Is There Anything More Important Than ‘Knowing’ Your Students?

April 18, 2015


For me, knowing my students is an absolutely essential part of what I do. Without that knowledge, I can’t properly plan, teach, motivate or resolve situations. I am so pleased that thanks to one teacher’s experiment, the notion of trying to understand ones students has caught on:


A Colorado teacher who posted notes from her grade 3 class online and started a social media whirlwind under the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew said on Friday the assignment had been a revelation for her.

Kyle Schwartz, 26, asked the eight and nine-year-olds at her Denver inner city school to write down something they wished she knew about them, partly as a writing exercise, and partly as a way for her to learn about her pupils.

Responses included “I don’t have pencils at home to do my homework”, and “I want to go to college”, to one tear-jerker from a girl who said she had no friends to play with at recess.

When the teacher shared photographs of some of the notes on Twitter, similar messages and pictures came pouring in from other schools worldwide.

Ms Schwartz, a self-described suburban girl who has taught at south-west Denver’s Doull Elementary for three years, said she has conducted the exercise each year, in part because she wanted to underline the issue of poverty in US inner cities.

About 90 per cent of Doull’s 532 students are Hispanic, and 46 per cent are classed as English-language learners.

Ms Schwartz said one message that garnered a lot of sympathy online, from a girl who said she missed her father after he was deported to Mexico several years ago, was particularly revealing.

“That student comes to school each day with a smile on her face,” the teacher said, adding that she would not have known what the girl was going through if not for the handwritten note.

She said the pupils were told they could write anonymously if they wished, but that most were happy to add their names and to share their messages with classmates.

One widely commented upon note was from a girl who said she had no friends to play with during break time.

Ms Schwartz said that message had been “heartbreaking”, but that she was gladdened to see how the other pupils rallied to support the child who wrote it.

“The next day at recess, all the girls huddled around her and played tag,” Ms Schwartz said.

“A lot of what we’re teaching is how to be a good friend. My students’ emotional needs are just as important as their academic needs.”



Click on the link to read Could this be the Most Inspiring Teacher Working Today?

Click on the link to read There Are Some Teachers That Just Love What They Do

Click on the link to read We Would Take a Bullet for Our Students

Click on the link to read Teachers Don’t Get Any Better Than This!

Teacher Hires Hitman to Kill Her Student

April 16, 2015



This is not a Hollywood movie. Stories like this one reflects very badly on the millions of teachers who do their profession proud:


This is the shocking moment a teacher is filmed hiring a hitman to kill a pupil she was reportedly in love with.

Music teacher Yulia Simonova offered the killer £1,400 to ‘get rid’ of the 15-year-old student, according to Russian media reports.

But Simonova, who worked in the Russian city of Shatura, near the capital Moscow, was caught out in a police sting operation.

The 52-year-old was detained after she attempted to hand over payment for the alleged hit.

An undercover policeman pretending to be a killer met with the jealous teacher and filmed the entire exchange on hidden camera, police claim.

She now faces a 15 year jail sentence if found guilty.

Ms Simonova reportedly saved up for an entire year to pay for the hit. Her plan was discovered when the martial arts instructor she asked to do the job contacted police.

In the hidden camera video, the teacher makes it clear she wants the boy to suffer badly and die slowly.


Click on the link to read Teachers Who Have Sex With Students Deserve Jail Time!

Click on the link to read Drama is Taught Very Differently Than It Used To

Click on the link to read Teachers Who Bully Students Make Me Sick

Click on the link to read 50 Shades of School Madness

Whilst I Try to Teach About Positive Self Image, the Media Seeks to Tear My Students Down

April 15, 2015

14th Annual New Yorkers For Children Fall Gala - Arrivals

How on earth am I expected to compete with a ruthless and often disgusting media when it comes to the subject of positive body image. Whilst I am trying to share with my students one view on body image and the meaning of beauty, the media goes and projects the complete opposite.

