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A Teacher’s Perspective: Bullying Interview Series (Part 1)

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IPC had the opportunity to interview small-294d12b300000578-3107815-teenage_bullying_may_be_responsible_for_up_to_a_third_of_cases_o-a-1_1433284234756Penny Golden who received her Bachelors from DePauw University, U.S.A. and her Master’s in Education from the University of Southern California, U.S.A. Penny has over 30 years of experience as a teacher and leader in education, with specializations in the teaching of Math as well as Special Education. She is now retired and lives in West Virginia, USA.



bullying-1Tugba: Hi Penny, thank you very much for taking the time and giving IPC this exclusive interview. From your experience as a veteran in teaching, what are some of the key challenges you think parents and children face in schools today?
Penny: It is my pleasure and I am delighted about this opportunity. The biggest challenge is bullying.



small-bullying-3Tugba: What leads you to say that the biggest issue is bullying?
Penny: In the old days, kids would make fun of each other and name call etc. and that still goes on, but I think now-a-days it’s more intense and kids now have the internet, and as kids get older and have cell phones and social media ready at their disposal, you end up with the bullying being done via email, Facebook, snapchat (particularly because snapchat is easier to erase). Kids are taking pictures and making fun of each other and broadcasting it all over.


small-o-bully-child-facebookTugba: So how does this impact the children’s development?
Penny: Well, as a teacher you see that the bullying hurts children’s self esteem and kids feel ostracized. Kids can be really mean to each other anyway, but the bullying can focus on how kids walk, how they talk, family and religious backgrounds. And as they get older the bullying sometimes gets so bad that kids can actually commit suicide.


small-120906054119-autism-kids-bullies-horizontal-large-galleryTugba: So it can lead to a sense of hopelessness or a serious mental health problem?
Penny: It can, and parents often try to work with the schools and often kids don’t tell their parents this is happening so you end up with kids not wanting to go to school, kids becoming withdrawn and parents aren’t sometimes aware of how depressed the kids are and what’s happening with them.



Father comforts a sad child. Problems in the familyTugba: How can parents be positive and proactive to support their children?
Penny: I think parents have to positively build their child’s self-esteem, develop communication skills, where the child will talk to their parents about what’s going on. Often children need to talk about their problems so part of what children need to learn is how to develop empathy.
Kids need to be told stories about children that are being bullied and stories about kids being different and that it’s ok to be different. Children should also have exposure to different kids. Kids often pattern what they hear, if they hear their parents putting down other adults or making comments about people they see in public, kids often emulate this type of behavior projected by their parents.



childhood-bullyingTugba: If a parent came to learn that their child was being bullied, what would you recommend them to do?
Penny: Work with the school. The school needs to know. I know in the past week now when I had kids that were bullied most of them were the bright kids in the classroom. The kids are smart enough not to say anything when the teacher is within an earshot.



small-2013-03-05-shutterstock_108383702Tugba: So what can teachers do to have a positive and preventative approach about bullying?
Penny: It needs to be approached in school; the kids have to be taught about bullying and how it is unacceptable behavior. They need to be taught in curriculum what the dangers of bullying are and how to accept each other as different unique human beings.


lettherightonein_3109386bTugba: Ok, thank you for your time Penny, looking forward to our follow up interviews where we can explore more about the preventative measures of bullying.
Penny: Thank you.


Stay Tuned for the next session in the series on bullying where we explore: 
1. — How to build positive self-esteem in children
2. — Empathy

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