- Make it a personal policy to care as much about the social/emotional development of your students as you do about their academic achievement.
- Talk about feelings. An emotional check-in at the beginning of each day helps children learn to recognize how they are feeling as well as empathize with others who are feeling sad or uncomfortable in some way.
- At the beginning of each year create a social contract with your class. Have the students offer suggestions as to how the class will function as a group. Included should be listening to each other without judgment, respecting everyone, letting everyone’s opinion count, no name-calling, no ridiculing, no excluding people, no gossiping or spreading rumors.
- Establish clear and concise rules of behavior along with fair consequences for failing to follow the rules. Be consistent.
- Be familiar with your school’s anti-bullying policy.
- Work with other teachers, administrators, and staff to create anti-bullying programs on classroom and building levels.
- Be a trusted adult. Encourage your students to come to you with problems, either academic or social/emotional. Unless abuse is reported, maintain their confidentiality when it is asked for.
- Listen actively to their stories. Take their feelings seriously.
- Establish procedures for reporting bullying behavior anonymously.
- Don’t disregard any reports of bullying. Investigate. Speak to those directly invovled, but not necessarily at the same time. People feel threatened or uncomfortable and may not talk in situations where they are put together with others involved in the conflict.
- Document all bullying incidents.
- Set aside time periodically to discuss bullying. Initiate a discussion of social media and the responsibilities that come with having access to electronic communication devices.
Throughout this toolkit you will find suggestions for creating physical, social, emotional, and moral safety in school.