The toughest thing about teaching if you were bullied in school is what I call the “flashback flare up.”
The images in my mind of the things said and did when I was a child are still there, often under the surface, years later. All it takes sometimes is for a child to say something in such a way, or behave in a way that triggers that image and it is like touching a hot stove for me.
I’m an adult and have to maturely understand a few things:
1- This child is not the same child that did that to me all those years a go.
2- Two wrongs don’t make a right.
3- I have to be rational, fair, and impartial.
4- If I use my increased sensitivity for good, the awful experience and hurt of my childhood is not wasted because I’m helping children now. This sensitivity lets me pick up on things others can’t see sometimes.
5- Adults who haven’t experienced bullying often don’t get or understand what I’m talking about, but I have to be fair and know that I have a different perspective.
6- Decompressing is important when a memory has been triggered because some memories are upsetting.
7- I am a teacher and an adult and I should always treat everyone with respect. When I know I’ve had a flashback flare-up or am about to have one, I need to recognize it and calm down so I don’t have to apologize later.
8- If I end up needing to apologize to a child, if I explain why I reacted that way, I’ve always found sympathy and understanding but this should be rare. I shouldn’t be like the baggage claim room at the airport with lots of old baggage, I should deal with it so I can help kids.
9 - Kids are kids and they all make mistakes, but I do too.
10- I must forgive those who have hurt me. Life is too short to continue to live in middle school, especially if you’re an adult.
I don’t know if anyone else has flashback flare ups but me, but I thought these would help.