I have mentioned Brother Ali in a “favorite find” post, and his songs still give me shivers when I listen closely to the lyrics. They are true poetry! The most recent song that caught my attention is called “Pray for Me” – it came on shuffle a few days ago, and it is about the impact of bullying. The first verse is so powerful and relevant in my line of work as a teacher. He says
The first day of third grade. Topic of discussion is who’s the new student? Why he look that way? A eight year old expert determined I’ve got AIDS. A vote must’ve been taken, it became my name..I heard a teacher try to catch herself as she yelled it at me. I tried to be invisible honestly. Wishing that the ground would just open up, swallow me.
The visual that I am able to create while listening is incredible. It pulled at my hearts strings. Kids are mean from day one if schools and guardians let them.
This can be prevented sometimes, but also bullies are everywhere – as a teacher, I think it is crucial to give children the opportunities to speak up to the bullies and learn to love themselves. Many school programs only teach about telling an adult, which can have repercussions (adding “tattle tale” to the teasing). Social emotional learning is a newer curriculum that gives children different routes for problem solving (e.g. walking away, confronting, or breathing techniques to calm down) It also allows for open discussions and builds a more positive outlook around handling an unfair situation.