In addition to teaching kids the core curriculum, it’s an unfortunate fact that teachers also must manage the bullying that goes on in their classrooms. Back in 2014, mom Glennon Doyle Melton shared her then fifth-grade son’s teacher’s strategy for instilling kindness in her students.
Veteran teacher Kathy Pitt explained that she passes out index cards to each student, and asks them to write the names of kids they want to get to know, as well as to nominate an exceptional classmate. The process is all done by secret ballot.
Pitt says that in this way, by noting which students’ names don’t show up often on the cards, she can determine which students are likely to be left out or be the target of bullying. Then she knows that she should pay special attention to these students to head off any problems.
Melton took to her blog to share Pitt’s brilliant strategy, writing: “As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children — I think that this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students.” Her post was eventually shared more than 4 million times.
And the experts agree close monitoring of students and their behavior is a key aspect of bullying prevention.
Stopbullying.gov recommends teachers be on the lookout for bullying in and out of the classroom:
“Make sure students interact safely. Monitor bullying ‘hot spots’ in and around the building. Students may be at higher risk of bullying in settings where there is little to no adult monitoring or supervision, such as bathrooms, playgrounds and the cafeteria.”
The organization also recommends that all staff, not just teachers, play a party in bullying prevention. Other tips include creating and enforcing ground rules for classroom behavior and holding classroom meetings where students can talk about issues that are affecting them.