Today I stumbled on a piece that got me so riled up, I wanted to shout at my computer screen. At the bottom of a news article, I noticed a link to a story entitled, “23 Sexiest Celebrities With Ugly Significant Others”. It was written in March last year, but for some reason (perhaps its popularity), the link lives on to the point where it is accompanying recent articles.

Let me share you one of their 23 examples.

As an Australian, this one cuts especially deep. Australia is lucky enough to be the home of two remarkable rolemodels in actor Hugh Jackman and his very talented wife, Deborra-Lee Furness. Deborra is smart and creative. She is a fine person and excellent mother. Some may say, she is a “beautiful” person (for a whole range of reasons).

Not according to this cheap, disgusting load of rubbish article:


He might play Wolverine, but Hugh Jackman is one of Hollywood’s hottest. The couple met in Melboure in 1995 on the set of the TV drama, Correlli.The show, which featured Furness as the leading lady, was Jackman’s first acting gig and he played her love interest.However, the Australian actress, director and producer now takes a backseat to her X Men leading man.The couple was immediately drawn to each other and Jackman popped the question after just four months of dating. The quick romance led to a 1996 wedding, and, with nearly 18 years of marriage under their belts, the mismatched couple seems to be defying the odds.

The couple, who are the parents of two children, say that they are as attracted to each other today as they were all those years ago. Though her career in acting and directing isn’t going anywhere right now, Furness stays busy with philanthropy work.


The “mismatched couple”? Says who? So let me get this straight – a perfectly matched couple must then be two Hollywood bombshells who get married for 2 weeks before realising that they have nothing in common and then get divorced. Make sense, right?

How dare a publication write that Deborra, or anyone else for that matter, is ugly! What kind of message does that send to children?

How can I compete with this gutter trash?



Click on the link to read List of Body Positive Books for Kids

Click on the link to read Sometimes You Need to Expect Rudeness

Click on the link to read Do We Learn Enough From Children?

Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

Private School Students Perform No Better Than Public Students

April 14, 2015


I don’t know why it seems like such a revelation to some that private school students have no marked edge over their public school counterparts. Thanks to ever increasing spending on public education, more is spent on a public school students’ classroom experience than the private equivalent.


Australian researchers have confirmed a growing body of international research that finds the high cost of private school education does not give students an academic edge over their public school counterparts.

The study, which has been published in the Australian Journal of Labour Economics, found that once the more privileged backgrounds of private school students are taken into account, they fare no better in the education system than other children.

The research from the University of Queensland, the University of Southern Queensland and Curtin University examined the vexed issue facing many parents when choosing between a public or private education for their children.

Co-author of the study, Professor Luke Connelly, said primary students do just as well academically in either system.


Click on the link to read From Maths Teacher to Masters Champion’s Caddie

Click on the link to read Is This What a Dysfunctional School Looks Like?

Click on the link to read Should Students Be Involved in the Hiring of Teachers?

Click on the link to read School Freaks Out Its Parents for No Logical Reason

From Maths Teacher to Masters Champion’s Caddie

April 13, 2015


The public perception of elementary teachers isn’t that they are “a calming influence”. But we certainly can be, as evidenced by Masters champion Jordan Speith’s choice of caddie:


The man who celebrated with Jordan Spieth on the 18th green at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday made his first trip here only three years ago. Michael Greller wasn’t even a professional caddie at the time. He was a sixth-grade math teacher who won a lottery for Masters tickets and spent the day following Rory McIlroy. “I had a few beers and enjoyed the walk,” he said.

Greller’s path from standing outside the ropes to carrying the bag of the Masters champion is far more improbable than Spieth’s impressive victory. And it reveals both the randomness of the caddying business and the way Spieth has approached the game.

… But the reason he has latched on with golf’s biggest rising star has little to do with measuring yardages or memorizing breaks on a green. It is because of moments like this: When Spieth double-bogeyed the 17th hole Saturday, Greller didn’t say much as they walked to the 18th tee box. He mostly just listened.

