[#defusebullying] I read a powerful short piece by a talented writer, Dvora Phillip, on LinkedIn recently. She wrote of a child who was hiding themselves under a cloak in the corner of the classroom. This is my take on the story:
Despite being asked to stop, the child continues to hide themselves under a cloak.
Their behaviour becomes intolerable.
Probably words like 'disciplinary action', 'needs social skills', 'behavioural issues', are thrown around.
You know, to correct the behaviour.
If someone had asked around and checked, they would have found this:
1️⃣That the child had a pristine behavioural and academic performance up to this point.
2️⃣That the child had reported cases of bullying in the form of name-calling and exclusion, but had been dismissed.
There is always a root cause to behavioural problems. It is a job and a half to get to that root. It is not easy. It was the hardest thing I ever did when I was teaching little ones, because it is dark. Staff rooms have figurative cloaks that good teachers sometimes flee and hide under too. Those experiences and this story remind me to query a few things:
Did I take a look from another angle to see the full context? Did I consider behaviour over time? Why would an otherwise perfectly well behaved child be acting out?
'Follow the footprints’ springs to mind for me here.
What springs to your mind?
To read the original piece by Dvora Phillip, head over here - she writes it in her voice, beautifully:
P.S. This post was a test. I always feel if I can recount a story accurately in my own words, I’ve learned something from it. I have circled back to this one several times since I read it. It’s the kind of story that will help me be more patient and empathetic. And I've memorised it now - thank you Dvora Phillip. 🙏🏼