Tough Times Don’t Last … Tough People Do!
I would love to be able to acknowledge the author of this quote but I can’t … it came up in one of the twitter-streams I have been glued to for the past three weeks while watching the Tour de France. I love the way technology has brought me closer to this great race. I have been a tour devotee for years but now I watch the event on TV and webstream, while the twitter-streams for my favourite riders and the aussie followers flow. I add my commentary and thoughts to those of former professionals who have experienced the TdF first hand. But that isn’t what I want to talk about today.
This post was sent to Mark Cavendish as a message of support. Like the tall poppies of most countries he has had his fair share of bad press … professional bullying! Over in another twitter-stream at the same time a teacher friend posted about a 5th grade student taking action on to stop bullying. Bullying is probably the biggest issue I face as year 8 coordinator and classroom teacher.
We started semester two this week and in my first class of year 7 Humanities one student asked me “Miss, why did you become a teacher?” The truth, and my answer, is because school was not a great place for me and I wanted to make it better for others. I love learning and I always have. However, I have ridden the waves of teasing and bullying to become the person I am today. A certain degree of teasing and stirring is part of learning humour and is character building. However, just like my experience of the TdF, the experience of children being victimised is enhanced by technology. Bullies can now reach their victims 24/7 via the very social networks I use to improve my teaching and learning practice.
So how do we teach our children to be tough? Like the 5th grade student, our school has started groups for students to come together to talk about their experiences. After reading this article I have a few more ideas we can add to that process. We use restorative practice in an attempt to get children to realise the impact they have on others. We run activities at lunchtime to provide safe places for students to be (this is food for another post … teenagers particularly do not seem to know how to fill in an hour a day). Resilience education has been a theme of transition and health education programmes for a few years now.
Yet still, it would seem, the best I can do is put out each fire as it starts … I met with a very distressed young lady, her parents and her Homegroup Teacher on Wednesday to put together a plan so she could face coming to school on Thursday. I felt satisfied to see her at lunchtime on Thursday with a smile on her face and a friend by her side. I just hope she can recover enough resilience to survive the next attack that I am sure will come!