Professionals Against Bullying

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guest Blog by Chelsea Rodgers-Chelsea & The Bee

There was only one subject that I always looked forward to as a kid and that was spelling. I was great at spelling. I may not have been the strongest writer but for whatever reason spelling just came natural to me. I think spelling came natural to me was because I was reading more and the more I read my vocabulary improved and it was easier for me to sound out the words and see if that word looked right on paper.
I came to school that day expecting the same boring routine when my teacher announced instead of a spelling test we would be doing a spelling bee. I was ecstatic. I never won anything and for once I had a feeling that I could go really far in this competition. One by one my classmates were eliminated and I stood strong yet to be defeated. Finally, it came down to me and one other person and he was good. I was starting to get nervous and was trembling standing in front of my class. I kept focused on my goal to win and to get an A in the spelling bee.
We had gone back and forth a couple rounds now when he finally misspelled a word. Now was my moment to shine, it was my turn to correct his mistake and become the spelling bee champion of my class. I took a deep breath and very carefully spelled the word. Afterwards there was a pause, the class was silent and the teacher stood emotionless. Then she said the words I had been waiting to hear. You are correct! I never felt that happy as I did in that moment, finally I felt like I fit in. It was the first time I ever won something. I got a star that read Spelling Bee Champion. I was very proud to wear that star. What subjects made you feel like a superstar? How did you feel when you discovered your success?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Breaking the Pattern of Bullying

Have you ever wondered what creates a bully? As a victim of countless bullies I sure have. Think about it for a second. Okay now that you have pondered the cause-what did you come up with? I have seen studies that link the act of bullying with low self-esteem, inner sadness or a difficult home life. I'm sure that many theories exist for the cause of bully-like behavior. Let's move on to solutions. How can we stop the act of bullying? Can we break the pattern?
I think it is possible. A technique that may be helpful is to confront the behavior as soon as it starts. I'm not saying that we should attack-but we should ask good questions. If we ask a child why they picked on someone instead of allowing it to be a right of passage we might make some incredible headway. Have you ever wondered what is going on in the head of someone who is intentionally cruel to others? How about we ask the child to write down exactly what they are thinking when they exhibit these behaviors. When I was a kid I was told that kids will outgrow bullying behaviors. Do you think bullying is something that is outgrown?
If you do take a look at this...
There are several different types of adult bullies, and it helps to know how they operate:

Narcissistic Bully: This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences. He or she seems to feel good about him or her self, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.
Impulsive Bully: Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.
Physical Bully: While adult bullying rarely turns to physical confrontation, there are, nonetheless, bullies that use physicality. In some cases, the bully may not actually physically harm the victim, but may use the threat of harm, or physical domination through looming. Additionally, a physical bully may damage or steal a victim’s property, rather than physically confronting the victim.
Verbal Bully: Words can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage - to the bully - of being difficult to document. However, the emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying can be felt quite keenly and can result in reduced job performance and even depression.
Secondary Bully: This is someone who does not initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road. Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.
Adult bullies were often either bullies as children, or bullied as children. Understanding this about them may be able to help you cope with the behavior. But there is little you can do about it beyond doing your best to ignore the bully, report his or her behavior to the proper authorities, and document the instances of bullying so that you can take legal action down the road if necessary. (info on adult bullying provided by
It is important that we address this problem early so that those who are aggressors and victims can get the help they need. Do you have an opinion on the matter? Have you ever been bullied as a child or adult? I'd love to hear your comments.
-Read something great

Thursday, September 16, 2010


This is a guest piece by our resident guest blogger Chelsea. I hope that you enjoy this vulnerable-yet heart warming and inspiring post.
Tara Michener –Read something great!

As a kid I had a speech problem. I couldn't’t pronounce certain syllables. As my speech got worse my mom had no choice but to put me in speech therapy. I thought it was the worst thing that could happen to me. I thought for sure my peers would pick on me and think I was stupid. I was dreading my first session. There is only one thing that works when it comes to improving speech.

The day came for me to start speech therapy and I had no idea of what I was in for. The room was full of books. I was asked to pick out a book to read and all that was going through my head was, that’s it, pick a book. Then I thought what kind of book do I grab? I did not read a lot outside of school so my knowledge of books was nonexistent. The first session came and went and I did not get much out of it. Once I started to go more and more I started to look forward to going and to pick a new book to read. It was not until about a month in that I realized that my speech was improving. I could not wrap my head around it; reading helped my speech to improve.
In the end, reading out loud also increased my reading level. I not only wanted to read what was required for school but I began to read on my own. The first book I read for fun was The Adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy.
Today, I still love to read. Children need to know how important and beneficial reading is and know the one phrase that holds true is practice makes perfect. Do you remember what made you fall in love with reading? Feel free to comment.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Guest Blog about Bullying by Chelsea Rodgers

