Archive for the ‘Coping Mechanisms’ Category

Why Me?

I don’t get it.

I just don’t get it.

Why me?

I mind my own business.

I stay out of their business.

Why me?

I’m so insignificant.

They are oh so significant.

Why me?

I don’t hurt a flea.

Yet they cause me to flee.

So why

I want them to stop.

But they never will stop.

So why?

I go ask my Dad.

And he really got mad.

He said:

It’s not about you.

And it’s all about them.

Just be.

It’s they who don’t get it.

But you’ve totally got it.

Just be.

Give them some space.

A chance to save face.

Just be.

Until then be strong.

It is they who are wrong.

Just be.

I tried to stop asking “why me”?

And I tried to simply “just be”.

You know?

On some days I’m strong.

Feel someday I’ll belong.

You know?

On days when that just doesn’t work.

I feel such a pitiful jerk.

You know?

They still do not get it.

But they think that they’ve got it.

You know?

Because I’m intact.

Doing better in fact,

Since rising above all that shit.

Topics for Discussion:

  • Why is it so helpful to enlist the aid of an adult? Did this parent help? What else could he have done?
  • How can you decide who has the problem? Me or him/her? How does this help you deal with the situation?
  • What is a “strong sense of self” and how can that help you navigate social interactions?


  • Try imagining the scenario, following the poem and plot your anxiety levels on graph paper.Using a red pencil, crayon or marker, scribble your response to the poem on a long, blank sheet of paper. Try to read a trend from your scribble.
  • Describe a bullying situation and then write a list of adjectives to describe the emotions both the bully and the victim might feel. Do any of the adjectives coincide?

Read Full Post »

What shall I do about Carla McFee?
The girl is truly getting to me.
All her mocking and taunting.
To face her is daunting.
Tormenting me gives her such glee

At night in my bed,
You know what I do?
I imagine her dead,
And suffering too.

I inflict on her torture.
She’s tied to a stake.
The flames singe and scorch her.
Her insides, they bake.

Or …

I know what to say,
And I use a firm tone.
And lo and behold,
She leaves me alone.

But …

Back at my school,
Our roles are reversed.
I forget all the lines,
That I’ve tried to rehearse.

My mouth goes so dry,
And my heart is aflutter.
Not one of those words,
Do I manage to mutter.

It’s all I can do,
Not to break down and cry,
I stammer, I stutter.
I feel I shall die.

What shall I do about Carla McFee?
I’ll ask my Grampa.
He’s wise as can be
He says …

Although it feels good to dream of her torture,
It really won’t stop her abuse.
You need to put your imagination,
To more constructive use.

The next time Carla starts taunting again,
Protect yourself from the pain.
Imagine you’re wearing a rubber skin.
Her insults bounce off you in vain.

She’d love you to cry.
Or to show a reaction.
She mustn’t be given,
That grim satisfaction.

Just hold you head high,
And show no dismay.
Look her straight in the eye.
And walk calmly away.

So …

The next day, Carla was at it again;
She ridiculed how I was dressed.
I imagined I put on my rubber skin,
And I managed to feel less stressed.

I kept my cool and looked at her calmly,
As if not a thing was amiss.
I walked away and said to her simply.
“I haven’t got time for this”

It took a few weeks until Carla got bored,
Of seeing me so unperturbed.
Her mocking and jeering I simply ignored.
I managed to seem undisturbed.

The memories continue to haunt me,
That I cannot deny.
So then I go to see Grampa,
I have a little cry.

If you should meet a Carla McFee,
Remember Grampa’s advice.
I don’t know why it has to be.
Why can’t we all be nice?

by Andrea Wilson

Topics For Discussion:

  • Is the desire for revenge healthy? What could be the results?
  • How does anxiety manifest itself? What can provide relief?
  • It is important to seek advice and assistance from adults. Why?
  • Define coping mechanisms. Explore ones which are effective and appropriate. Which aren’t?
  • It is possible to defuse a bully. What can happened when a bully doesn’t get a reaction? What attitudes (verbal and non-verbal) might suggest to a bully that a victim isn’t reacting? What is the bully likely to do? Has he/she learned anything?
  • When is it not advisable to cry, and when is it safe to do so?

Classroom Activities:

  • In groups of three, re-enact the story.
  • Draw illustrations for the poem.
  • Practice adopting a nonchalant attitude and using phrases intended to defuse (and not provoke) a bully.
  • Expand upon the story. Adopting the role of the Grand-Father, brainstorm a list of other advice and coping mechanisms.

Read Full Post »

I sit here in the lunchroom,
And chomp my ham and cheese.
I smell the scent of mushroom.
The gang begins to tease.

“Your spring rolls have sprung.
Your bean curd’s a turd.
Your dumplings are dung.
And you’re such a nerd.”

Her name is Ming Ma Wong.
She’s eating egg drop soup.
Her eyes look sadly woe begone.
Her shoulders start to droop.

