The Letter that Brought a Teacher to Tears

April 27, 2017

It’s moments like these that gives us perspective for the hard times:

 

Markus left the incredibly heartwarming note on his teacher, Mr. KJ’s desk, with the proud mentor then deciding to share it on Facebook group ‘Love What Matters’.

Mr. J was obviously taken aback by the compliments in the letter and shared it with the world.

“So I walked in the classroom and found this letter on the desk that one of my kids wrote me and…I tried so hard not to tear up,” he wrote online.

 

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The Death of a Student

April 18, 2017

 

I suppose it happens to nearly all teachers at some point and tonight it has happened to me.

At approximately 7pm I got an email to notify me that a student I had taught 2 years ago had passed away.

I am grief stricken. He was only 12 years old!

Words fail me. I had a great connection with this child. I felt I understood him like no other teacher.

And now he’s gone and it will take me a while to get over it.

They tell you not to get emotionally involved but it is absolutely impossible.

Especially with students like him.

Rest in Peace!

 

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Teachers Should View a Sleeping Student as Feedback

March 29, 2017

What a horrific act and a total and utter overreaction. I’m sure this teacher felt disrespected that his student fell asleep in his class, but to assault her by biting her hair is astonishing and unforgivable.

As rude as it is for a student to sleep in class, a teacher should see it as crucial feedback and consider changing their style accordingly:

A strange clip of a teacher biting a students hair in order to lift her head off the table has emerged.The odd incident happened about a year ago but has resurfaced online. Jaws wide, the teacher approaches the snoozing student across a classroom. He then pounces on her, chomping her ponytail between his teeth. As she’s pulled from the desk where she was sleeping she looks shocked and worried. She gasps and grabs her hair and the creepy teacher relinquishes his grip. It isn’t known exactly where the weird incident happened but the 27-second clip has been shared widely on social media and other internet sites.

This teacher has a lot of explaining to do.

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Click on the link to read Tips for Teaching Difficult Students

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Click on the link to read Teacher Called Cops Because Students Planned to Sabotage Class Photograph

Classroom Toilet Rules Turns Schools Into Prisons

March 13, 2017

I have one rule when it comes to toilet use during class time.

If you need to go, you won’t be timed or denied access to the toilet. You don’t even have to raise your hand to ask. Just let a friend know where you are going.

I don’t care if they need to go multiple times in a day. I don’t care if they need to go just after recess. My bladder isn’t always as predictable as I’d hope, why should I subject my 11 year-old students to standards I can’t always live by?

My students do no exploit this rule. They do not take a long time to go and classes are not disturbed by my rule. In fact, the students love this rule because it treats them like responsible citizens rather than inmates.

I can’t stand toilet rules. That’s why I am not sympathetic to this school’s predicament:

 

Police were called when a protest erupted at a British school after students were limited to two toilet breaks a day.

Officers were forced to be called in after up to 40 students took to the playing fields on Friday morning protesting the controversial new rule at Bedale High School in North Yorkshire.

Parents have criticised the school after being informed the 580 pupils were only allowed a bathroom break between 11.05am and 11.25am, and 12.25pm and 12.45pm.

The decision was criticised as “breaching human rights”, but the 11-16 comprehensive school maintains the toilets are accessible on request and to those who held a ‘medical card’.

Parents first learned of the new policy by a letter in February, which ITV reported as saying: “There is no access to the main building (where the toilets are located) after 12.45pm.”

Lunch finishes at 1.10pm, adding to the outrage.

One parent, who posted anonymously on Facebook, said: “I believe that this is humiliating and undignified and is a breach of human rights to be denied access to toilets at any other time unless you have a medical need, and totally ridiculous to say that you cannot go to the toilet after you have had lunch.

“My daughter had stayed behind in her class to do extra work and then went to the toilet at 12.45pm but staff wouldn’t let her go.

“I wrote to the Head saying I felt this was a breach of human rights and she wrote back saying that those with medical issues would need to get a note from the doctor.

“It’s appalling, the fact that if they have got medical issues they have got to show a pass, they are making them a target for bullies, it’s just degrading.”

And Pupil Madelaine Anderson agreed, writing: “I find this unfair on everyone not only girls but also boys, not everyone needs to have a ‘medical note’ to be allowed to use the toilet.”

But a notice posted on Bedale High’s website defended the move, saying the new behavioural code was part of an overall action plan.

They said: “The code also includes tighter rules on uniform and on reducing the numbers of students outside of classrooms during lesson time. 

“As part of this the school has reminded students that toilets are freely accessible during specific periods at lunchtime and break time but that students who need the toilet during lessons, or need access for medical reasons, will always be given access on request. Toilets are therefore accessible at all times.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire police confirmed they were called to a protest at the school but advised staff it was not a police matter.

 

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The Normalisation of the Stigma Against Male Teachers

February 28, 2017

kasey_edwards

Below is a very destructive article against male teachers. Although not directly mentioning male teachers, the implications are obvious.