“You don’t want to overanalyze or make it harder than it is,” Greller said. “I just try to be a calming influence on him. He’s very intense.”


Click on the link to read Is This What a Dysfunctional School Looks Like?

Click on the link to read Should Students Be Involved in the Hiring of Teachers?

Click on the link to read School Freaks Out Its Parents for No Logical Reason

Click on the link to read Nine-Year-Old Writes a Stunning Letter to Teacher After He Reveals He is Gay



Teachers Who Have Sex With Students Deserve Jail Time!

April 12, 2015



No jail time and not even put on the sex offender list.

A female teacher gets nothing more than a 90 day mental health treatment for bedding a 16 year old student. How is this an acceptable sentence? No wonder she is posting celebratory selfies of herself.

This isn’t just a victory for her, but all the other potential transgressors out there. With punishments like those, what’s to stop others doing the same?

And I’m sorry to repeat this again, but what if the teacher was a male? Would the sentence be so lenient? It’s interesting that the stigma falls almost exclusively on male teachers, but there are more female teachers than ever crossing the line.

I am appalled at the way the courts seem almost disinterested in cases like these. We must put pressure on judges to treat cases like this one far more seriously:


A teacher in the United States has come under fire for posting a ‘celebratory selfie’ after being given a light sentence for sleeping with a student.

Shelley Dufresnein, from Louisiana, was arrested last September after admitting to an improper relationship with a 16-year-old boy.

The 32-year-old was charged with several offences including carnal knowledge with a juvenile, indecent behavior with a juvenile and contributing to the delinquency of a child.

She accepted a plea deal in court on Thursday that means she will avoid jail time and will not be put on the registered sex offender’s list.

In exchange, the mother-of-three will have to undergo a 90-day mental health treatment.

She has also been banned from teaching and going near the victim or his family.

Several hours after she was released, Dufresnein uploaded a photo to her Instagram account celebrating her ‘victory.’

She captioned the photo: “My mood today,” followed by three smiley faces.

Many of Dufresnien’s followers congratulated her.



Click on the link to read Drama is Taught Very Differently Than It Used To

Click on the link to read Teachers Who Bully Students Make Me Sick

Click on the link to read 50 Shades of School Madness

Click on the link to read We Must Empower Our Children to Identify Disgusting Teachers

Schools Don’t Get Much More Scary Than This

April 8, 2015



I’m all for good results, but not at the expense of teacher, student and parent satisfaction:


IT’S a school where children are reportedly praised for wetting themselves rather than taking a break and teachers work harder than Wall Street bankers.

This is the Success Academy, where failure is not an option.

The controversial New York school network has been criticised for its pressure-cooker environment. But its head says the intensive methods are giving poorer students the chance to compete with rich kids with expensive schools and private tutors.

The results-focused network is made up of charter schools, which are independent, but receive public funding. Success claims it encourages children to embrace the discipline and “joyful rigour” they’ll need to flourish.

Test scores are announced in class, displayed on coloured charts posted in hallways and published in a weekly newsletter, according to a New York Times profile.

Those who aren’t measuring up appear in the red zone. If their poor performance persists, they attend “effort academy” while their classmates get a treat. Suspension rates are far beyond those in most public schools.

One parent whose child attended Brooklyn’s Success Academy Cobble Hill wrote on a forum that the school was “strict, cold, and insensitive” to children’s needs.

“My son wet his pants for the first time since he was three years old because the school did not let him go to the bathroom when he asked,” wrote the parent. “The school was incapable of recognising that he had also developed anxiety around going down the hall to the bathroom.”

There is a high turnover of staff, with one former teacher telling the Times she used to cry herself to sleep at night because of the way she had to treat the children.

The newspaper also saw an internal email that said students who were falling behind should be made to feel “misery”. One teacher was told by a supervisor to respond more strongly to a child’s mistakes, by tearing up her work.

