Year 3 classroom teacher, Mr Sam Hargreaves, has introduced an innovative welcome routine to his classroom in an effort to curb bullying.
Like many teachers, Mr Hargreaves was inspired by clips of selected students welcoming their peers to their classrooms in a variety of ways. In these classrooms, each student points at a poster to indicate the type of welcome they would like to receive from the chosen student. Options include a high-five, hug, thumbs up and fist-bump.
My new welcome routine eliminates that nervous waiting period and gets the bullying completed as the students enter the classroom so they can get on with learning.
Mr Hargreaves adapted this idea for his cohort of students. ‘Bullying has been a big problem this year,’ said Mr Hargreaves. ‘Students were struggling to learn as they were worried about when they would be targeted by the classroom bully. My new welcome routine eliminates that nervous waiting period and gets the bullying completed as the students enter the classroom so they can get on with learning.’
Mr Hargreaves’ routine involves the bully positioning himself by the classroom entrance each morning. Before entering the classroom, each student points at a poster to select the ‘welcome’ they will receive from the bully. Options include a dead-arm, wet-willy, wedgie, put-downs about family members, name-calling and tripping. The Year 3 teacher explained his questionable thinking, ‘My system allows the bullying to be done and dusted by five minutes past nine. The students are happy as they can then get on with learning. The bully is happy as he’s been the focus for five minutes. I can’t see a problem with it.’ Many parents, however, can.
While school data shows that learning has increased 17% within the classroom since Mr Hargreaves began the routine, alarmingly another data set has increased substantially: lateness. Student lateness has risen 78% with children obviously avoiding the morning ‘welcome’ from the classroom bully; with their parents’ permission. ‘That is an issue,’ said Mr Hargreaves, ‘but conversely the bully used to be late every second day but since we started this routine he’s been persistently early.’
That is an issue,’ said Mr Hargreaves, ‘but conversely the bully used to be late every second day but since we started this routine he’s been persistently early.
Upon hearing of the practice, assistant principal Ms Ruth Horan, put an immediate stop to it. ‘I asked Sam if he’d like me to meet him as he exits his car each morning. He could choose if I questioned his masculinity, let down his car tyres or physically assaulted him. He agreed to cease the practice.’