With more than one in five students reporting being bullied, it's important that we take action to prevent bullying before it even begins. We know that bullying can seriously impact a student's well-being, as well as their ability to enjoy learning and coming to school. From San Jose to Boston, our AmeriCorps members alongside their partner teachers are participating in National Bullying Prevention Month.
As October draws to a close, we hope our students continue practicing all they've learned to help prevent bullying all year long. Here are few ways teachers and AmeriCorps members can help create safe spaces for students.
Weave Bully Prevention Themes into Lesson Plans
One of the best ways for a student to learn, remember and build their bully prevention skills is to revisit the lessons and themes throughout the school year. When selecting materials for reading lessons, consider books or stories that address bullying. Or, assign research papers or essays related to bullying as well.
Make Sure No One Eats Alone
The week of October 23, Stomp Out Bullying celebrated a week of inclusion. The concept was simple. Do you see someone sitting or eating alone? Ask if you can join them and strike up a friendly conversation. It seems like such a small thing, but it can make a big difference to a student who may be feeling isolated. Lead by example and encourage your students to continue this great habit after Bullying Prevention Awareness Month ends.
Target Bullying Hotspots
Some areas of a school, like the cafeteria or playground, may be a bullying hotspot, simply because there isn't as much adult supervision in those areas. Work with your school administration to develop strategies or activities to help prevent bullying in these areas. Keeping students busy could help limit the access bullies have to unsupervised time with other students.
Organize Regular Classroom Meetings
Make time to come together as a class and discuss non-academic issues students may be facing. Not only will this allow students a forum for voicing concerns, but it helps teachers and AmeriCorps members stay tuned into how their students are feeling. This can help caring adults in the classroom address matters before they become an issue.
Enroll in a Bullying Prevention Training Course
Like all societal issues, bullying isn't going to disappear overnight. If you're interested in learning long-term, community-wide bully prevention strategies that you could support locally, take this free training course offer by stopbullying.gov.
How else are our City Year AmeriCorps members building inclusive and bully-free communities in their schools? Read these stories to find out:
From Drowsy to Driven: An Anecdote of Determination (City Year Jacksonville)
Bullying Prevention Month: Inclusivity (City Year Boston)
Having Conversations to End Name Calling (City Year Chicago)