There are strict instructions on posture — backs straight, hands clasped and feet on the floor or legs crossed.



Click on the link to read It is None of Our Business What Video Games Our Students Play

Click on the link to read What the System Can Do to Great Teachers

Click on the link to read Teacher Bans the Word “Awesome” From His Class

How Babies Learn (Video)

April 7, 2015


Learning through observation and experience? Just wait a minute, where does an endless array of mundane worksheets fit into the equation?


Click on the link to read Celebrating Our Mistakes

Click on the link to read Is Guilt a Motivator of Children?

Click on the link to read What Kids Think About Love (Video)

Click on the link to read 5 Games that Make Kids Smarter

Click on the link to read Try Sitting Still as Much as the Average Student Has To

VIDEO: Teacher exposes flaw in Fla.’s merit-pay plan for teachers

April 6, 2015

Michael G.:

I am in favor of paying students according to their merit, but the system still has to work. If it doesn’t make sense, it certainly doesn’t sufficiently reward the best teachers. This video shows what happens when legislators configure a shoddy system of tying a teacher’s worth with data from standardised testing.

Originally posted on Extra Credit:

Indian River County teacher Luke Flynt Indian River County teacher Luke Flynt

By next year, salary raises for all Florida public school teachers will depend in part on how their students perform on the state’s standardized tests.

But there’s been lots of controversy about how Florida measures students’ progress using something called a “value-added model,” or VAM.

Last month, an Indian River County teacher named Luke Flynt raised a major issue with the state’s model, which tries to measure teachers’ impact on students by assigning students predicted scores and then measuring whether they exceeded them.

Flynt’s issue: In some cases, students’ expected scores are “literally impossible.” He tells school board members:

“One of my sixth-grade students had a predicted score of 286.34. However, the highest a sixth-grade student can earn earn is 283. The student did earn a 283, incidentally. Despite the fact that she earned a perfect score, she counted negatively toward my valuation…

View original 91 more words

Whether or Not to Medicate Your Child Should be a Tough Decision

April 5, 2015


It seems to me that parents don’t have the same hesitation when it come to medicating their children as they used to. Take this worrying trend as an example:


One in five NSW families are doping their children with medication to keep them quiet on long road trips, a new national study of motorists has revealed.

The driving survey, commissioned by insurer GIO, shone a light on the behaviour of 3700 parents, including 600 within NSW, who embark on extended road journeys. 

While four in five families give youngsters hand-held computer games, including iPads, and 70 per cent keep treats up their sleeve, 18 per cent of NSW drivers admit to tranquillising their children with drugs that sedate – such as the antihistamine Phenergan – to make the journey more comfortable.

The drug is available over the counter and is commonly used in the treatment of allergies. Phenergan is the product name given to the drug Promethazine. According to patient inforrmation guides, compiled by its various manufacturers, Phenergan should not be used on children aged under two, due to its potential for “fatal respiratory depression”.

Those warnings have been in place since 2006 when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified links between the drug and 22 cases of respiratory depression among infants, seven of which proved fatal. Labels also often state that caution should be applied when the medicine is given to children 2 years of age and older.

Westmead Children’s Hospital head of general medicine Joanne Ging told The Sun-Herald: “In terms of sedation, this is an unpredictable drug. 

“We would never recommend it for children on plane trips, car trips or wherever, because its side effects can trigger the exact opposite effect, including hallucinations. It’s a medication that really should only ever be used for allergies.”



Click on the link to read my post on An ADHD Epidemic or an Over-Diagnosis Epidemic?

Click on the link to read my post on More than 1 in 10 U.S. Children Diagnosed with ADHD!

Click on the link to read my post on Doctors are Hypocrites When it Comes to ADHD

Click on the link to read my post on Shock Horror: Sleep Deprived Children Diagnosed with ADHD Instead!



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