Category Archives: anti-bullying

Summer and Schooling

With Summer School starting and as someone who loved summer time classes both as a student and when teaching at three well respected Universities my wish to all taking summer classes is that the paperwork which may precede you into the programs be placed aside and each of you win points on your participation and on your own merit! And students- don’t “struggle in silence”- for we as Educators can not help the students who leave us “uninformed.” 

#Summerschool2017  #Teachingtact #ESL  #EFL  #ENGLISHK-12  #reflectiveteaching

Rio 2016- & “me”

As to Politics: when we can figure out why people would rather waste money creating problems for people or using people instead of spending money to prevent problems in the first place- we will have created a better world! the Olympics are far from “perfect” and do cost a fortune to prepare for- but – at least for a brief moment we get to see “healthy competition” and a variety of mutual respect – athletes encouraging athletes; “giants” shedding tears; surprise challengers taking the podium, and real emotions on display- too many pictures to select only one to demonstrate the gratitude and awe I feel each time any of the athletes steps up and shares- young and old we each may learn something…

Seriously, dig deeper to find “success”

TEASING; and why there is a huge difference between children learning word play and playing with words, and actual taunting. Taunting doesn’t work in business relationships, either. The carrot before the donkey is an awful image because it reduces a human to the level of a beast of burden- a donkey- an animal traditionally used to conjure up the image of a “foolish beast”. Another word for a donkey- an “ass”-and to be “a donkey’s ass”- is an extreme insult.

To taunt is to hold out a promise and constantly withdraw it-think of children and adults at play. Sometimes parents will use bribery to encourage a certain form of behaviour; the award must then be received if the change in behaviour is to take effect. Otherwise, the game is not a game at all- it is an exercise in power, and simply proof of the power of one party over another. In this day and age where words like “collaboration” are a little too loosely spread about, what needs to be made clear, be it in business or personal life, is that teasing creates resentment, not community. Why then do we allow for, nay, even encourage between adults, behaviour which would be criticized in a kindergarten classroom?

Word play sample: “Pete and Repeat (or spell it Repete and then it is a visual homonym) were walking along the bridge; Pete fell off- who was left?” Answer: “Repeat” = child asking question gets to repeat it – ad infinitum – laughter will ensue for a brief moment- but if it continues…the word play has become mean play.

 In life doing the same task again and again, and here we get to paraphrase Einstein, becomes a ridiculous exercise- punishing rather than building someone up.

Yes, as tutor, I will have older students proof their work, recopying it until they are satisfied that it says what they wished to express- but this is not a futile exercise, it is an exercise meant to have students become owners of their thoughts, and willing to share these opinions in the public forum which they participate in- a school.

If as a community we are going to build up the youth in our care, we want them to feel confident to share their opinions, to express ideas, and to recognize when a piece of writing is making a point, to think about the points other authors are expressing, and to not be afraid to show that they too can communicate. Our corrections must address the separate areas of content and grammar and structure, while bearing in mind, that our students have experienced different lives from ours, and may read into a piece something separate, special to their understanding; which is why we must teach go to the text, find where you feel this idea is being developed, and do not be afraid to stand out from the crowd.

If I am going to share with students an image with a carrot in it, then this one seems more appropriate:

As Teachers we are entrusted with all the reasons for digging to find that success.

Challenging the Bully

While at work at a company recently I had the following experience; arriving on a Monday to pick up messages I heard the taped conversation on the voice mail, detailing a divorce proceeding. This detailing, that is the reading of the divorce papers, was being done in a male voice – done deliberately- to what purpose- I do not know. Yes I am divorced and have been for a number of years. Should I have been asked to listen to someone reading such personal information? The message had been left on the machine DELIBERATELY – harassment is a funny thing- it is often done under the table instead of what one usually reads about – the in your face comments, the rude snubs- Oh no- real harassment is the more ugly, subtle kind. For the record, I did not delete the message -I left it there, wondering what further games might occur.

Now as an educator I am on the lookout for bullying amongst students. And one thing I have learned over the years is that children will bounce back from the open threats; it is the continuous wearing of one down that hurts the most. I am going to be very clear here- open threats allow an educator to observe the bullying and to intervene; the student doesn’t need to tattle, and risk further trouble. But under the table actions, the kind that are meant to do one thing only- to instill fear, discomfort, worry, stress; all the statements about a bully being a coward etc., will do little to alleviate worry if the bullies’ actions can’t be curtailed, and if the bully can’t be snuffed out.

At this same position I arrived another Monday to hear the following message, this time in a female voice: “Well, slightly drawled, she is very creative, but she is not a manager”- again the portion of a recorded conversation, left on purpose for me to hear. I was going to write overhear, but that would be inaccurate as picking up and sharing messages was part of that particular job description. Now there is perhaps a backwards compliment in there, if indeed leaders are depicted as creative, and managers as drones. I have never been accused of being a drone. But as an adult, I once again resented receiving a message second hand- as bullying goes, it is not as obscene as the type I have witnessed on a playground, but it is still bullying. Face to face communication is a statement to a person, that the person is valued as a human being. Which is why I always appreciated a New York attitude that was once explained to me as: “people may agree to dislike each other but would still do business with each other.” Here in Toronto, the subtle attacks are unnerving, demoralizing, and much harder to eradicate.*

A colleague has a blog and asked for comments regarding bullying – sparking both the memory and the effort I have always made to not be a bystander. I recognize that each of us has a particular upbringing; mine was wrapped up in the need to care for others. This translated early into using an ability to speak, to speak on behalf of another if requested to. We as educators are tasked with the goal of encouraging students to recognize bullying when they see it and to create the environment in which it will be possible to ask for help to curtail the bully – to create the safest environment possible, wherein each student feels that the classroom, the school grounds, and the topics of conversation which will take place, are going to be encouraging, welcoming, and both open and fair. It is not an easy position, and at times, subtlety is called for in a learning environment- but not when it comes to preventing bullying. Bullying must be challenged head on, discussed, and as many outlets and options be made clear to as many students as possible if the school environment is to do its job and truly offer a safe and accepting learning space. Good luck to all teachers preparing just such environments in anticipation of the 2014-2015 year.

• I typed it as I had felt it; and mean no disrespect to my “adopted” city; the place where my children are pleased to call “home”. I also recognize that cultural expectations may come into play- but regardless, bullying has no place in either the workplace or the school.

Websites you may enjoy:

http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/

https://www.facebook.com/GoodGoals/info

http://talkingspecialneeds.com/education

http://arbordalekids.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/happy-friendship-day/

http://www.pinterest.com/alibayer/ lots to share here