Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Don't Be a Bully

My adventures in tutoring (challenge no. 21) continue. I've been "permanently and positively enriching the life of a child" since the first week of January, and as I mentioned before, my first student, the beloved M, moved away to a different school. Who knows if I ever got through to her, but I saw giant leaps of progress, both intellectually and behaviorally, over the course of our tumultuous relationship. I came out of it without any physical wounds, so overall the whole thing was a huge success.

After M came J, who is new to the school. She's sweet, quiet without being shy and, for lack of a better word, large. We all know what happens when you're the chubby kid in class. Yesterday during our session I asked her how she was adjusting. Turns out she has only one friend and quite a few bullies. "I don't let them get to me though," she said, but her eyes revealed an obvious sadness.

The moment made me think about the award-laden film "Bully," which opened on March 30th (everywhere April 13th). I have not seen it yet, but the trailer tells me that it's going to make me sad and then angry and then hopeful and then still kind of sad:

I just hope that for J it doesn't get worse. Because from what I can tell, the teachers and parents of a public elementary school filled with transient students on the Lower East Side have other things to worry about.   

As I dropped her back off at her classroom, I took the liberty of having a cheesy Full House end-of-the-episode moment. I told her that "the only way to let the bullies win is to let them affect you. You are so much better than they are. You may not see it now, but you will one day."

Then we high-fived as the music faded out.

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