I catch a waft of Parmesan.
The gang has smelled it too.
They soon devise a master plan.
While watching Tony chew.

“Cannelloni, minestrone,
Fettuccine and linguine,
Pannetonne. Tell me Tony,
Do you think you’re Mussolini?

Tony looks so devastated.
Garlic fills the room.
That smell cannot be understated.
Taunting will resume.

“Paté de foie and basilic,
Les Crèpes and croque monsieur …
You call this food? It makes me sick.”
Martin exclaims, << Mon Dieu! >>

There soon arrives an odor,
A smell I can’t define.
No matter what the flavor,
The gang will realign.

The new boy’s called Masaki.
He loves to eat his Nori,
His Sushi and Shiitaki,
And Tofu Yakitori.

The gang surrounds Masaki.
I watch as they regroup.
“Teriyaki, Sukiyaki.
What the heck is Miso Soup?”

The foods all smell so good to me.
The gang is so unkind.
I really have to disagree.
I’m of another mind.

So …

Tomorrow I will ask my mom,
To hold the ham and cheese.
I’d prefer …

Sauerkraut, Moussaka,
Baklava, Tofu,
Strudel and Frittata,
Couscous and pistou …

I won’t be in a hurry.
I’ll look them in the eye,
While savoring my curry.
They will not make me cry,

If that gang should come along,
I’m ready. I’ll be braced.
They will not faze me with their song.
I’ll ask them, “Want a taste?”

by Andrea Wilson

Topics For Discussion:

  • This poem is about inter-racial bullying. Why is being different perceived as a bad thing? What is prejudice?
  • Verbal harassment can hurt every bit as much as a punch or a kick. What can be done about it? What attitude does the narrator propose to take if harassed? What is likely to happen if a bully doesn’t get the reaction he is seeking?
  • What qualities does the narrator display?

Classroom Activities:

  • Make a drawing to illustrate an incident of inter-racial bullying, either personal or global.
  • Taking a stand when you witness an injustice takes courage. Write a brief account of an incident you witnessed which you found to be unfair or unkind. What could you or did you do to intervene? When would it be ill-advised to intervene? If you can’t remember an event, feel free to invent a story.
  • Imagine a world in which everyone is the same. Write a brief description. Would you like to live in that world?

Read Full Post »

Today they called me stupid
They said I had no brain.
They sneered at me.
They jeered at me.
And stared with such disdain.But…

I lie in bed tonight.
As happy as a clam.
Because you see,
Or do you see?
I know just who I am.

Tonight I am a dragon-slayer,
The greatest anywhere.
I hunt the beast.
I find the beast,
Asleep within its lair.

I charge it on my stallion.
I stab it with my dagger.
It turns on me.
It leaps at me,
And then it starts to stagger.

I seize it by the tail.
And whirl it round and round.
It roars out load,
It shrieks out load,
It crashes to the ground.

Today they grabbed my lunch.
They tore at my nice new shirt.
They laughed at me.
They spat at me.
And made me eat some dirt.

But …

Tonight I am a hockey star.
Whom no one can defeat
I stop the puck
I hit the puck
The crowd is on its feet.

The goalie tries to block it.
His efforts are in vain.
I score a goal,
The winning goal.
I’m Number One again!

Today they wanted money,
Or swore they’d hurt my brother.
I gave them it.
Yes, all of it.
And still they hurt my brother.

But …

Tonight I am a mountain climber,
Just starting my ascent.
I’m climbing high,
So very high.
I swear I won’t relent.

I’ve almost reached the summit.
And triumph tastes so sweet.
I gage the cliff,
I scale the cliff.
The world is at my feet.

Tomorrow is another day.
I’ll have to face their schemes,
Their pranks, their tricks,
Their slaps and kicks

For now …

I have my dreams.

by Andrea Wilson

Topics for Discussion:

  • What coping mechanism does the narrator use? How does it help? Does it solve the situation?
  • We all do unkind things from time to time, but we are not all bullies. What distinguishes a bullying incident from an isolated act of unkindness? (1- There is intent to do harm. 2- The act is repeated or threatened to be repeated. 3- An imbalance of power exists between the instigator and the victim.) Do the events in this poem qualify as bullying?
  • Why do you think the child’s fantasies cast him as brave, popular and powerful?

Classroom Activities:

  • When speaking in front of a crowd it is often recommended that one imagine the audience is sitting in their underwear. The strategy is that this will help you perceive the audience as less intimidating and give you courage. Collaborate in making a list of things students do to make themselves feel better in a difficult situation. Can some of these techniques be applied to bullying situations?
  • Coping mechanisms can help a situation but sometimes more action is required. As a group, elaborate a plan of action to deal with the bullies in this poem.
  • What could be done to make the victim feel more empowered? Illustrate this in a picture with captions.

Read Full Post »