reason.)
I can’t decide if I like that class meetings are on Fridays or not. Sometimes I wish that they could come back the very next day and start working again on getting along and fixing the problems we discussed at our meeting. But at the same time, I appreciate the space that is afforded us by the weekend. Being allowed to talk about issues and work through them together, and then have some time (and space away from each other) to continue to think about it on our own before we come back together helps us to be ready to act differently once we see each other again. Kind of like the “time heals all wounds” idea, a topic that was really hot on Friday can simmer down a little by Monday so we can better respond–rather than react–the very next day.
I love this group of kids I work with this year. They have their struggles (but what group of people who spends 8 hours everyday closely together doesn’t?), but they are still so willing to work through them. Deep down they really just want to get along, and they try so hard to figure out how to make that happen. Even though it’s hard and messy, and sometimes it seems like we’ll never get there, so far we’ve come to some better understandings of each other. I hope that the lessons we’re learning about relationships this year are ones that will stick with them long after they leave the safety of our Rm. 201 community.
So now it’s your turn: tell us what you think about our life lessons. Or tell us about a life lesson you’ve learned lately. Do you have any advice for us about how to work together or how to work through a conflict? What advice do you have for us as we tackle bullying head-on? We’ve love to hear from you!