Information for Preteens:
My Classmate's a BULLY!
A Personal Experience
Going to middle school is supposed to be fun. You get to do activities that you didn't have in elementary school (like joining clubs or sport teams), meet new people, learn interesting things that you didn't know before 6th grade, and much more.
But sometimes middle school life can be hard too. Like, just because you meet new people doesn't mean that they always become your friends. Some of them may turn out to be bullies instead. That happened with me.
It was at Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto when I found out what a "bully" was. I wish I hadn't needed to, but you don't decide how other people treat you.
In one class, there was this boy who sat in my group. I don't need to tell you his real name, but let's just call him by the fake name "Mike." He looked like a nice guy, but wow, was I wrong about that.
Mike only saw me as an easy target. I had big glasses and shiny teeth braces at the time, so maybe that just spelled out "nerd" in his mind. Lucky for him, he didn't have braces or glasses or anything like that. Or maybe he was afraid to pick on anyone else in the class, so he went for me (I sat next to him for a long time). I'm not sure what his reasons were, but I didn't want to get to know him better just to figure that out.
Anyways, Mike didn't throw punches or anything violent like that, but he teased me like there was no tomorrow. He made fun of me about my looks, the way I acted and talked, and so on. Whatever I said to him, he didn't take seriously and just said "you're stupid" or something else mean (I don't even want to remember what he said). I didn't tell him to leave me alone because I was afraid that would make him come after me more.
All this started right after middle school began – what a welcome that was to Jordan.
Thankfully, each month, our teacher changed groups in class. The first thought I would have was: "Please, please, please don't have Mike be in my group." When my wish came true, I was able to breathe; when the mean fellow was again by my side, it was like sitting next to a bulldozer whose big drills (his eyes) were clearly aimed at you.
Luckily, sometimes Mike left me alone. Maybe because I got boring to him. Not that I cared; I was glad to not be bothered.
Still, during those days, my mom got upset that someone was making me unhappy at school. She encouraged me to tell bullies to back off or "my big sister will come and beat you up!" I was glad that she worried about me, and yes, I do have an older sister, but sending her after Mike sounded like a really weird thing to do.
My mom also said that I should go to a teacher for help. That last comment seemed like good advice, but I still didn't have the guts to do it until later that year.
Mike and I ended up in the same group (again!). He hadn't bothered me for a while, but I hadn't forgotten anything that happened before, and I wasn't interested in a repeat.
Right away, I went up to the teacher and said: "Mike has teased me before, and I really don't like it." Then she just told him: "Mike, be nice to Derek. Understand?" He didn't really react, just gave a quiet nod or a short "Okay."
Holy cow! That's it?? Just like that?
And from then on, things were okay with him. He didn't threaten me at all (like "You tell on me again, I'll punch you!"). We never really talked to each other afterwards, but I didn't mind: to me, it was better than being bullied.
I was so surprised. All it took for Mike to leave me alone was to go up to the teacher, who just said "no more." Wow! It was so simple. If I had known that was all it took to stop the teasing and nitpicking, I would have done it long before, at the beginning of 6th grade!
Of course, this didn't change every other bully or mean person at Jordan Middle School. But it still was a big, positive change for me. That was one less guy in my life who caused nothing but trouble.
I am in college now, but I still believe that no one deserves to be bullied or teased. Not only do people get hurt, but you also get a bad reputation as a bully. Sure, some may think that you're really cool because you're so "tough" and have the upper hand, but that really isn't true. Try to put yourselves in others' shoes and think about them. If that seems like a waste of time to you, then why should others think about you?
If you're bullying others because you were bullied, you don't have to be that way. If someone bothers or teases you, tell your teachers and friends about it. Bullies know that one is the loneliest number, so having people supporting you is the best way to go. In my experience, the bully will quietly back off, and no one will get hurt.
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Derek Chan, college student writer
Reviewed by: Adolescent Interest Group
Last reviewed: August 2013