I was bullied on and off from kindergarten to Year 12.
I sort of survived but had depression and anxiety all through high school. It affected my marks, my ability to study, and my ability to retain information. Leaving high school and secondary college was the best time of my life. I stuck out. Smart alecs and intelligent kids are not welcome at school. My teachers didn’t care. My parents simply told me to ignore them. That was one of the most useless bits of advice I’ve ever received.
To this day I remember the names and faces of most of my tormentors. It has overshadowed my memories of nice times at school, though I undoubtedly had some enjoyable days and I did have a few friends.
One thing that I got from the experience was the ability to make alliances with other bullied and discriminated people, and my friendship circle, continued after secondary college, was the richer for it. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t recommend this as a way to learn.
It has made me more aware and observant of children’s actions and words in the playground and in the classroom. As a teacher, I was alert to comments that were precursors to bullying actions. Whether my words and actions ever helped anyone, I don’t know. Sometimes all I could offer was safety during lunchtimes, so the vulnerable would be near me while I was on playground duty.