Friday again already! I’m super excited, actually. It’s the school’s Spring Carnival tonight and last year it was just awesome AND we raised $6000! More on that in a future post…
I just wanted to bring some closure to my last post. The sessions by the Light Up Your World presenters were very well done. The vast majority of the students appreciated the message and many said that they came to see things differently than they had before. There was one session in particular where some students were in tears when they had to think about negative things that had been said to them at some point – things that are simply not true about them. They had to write their “false label” on to a sticky and paste it onto a student volunteer and say those words to them. It made some students quite emotional to call their classmate “fag”, “slut”, “waste of space”, “fat”, “stupid”…the list goes on and on. The students who volunteered to receive these false labels were very vocal in how it made them feel and the pain that they could see in their classmates’ eyes when they had to put that label (and speak it) on to them. It was moving to watch and to be a part of.
As always, the presentation did fall on some deaf ears. Some students who I was hoping would get more out of it, said that it was boring and that they didn’t want to go back for the other sessions. Can’t win ’em all! All that I can hope, is that they were listening and watching (even when they appeared not to be) and that they did get something out of, they just didn’t want to admit it.
I had my students respond to the workshops in a post on their blogs as well, and it was interesting to read the different points of view. I was glad to see that almost everyone came up with something positive to say about the presentations, even if they did not enjoy them. I feel that it shows maturity on their part.
Our power does lie with us, and I’m still trying to figure out how to get one student in particular to “get it”. People respond to what you do. If you act differently, more positively – people will respond to you more positively. It’s a simple concept to me, of course, but I’m still looking for new and interesting ways for my students to really OWN their behavior and the consequences (positive and negative) that come from their behavior.
So….if you have any ideas…I’m all ears!
Spring Break is here, although it looks more like Christmas Break outside of my window. No matter – a break is a break and I’m blessed to be healthy and sharing it with my boys! So far today, we’ve made rainbow layered cupcakes, had an inside picnic, played in our tent (a blanket draped over the kitchen table) and then our usuals – hide and seek, pirates and Legos! #1 is curled up with a snack and #2 is curled up for a rest and so I thought a quick blog post would be in order!
I wanted to share a video link with you, that our Phys Ed. teacher showed to me. I watched it with my grade 7 class and they really responded to it. It’s all about attitude, choices, thinking positively and believing that you can do what you are meant to do – that you are worth it. We all have challenges in our lives that we will face. What matters is how we deal with and respond to those challenges, and how we can show compassion and empathy for those around us who may be going through their own challenges.
The speaker in this video, Nick Vujicic, was born with no arms and no legs. He battled depression, suffered from bullying and attempted suicide as a child by trying to drown himself in his bathtub. His story is nothing short of incredible. He’s comical, mesmerizing to watch, easy to listen to and he doesn’t sugar-coat things. There is some mature content in that he does refer to relationships, sex and drugs and so this video would be appropriate for grade 7 and up. The video that we watched is linked below and it’s an hour long. However, if you have a look on YouTube, you’ll see MANY videos of all lengths featuring Nick that you could choose from. There may also be another more appropriate video for slightly younger viewers.
Our attitude affects everything that we do. How do you try to encourage a positive attitude in your students?
I want you to consider for a moment, all of the wonderful and amazing accomplishments of the human race – on Planet Earth. We put a man on the moon…and beyond. Technology is advancing on a daily basis, beyond the imaginations of the generations that came before. Diseases that used to wipe out entire communities can now be treated with a simple inoculation. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. So, I ask myself: Why can’t we stop kids from being cruel to one another?
It happens in everyone’s classroom and school. If you think that it doesn’t happen in your room, I would ask you to consider all of the time that you are out of your students’ sight and earshot: between classes, in the washroom, out on the playground. It happens. Bullying. If it doesn’t happen at your school – PLEASE tell the rest of us your secret.
We know that bullying is not just pushing and shoving anymore. It’s hurtful text messages and trashing people online. Of course, the physical side is part of the picture – it always will be. But there are many facets to bullying now, with that advanced technology that I mentioned earlier. One other thing – boys and girls bully differently – so keep that in mind when you’re taking an inventory of your class’s interactions.
Bullying has been around since the beginning of time, I believe. Unfortunately, I don’t see it getting a WHOLE lot better any time soon. Yes, there are amazing initiatives and programs coming out and those are wonderful. We need more of that! But, at the end of the day, I keep thinking about who, from my classroom – in my school is going home upset about something that happened at school. Something that I didn’t see or wasn’t around for. Something, that I don’t even know about. How many? I’d love to say none, and I hope that that’s true. I’m a realist, though, and if you know me at all – you know that I love math. The odds are against me. Chances are, that someone (or many someones) were bullied in some form. Being that I’m in Canada, I found some recent stats for bullying in this country. I looked at the US as well though, and the picture is much the same. Being that I teach grade 7, my eyes are drawn to the “middle grades”.
These stats are provided by an organization called PREVnet, trying to end bullying.
The numbers may be startling to you, or no surprise at all. Whatever the case, bullying is a problem. If you are a teacher, it’s your problem. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you need to “find the cure” so to speak. However, be aware that it does happen to over half of kids – boys and girls. Junior high, in particular, is a rough time on the best of days – without bullying being an issue as well. Keep your eyes and ears open and try not to ignore. We can all just do what we can do. I came across the video below, as I was searching online. It’s only a few minutes long. Please take the time to watch it. I do not know this family, but my heart goes out to them. No one thinks that this will happen to them, in their town and their lives, until it does.
This is Kristina’s story.
PLEASE check with your administrator first, if you’re thinking about showing this video to students.
Please, keep Kristina’s story in mind when you’re dealing with bullying in your classroom and in your school. It happens. It happens when we don’t or can’t see it. It happens to “good kids” and “straight A” students. It happens to too many of our kids.
So, what can we do about it? How can we prevent or even abolish bullying? What is the cure? I don’t have the answers – lots of questions, but no answers. Being a teacher, of course I turn for answers in books. I have come across three that look promising – I haven’t ordered them yet, though. Are any of you familiar with these titles? Do you have any book title recommendations for the rest of us? Please share!