Bullying is a major problem among school-age kids, but one teacher’s simple method could be a huge step towards stopping the bullying cycle in its tracks.
Her method of keeping tabs is so simple, it’s amazing that no one else has come up with it yet.
Every Friday, Kathy hands out index cards to her students and tells them to anonymously write down the names of kids they would like to get to know better, or which kids they feel closest to or want to spend more time with. She also asks them to nominate a student whom they find exceptional for any reason.
This simple process of elimination shows Kathy which students are not doing as well socially as others.
“When I first came up with the idea of handing the index cards out, it really was to find out which children were belonging and which were not.”
Each week some kids write down the same names, some write down different names all the time, and others write nothing at all. All of these submissions provide the teacher with invaluable information regarding the mental state of her students.
When a student’s name seldom pops up on the cards, it’s a cue that Kathy needs to monitor that child more closely than others.
Writer and mom of three, Glennon Doyle Melton, met with Kathy to learn how to do the math herself so that she could help her son with his homework. That’s when she found out about Kathy’s ingenious strategy.
Glennon immediately went home to write about this technique on her blog, Momastery. The story instantly resonated with parents across the internet.
“She told me she’s been doing this every Friday since Columbine because that was the day she realized that kids have to be seen — all of them — or else they can fall through the cracks,” Glennon said. “And if they’re not seen, they’ll find a way to be seen.”
Glennon also stated:
“This story isn’t just about teachers and kids. This story is about the beauty that happens when we go through our day and we notice people who might not get noticed.”
Kathy says that her main reason for continuing with the index card program is that she wants the kids to get along better and become a tight community. “I hope that’s the message they get,” Kathy said. “I care about you, I want you to care about each other.”
Since starting the index card program, Kathy reports that bullying in her classroom has pretty much stopped because the kids see each other as friends, not adversaries. She hopes that Glennon sharing this tactic with other teachers might encourage them to try it out with their students.
What a simple way to increase kindness and compassion in children at a young age! Please share this story to spread the word and encourage kids to bully less, love more.