Bullying.

Honestly I should have done a post on this a long time ago. It’s about time I tell all of you about my high school days.

High school is when I first found out about NEWS. It’s when I met a girl at girl scout camp who told me to read manga and gave me a list of a few to check out. It’s when I was the youngest person in my school’s (admittedly short) history to receive the Theatre Award for my lead role as a freshman. It’s where my friends and I would sit at the lunch table debating which of us should own Taiwan once we all became world leaders.

But high school is also when I locked myself in the bathroom during lunch. When I cried openly in class because two girls I was partnered with for a project kicked me off the day it was due. When I learned that my ‘friends’ actually hated me and ignored everything I said. It’s when I called my mom to come pick me up from my sleepover and take me home because I decided I wasn’t going to waste my time with people who didn’t even look at me anymore.

I did not have the best time in high school. Far from it. I hated (and was hated by) most of the people in my tiny graduating class of 54, and I rarely got along with my teachers. I loved Theatre and never missed a play. If I wasn’t in one, I was doing the make up backstage for those who were.

My group of friends radically changed when I was a junior and senior. My school is a magnet school that only allowed 60 students in each grade, K-12. I entered the first year it was opened, and we all were placed by a lottery. Now we have a test to get it, but when I applied, they used our standardized middle school test scores and only took the top scoring students.

This makes me sound like some kind of genius, but honestly those tests are extremely easy in my home state, and I was close to the dumbest kid in my class most of the time.

Anyway, I did not have the best time with school. I loved learning, and I spent most of my time in the library reading or studying, but I didn’t like studying the things they made me study. I loved English class, but only one of my English teachers really made me feel like I was a good student. And although I love languages, taking Spanish, Latin, and French at my school was boring and pointless.

I didn’t see the point in studying subjects that I knew I would never use. I made bad grades in chemistry mainly because I didn’t like it enough to study. I made good grades in my college science and math classes, mostly because I had good teachers, but also because I actually enjoyed learning the things presented. In my college math class, we learned how to calculate taxes. Why do we study how to measure the angle of a triangle in high school when we have people who don’t go to college and end up becoming adults who can’t even do their taxes?

After school, I practiced Forensics (speaking and acting team) or read books until my parents picked me up. But as soon as I got my license, I was usually the first one out of the parking lot.

I think a lot of the bullying (name calling, ostrisazation, whatever you want to classify it as) that happened in my school could have been avoided by teachers being more perceptive or willing to take action. I mean, my teachers ignored my classmates picking on me and a few other people, when they could have dealt with the situation.

I understand that a) some to most teachers see these things as a distraction, and leave it for the students to deal with in order to teach their lesson and b) that calling out every student for misbehaving is pointless because some do it for attention.

And I do realize that I was in an academic high school, where they expected us to be little adults and learn how to fend for ourselves. But I didn’t learn how to do that until college because I was too busy hiding from people by shoving my nose in a book. Not that book reading is an antisocial process. Far from it. However, I didn’t discuss books with people (save for Harry Potter) until my college days.

Now, however, I teach at a middle school and four elementary schools. I think our students definitely need help learning how to communicate with one another. Can we at least agree that if three other teachers in the room with me see a kid smack another student on the head as hard as he can, they should kind of, you know, do something about it?

I was also slapped in the face by a student, and another squeezed me by the arms so hard that it left me rubbing them for a good fifteen minutes. In Japan, students are supposed to be taught that anyone even a year older than you is to be respected. We even have keigo, a polite speech form that we are supposed to use if someone is in a higher position or is older than us.

And yet my teachers watched these things happen, as well as many many other cases of students hitting, tackling, kicking each other, etc. And I know this doesn’t just happen in my school or city. My fellow ALT in another part of Japan was locked in a room by her students.

Teachers should feel responsible for making students sit down, be quiet when others are talking, and  making them learn how to be respectful even when they are upset. I mean, I get it. Puberty and all that. But, come on.

In other news, I printed out another five chapters of my book to edit this weekend. I now have the first two chapters revised and printed, along with the first draft of 3-10. Ten whole chapters on paper.

I would have printed out all 30, and I might print the rest next week, but I either have to pay for printing myself at the convenience store or wait until I have free time at school.

I bought the new Tegomasu album this week, and I will do a review of the songs and DVD this weekend. I am still waiting for some books to come in the mail. So get ready for some less rant-type, more culture related posts!

I also saw a movie last night that I will review. Lots of updates for you all! Have a fantastic weekend!

Applying for grad school lately has been giving me a headache, but I can tell you why later on.

Thanks for all the amazing support and comments lately! I love hearing what all of you think of my posts.

I want to know what you think about bullying/education in terms of what role educators should play. Let me know!

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2 thoughts to “Bullying.”

  1. Wow. I know you told me about all this before – minus the Japan one – but still. It’s hard for me to really imagine what bullying is like, probably because I haven’t experienced it nor actually seen it being done.

    And, speaking of the latter, it actually makes me wonder how it is done over here – I’m pretty sure there is, since my little brother experienced it after all. It makes me want to ask my friend who’s a teacher now too, what she thinks of it.

    As for me, I do agree that teachers should step in when bullying goes on. A lesson can be taught without someone getting hurt, I believe. And really, which lesson are you teaching the bullied one if you let it go on? That s/he should just passively take abuse? And the bully learns that s/he can get away with giving abuse? The real question is, IS there a ‘good’ lesson from bullying and letting bullying happen?

    On a side note, I hope you manage well enough with your kids. They seem rather… let’s say, difficult to handle, at times? >.<

    Hang in there!

    1. Thanks!! It’s so interesting to see people who haven’t experienced bullying. I think it makes me want to talk about my experiences more. I just think we can really prevent a lot of things that happen in our society if we start with teaching students how to interact with each other without violence or hatred.

      Yes, you are right on the money, there. Doing nothing teaches bullied kids to stay quiet and bullies to keep it up.

      Thanks for the encouragement!

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