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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

#Defusebullying - Part 5: The tiny moments

Updated: Mar 20

It is a tiny moment:

A child takes a crayon - not the whole pack - just a crayon, from another child. (They never return it.)

It is a tiny moment:

A colleague who knows well what your name and role is, “forgets” your job title momentarily when they introduce you to a new parent. (They give you no time to speak or correct the mistake.)

It is a tiny moment:

Your colleagues approve, organise and run an event, without inviting you to it. (Your throat catches when parents are calling asking why they can’t find you there.)

It is a tiny moment:

A small but vital instruction is given in another language that you do not speak. (And then you are criticised for doing something different to the rest of the group.)

It is a tiny moment:

Presenting at an event with colleagues, they take photos of each other in action (but not you).

It is a tiny moment:

That detail in your message ignored. (That part you highlighted.)

It is a tiny moment:

To leave without saying goodbye. (Again. And again.)

Tiny moments.

Like these.

Too small to report, right?

Yet all of them are flashes of a siren, as yet not a loud one.


The more frequent these flashes, the bigger the problem.

It is wise to notice such flashes.

Because if we don’t, the flashes will not just be visible, but they will be loud.

Very loud.

And once a flash turns into a siren, it can be very difficult to find the off switch - if one exists. 🚨

P.S. I am not for just calling out problems - I prefer solutions and efficacy. In these instances, the solution is obvious: more consideration. More kindness. More inclusion. That can often only be trained into the child from the very first example. Caught early enough, it would never transpire into the examples with adults that follow.

Getting to unblock the root cause of negative behaviour in a child is more effective than doing so with an adult. Especially if said adult has emphasised they feel there’s nothing they’ve done wrong. (Huge red flag.)

Embedding values into a child’s learning and talking through the reasons why they felt it was ok to take someone else’s belongings without asking is one way to begin. Steven Covey’s guidebook for values in schools, “The Leader in Me”, can help with this. Noticing flashes of a siren before it sounds an alarm, and intervening to repair the cuts and frays is another way.

Yet for adults, time and again I’ve seen that the only real learning and behavioural change in an individual happens when a tangible consequence occurs as a result of negative behaviours. An adult unwilling to admit they’ve done something unkind, let alone apologise, should set off sirens like there’s a building on fire.

💬If you’ve experienced anything like this, and found your way through, I’m all ears, and I know other teachers who need to hear it too - I welcome your thoughts and invite you to share. 🌱

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