Adult bullies…

Dennis

Bullies come in all sizes and roles. There are playground bullies, cyber bullies, and  even faculty-meeting bullies.

When I was young someone older told me that the best way to deal with bullies was to stand up to them.

While that advice isn’t relevant for all types of bullying, it does apply to faculty meeting bullies. Someone standing up to him or her—one-to-one or in a group setting—is often all that’s required to end the bullying, or at least to blunt it.

Standing up to a bully, no matter the age of the bully, requires the exercise of courage in the face of our fear.

But fear is not a sufficient reason to allow bullies to destroy what others have worked hard to create—supportive relationships, teamwork, and improved teaching and learning.

Each of us has the capacity to act with courage in the face of destructive forces although it is seldom an easy thing to do.

It helps to prepare by becoming clear about what you want to say and when and where you want to say it. It’s also important to rehearse in a safe environment, perhaps with a trusted colleague, and to be ready for the emotional escalation some bullies apply to ensure they get their way.

Fortunately, each time we practice courage—like exercising a muscle—we become a bit stronger and more confident in future situations.

Unfortunately, it is likely that life will give you many opportunities to practice such courage in both professional and personal settings.

2 Responses to “Adult bullies…”


  1. 1 Jamie September 16, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Dennis, You’re so right about it taking courage to stand up to bullying in a faculty meeting. I’d like to add that the presence of a strong principal who creates a safe space for these courageous conversations to happen is equally essential. When the teacher who stands up to the bully knows that his/her principal will support an open and honest exchange it can fuel their courage.

    • 2 Dennis Sparks September 16, 2015 at 8:15 am

      I appreciate you important addition to this post, Jamie. Principals shape school cultures, and school cultures determine to a large degree the behavior that occurs within school communities.


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