How to Beat a Bully


I sat at a meeting of my friends and colleagues the other day.  We met outside of school on a gorgeous day, the children of my colleagues playing a few feet away.  We discussed everything from how our vacations were going, to what we are going to do when school starts to commemorate my friend and fellow teacher who was killed last week. But when that was over, we got down to the meat of the meeting, what were we going to do this coming year with all the new changes that we are being forced to swallow.

We, like most districts out there, had a horrible year last year. It was the most demoralizing year of my career. I have never seen so many teachers in tears and upset. But this is will be worse for us, since now we get to see the effects of the cuts made last year. The one that will have the biggest effect for us a group will be the elimination of our science lead teacher position.Our lead teacher was amazing. When asked for a list of her responsibilities last year. She came up with a list three pages long – just off the top of her head.

The administration’s answer? The rest of us can pick up the slack left by the gaping hole in the side of our ship. We can act as bilge pumps  to keep the science teaching going on top of our already overbooked schedule.

Here it is, three weeks from the start of school, and our administration has not given us a straight answer on how they plan on running school this year with regard to any of the new teaching testing standards, let alone how we are going to run the day to day business in our department.

Why do I feel leaderless? It’s because it seems that our administration has taken on the role of the school bully.  They walk down the hall and everyone scurries like rats out of their way.

Must not upset them, they might give me a swirly in the bathroom. Or call me out in front of the cafeteria. They could beat me up and then where would I be? Alone and without friends because no one wants to be seen with me.

There has been and will always only be one way to deal with a bully.

Call them out on it.

Take a stand.

We watch movie after movie where the underdog gets the crap beat out of them when they do this. But then we root for the group as they finally work together to defeat the corruption.

And that is what is taking over all of education, corruption in search of the almighty dollar.

Remember.  It’s about the money, stupid.

At my meeting, I said we should not take on any of the responsibilities because we will set a precedent. Those responsibilities will become a permanent part of our job – and the bully shall win.

What did I get for saying what I said?

Mostly silence and averted eyes.

Silence is acceptance, and that’s what a bully wants to hear…

But not all the eyes were averted,

and more importantly,

not everyone was silent.

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