I have to start by saying that I absolutely LOVE teaching 5th grade. I love the age group and how much I able to do with them. They are still “kids”, but they are coming into their own, and finding out what they are good at, what they like, and they’re just FUN to talk too. We talk movies, sports, and just things going on in the news and world. However, with this age group, sometimes part of my job is also dealing with the “meanness”. This was part of what I had to deal with this morning.
Right at the start of my day, I had three of my students come to me before the bell rang to tell me that another student in my room was being really mean through text and snapchat. Calling one girl fat and ugly, and teasing one of her other “friends” for hanging out with two other friends because of the color of their skin and telling her she needs to choice, us or them.
Ugh. I hate this. I hate that I try so hard to teach my students to be kind, consideratea nd respectful to their peers. We discuss bullying and prejudice and racism. Our class motto is “treat others the way you would want to be treated, yet sometimes it’s just not enough. It’s so disappointing to hear (and see) that one of my students is being really mean and intentionally hurting the feelings of others. The other part that is really tough as an educator as the teasing and bullying is usually done through their cell phones, out of school. This makes it hard for us to deal with it directly in school as we didn’t witness it ourselves.
So, I took 45 minutes of my morning to hold a classroom discussion about being mean,and how we can’t take back the words we say or what we write, even if it disappears after a few seconds, or we delete it, the damage has been done. I STILL remember the times I was teased as a kid and the mean things that were said to me, and I really wish they could all understand that and realize how much their words could affect someone.
I love my job usually and overall I have a class of great kids, but I can’t help that today I’m seeing one of them a “little” differently. I am feeling disappointment and quite honestly, a bit of disgust with her. I am an educator but I’m also a human being, and seeing a girl in tears and seeing the words that were sent to her phone by a friend” broke my heart, and it’s hard to not hope, just a little bit, that this “mean girl” might soon get a taste of her own medicine. “What comes around goes around.”