In her new book, Jane Katch explores the painful problems of bullying, teasing, and exclusion. Why, she wonders, does a young child, just becoming aware of the existence of the group, feel such a strong need to keep another child out? And is it possible to teach children to create social groups that aren’t defined by excluding others?
With her acute eye and deft pen, Katch watches her class of four- and five-year-olds begin to form exclusionary groups and tells us what happens as she tries to intervene. Talking with her brother, who teased her as a child; with high school kids; and, as always, with her class, Katch comes to new understandings of why some kids bully and scapegoat, how other kids get through the experience, and how she as a teacher might intervene. They Don’t Like Me is at once a fascinating, absorbing look into the social lives of children and a book for teachers and parents who are trying to understand how to prevent exclusion and how to support children who are being teased and bullied.
If you want to understand the power dynamics of kids, if you want to know what teasing and bullying looks like in early elementary school, then you must read They Don’t Like Me. –Michael Thompson, coauthor of Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
“Jane Katch offers us a rare gift, the insider’s view of her remarkable classroom as she and her children struggle to understand what is fair and just in the explosive arena of those who intimidate and those who feel intimidated. . . In her vivid and honest narrative of classroom life among the young, we are given a reliable map of the moral dimensions of the teacher’s art.”–Vivian Gussin Paley, author of The Kindness of Children and You Can’t Say You Can’t Play