#blogging4charity – B is for Bullying
Posted by ainemosh
I have been greatly inspired by the blog on Alternative Wiring last month called An Experience With Emotional Bullying. I have had my own experience of bullying several times in my school days and I thought I would write a blog on my first real experience of being bullied at school.
It started when I was 10 years old. A new girl started in our class who was sat next to my best friend of 5 years. We weren’t allowed to choose our seats, the teachers always picked seating arrangements through primary school. I think I had only ever been sat next to this best friend when we were in primary 2 aged 6, though I don’t remember primary 3 and 4 very well (I think I blocked a lot of those two years out because of the dislike for my teacher). So it wasn’t unusual that I wasn’t sat next to my best buddy in class.
What upset me was when I had gone over to say ‘hi’ to my friend and the new girl told me that she was her friend now and told me to get lost. I was angry and upset by these comments as this new girl was rude to me and was trying to steal my best friend from me. I was never a jealous type and I had other good friends in the class and another girl who I classed as a best friend. We already had a number of kids join or leave our class in the 5 years we had been there and never had I felt threatened by someone trying to take a friend from me by blocking my interaction with them.
I can remember the deep hurt I felt. I also remember the anger I had towards her though it seemed I was not the only one she had rubbed up the wrong way. Two other girls in my class had felt similar to me, though I am not sure if they had been told to back off from any specific person in the class like I had. I remember the three of us being isolated from some of the girls in our class who we had grown up with since we were 5 or even before in pre-school.
I recall telling this new girl how much I hated her several times over the next couple of years. She had really divided our class which had once been very close. We didn’t always all get on, but we had felt like a little family, or at least that’s how I had felt. I loved my primary 5 teacher and the fact she encouraged me with my music which I was becoming far more enthusiastic about, but that year was a very turbulent one.
During that year I had felt isolated from my best friend at school who I was basically no longer able to play with at playtime or lunchtime or speak to in the classroom. My mum’s mum died in the spring of that year which is always a traumatic experience especially as it was the first death in my family that I fully understood. It was also a year when many of the kids in my class left our school to go into private education. It was the year when the bullying started.
We moved into primary 6 with a new teacher. I didn’t like this new teacher at all and after having her teach me for 2 years (in primary 7 too), it had gone from dislike to an even greater dislike. In fact, even now 18 years later, she was probably one of my most disliked teachers in school, college and university. I didn’t enjoy being in her class at all.
The bullying got a lot worse at this point too. I don’t think the new teacher took a liking to me either, but the bully was on of the teacher’s pets. The teacher wasn’t very good at hiding who she liked and disliked in the class, we all knew who the favourites were. My best friend who I’d been kept away from had a similar dislike for the teacher. We were now able to talk more freely now she was no longer sitting next to the bully. There were a number of new people who joined the class in primary 6 and 7, none of whom I recall ever having any issues with. This reassured me that it wasn’t me with the problem but that of the bully.
There were a number of tiffs and arguments (the nature of which I don’t recall) both in the classroom and in the playground. I used to come home absolutely miserable. My mum noticed it as did my other best friend who I had become much closer to. My mum bought me a pet hamster to try to cheer me up. Her name was Julia and she was a fantastic companion and great therapy when I came home from school. I would take her out and give her loads of hugs and let her run up and down my sleeves.
It all escalated in primary 6 and my mum went into school to talk to my teacher several times who dismissed there was a problem. It was when I came home from school one day to tell my mum that several kids in my class had circled me one playtime and all kicked me that she went to the deputy head teacher to ask her to step in as my teacher had been useless.
I remember being taken to the side into a different classroom with the people who had kicked me and who had joined the little bullying circle created by the bully. I don’t recall if the two other girls that she had made miserable were with me at this point, though I am sure there must have been a friend with me or someone else who had felt grievances by the bully over the two years she had been in the class. I think my teacher and the deputy head were both in this discussion.
After the intervention, we finally put our differences aside and things started to change. I even remember attending one of her birthday parties either that year or the year after for a sleepover. We never became close friends, but at least after the intervention the bullying stopped. Perhaps if the teacher had listened to my mum’s concerns before things had escalated the problem could have been resolved at a far earlier stage.
The deputy head teacher often would check up on me to see how I was getting on after that until I left for high school. She was a wonderful lady who I remember very fondly and with great respect for.
This was my first real experience of bullying at school. It left a very bitter taste in my mouth and it made me far less trusting of new people and of teachers. I’m just glad that I had some really good friends who stood by me through the awful experience and that my mum backed my corner and raised the issue with the school so it could be dealt with properly. I am glad that there were no mobile phones or the same access to the internet as there are these days. I can only imagine how horrific it must be for those who face cyber bullying from peers at school.
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