Today's blog is from our intern Chelsea Rodgers. Chelsea is a student at University of Michigan Dearborn. She is pursuing a degree in the marketing field. I hope you enjoy her post on bullying.
-Read Something great!
Going back to school can be fun and exciting for some kids, for others, it can be scary. Most children look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones, but just as so many are ready to go back to school the same amount or more are afraid of being bullied all year long. School bullying is becoming a daily event at schools. How can parents prepare their children?
In the U.S. 30% of teens are involved in bullying by being the bully or being bullied. It is something that has gotten out of hand and under the radar for too long. A lot of officials do not see bullying or do anything about it. People think being bullied is like a right-of-passage, that it makes kids stronger, it’s not. Being bullied causes kids to be scared, anxious, and insecure.
I know as a kid I was bullied, moving around a lot I had to make a lot of new friends and sometimes bullying was a ritual for the new kid to go through. I was teased about my hair or my braces or being small. Looking back on it being bullied is probably the reason I was shy as a kid. For me the bullying stopped by the time I reached middle school. The only reason the bullying started to subside was because of me.
It’s scary to be bullied and the rule parents tell their kids is to ignore it and it will eventually go away. That does not always work. Parents should give their kids more than just one way to face being bullied. Parents should help their kids practice confidence. Help them to feel good about themselves. Every time they say something negative make them tell you three positive characteristics about themselves.
Let them talk about bullying. There is a new book out, Summer Camp Survival that deals with bullying and self-esteem. Summer Camp Survival is a fun, quick read for teens to learn about gaining self-esteem because in the end everyone is in control of their life.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Do kids see color?

School is back in session. The supplies are bought, the lunches are packed-it feels like you are done right? Wrong. The best thing about a new school year is meeting new people. Your kids are exposed to people from every background, culture and ethnicity in their learning environment. They are getting regular lessons on math, English and history...what about race?
You may be thinking that it is not necessary to discuss this topic with them. Many people have shared with me at book signings that their kids do not see color. I smile and say untrue. Kids are learning their colors everyday. Crayola has a ton of names for them. When we avoid simple questions such as "Why is she brown and I'm not" we may be avoiding a teachable moment.
Some parents have shared that they feel that it is awkward to bring up ethnicity and race with young people because they are afraid of making them focus too much on the outside and not enough on the inside. I understand this concept but try this on for size. Take your children to museums, read them books and have conversations about a variety of cultures so that they can be...well you know cultured. Children shape ideas about the world when they are very young and when they are able to read books with characters from all walks of life it only expands their mind-it does not close it. Many people feel as though they need help bridging the conversation about race-my 1st book helps with this.
"Who I Am Not What I Am" was mentioned in the last edition of Corp! Magazine for the principles that it shares about diversity and inclusion for children. The main character is Janelle and she is asked "What are you?" by her classmates. In the book Janelle has a talk with her parents that help her to understand that she is not a "what" she is a "who". She also learns more about her Multicultural heritage. In the end she also learns that who she is includes her love of biking, ice cream and pets. Have a talk today-even if you've discussed it before. Many awesome stories are available to make the topic fun and interesting and if you get one of my books-I promise to sign it. :)
Read something great!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fresh as a pack of newly sharpened pencils! (No. 2 that is)

Happy Fall. Okay-I know Fall officially starts later in September-doesn't it feel like it now though? The schools are flooded with students and the stores are low on office supplies. I have always associated these things with Autumn. Have you been to a Cider Mill yet? I have! 2 freshly made donuts and counting...see it is Fall! So many great things are on the horizon for me. I was named a Diversity Business Leader by Corp! Magazine last week. It was a great experience and honor to be amongst some of the best business people in my area. The "Who I Am" series received special attention at the ceremony and in the latest issue of the magazine.
Tomorrow we will be welcoming our newest member to the team at Tara Michener Industries, LLC Chelsea Rodgers. Chelsea will be at events, helping out with ideas and you will see her in our blogosphere. She is a student at University of Michigan-Dearborn and a great person.
Do you want to hear a couple of other great facts that make Fall great? My newest book is available now for order. Yes! Summer Camp Survival is ready to be signed by me and read by you-be sure to order your copy before you leave the site today using the paypal buttons.
One more bit of news...I have a new space! I am working from Ann Arbor, Michigan every week starting today. My goal was to make this season fresh and new by meeting people outside of the bubble of my home office. So far-so good. I know that I just shared a ton of news about me-what is new with you? I am always eager to hear more about my readers-especially their work in literacy, diversity and self-esteem.
If you have something great to share-please feel free to comment.
Read something great!