Parents are allowed to have their opinions about men’s ability to supervise and care for children, even though I contend that men make very good teachers and caregivers. What irks me is that this ridiculous and damaging article was published in the mainstream media, thus becoming yet another example of the growing normalisation of the stigma affecting men in teaching and care giving roles.

I implore the meainstream media to resist publishing this type of destructive drivel.

 

When our first daughter was born my husband and I made a family rule: no man would ever babysit our children. No exceptions. This includes male relatives and friends and even extra-curricular and holiday programs …

No one told her she’s off the planet? Or maybe they just quietly thought it, given how few sleepovers her friends have agreed to:

When my daughter goes on play dates I make sure that she will be supervised by a woman at all times. So far she has only slept at one friend’s house. Beforehand I spoke to my friend about our rule and clarified that if she’s going to pop out to shops for example and intends to leave our daughter in the care of her husband or another man then the sleepover cannot happen…

As you can imagine, this was not an easy conversation to have.

 

Click on the link to read And You Say You Want Male Teachers!

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Click on the link to read Double Standards on Gender When it Comes to Teaching

Click on the link to read Sexism and Schools

 

 

There’s More Effective Methods than Simply Punishing Bullies

February 12, 2017

bully-sandwhich-board

Here is one method that is more effective in counteracting bullying than punishments:

 

SCHOOLYARD bullies are more often stopped by meetings with their victims than by being punished, new research has revealed.

A study of 25 Australian schools found the best way to curb bullying was through ­restorative practice — asking a bully to reflect on the damage they have done and “act ­restoratively”.

Mediation and improving the social skills and assertiveness of victims also helped, schools said. But direct sanctions, such as verbal reprimands and detentions, were labelled least effective.

Researcher adjunct professor Ken Rigby, from the University of South Australia, said schools weren’t going soft on bullying by tackling the issue with mediation and meetings.

“You can’t stop all cases of bullying,” Prof Rigby said. “But teachers are increasingly seeing that direct sanctions don’t work particularly well.”

The study, published in the Australian Journal of Education, found some schools used direct sanctions in cases of extreme bullying or when restorative practice had failed.

Elwood Primary School uses mediation and meetings with students to stop bullying, but doesn’t punish kids with ­detention.

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Teachers Who Agree With This Guy Should Be De-Registered

January 30, 2017

gavel

Agree with this guy? You don’t belong in a classroom!

 

A MALE teacher of disabled students, who has been charged with accessing child pornography on the internet, has claimed he should be able to teach again, because no children were harmed.

The Queensland teacher was putting forward an argument to get his registration suspension lifted, so he could teach again before the three charges are heard in court.

He is facing charges of possessing child exploitation material and using a carriage service to access and transmit child pornography.

Queensland College of Teachers suspended the teacher’s registration on December 16 last year, after he was charged.

In his submission to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the teacher, who cannot be named, did not submit the charges were unfounded.

Instead, he argued the charges were only internet-related, and there was no suggestion any child under his care had been harmed.

 

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The Staggering Amount of Teacher Reported Child Abuse Cases

January 19, 2017

child-abuse

This is an indication that our teachers are vigilant, that they fundamentally care about their students and that they are really well educated about the signs of possible child abuse:

 

SCHOOL teachers are increasingly becoming child ­protection watchdogs with soaring numbers of abuse reports being made to authorities.

New figures reveal 5244 reports made by school staff were investigated by authorities in 2015-16, up from 4599 the previous year.

The data, due to be released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in the coming months, underlines the rising responsibilities of teachers.

Principals say an increased focus on domestic violence, and the inquiry into institutional child sex abuse could be driving the higher number of reports. Victorian Principals Association president Anne-Maree Kliman called for the reporting process to be streamlined, with some teachers stuck on the phone to authorities for up to an hour and other reports not immediately followed up.

“The time delay is a bother and I wonder how many calls got missed because of that,” Ms Kliman said.

“Sometimes we also get push-back from the (Health and Human Services) department asking what we think they should be doing.

“It’s not our job to be making those decisions.”

A Respectful Relationships program, aimed at tackling domestic violence, will be rolled out in schools this year.

It will include showing younger students pictures of both boys and girls doing the dishes and kicking the footy in an attempt to smash gender stereotypes, “gender literacy” and warnings about pornography for older students.

Judy Crowe, from the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals, said decades of training teachers had created a culture of reporting abuse.

“Reporting abuse is so important that it transcends concern about teachers being expected to do things that put extra work on them,” she said. “Government schools have a reasonably good record in this arena.”

The Australian Education Union’s Victorian president, Meredith Peace, said schools needed long-term state and federal funding to help the “most vulnerable” students.

The State Government last year spent $51 million on about 640 student support staff, including half who were psychologists and one in five who were social workers.

An Education Department spokesman said new standards ensured schools were “well prepared to protect children from abuse and neglect”.

 

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Are School Uniforms Sexist?

January 11, 2017

sexist_uniforms

 

My female students tell me that they would much prefer wearing pants to skirts and dresses. They say that pants are far more comfortable and more suitable for P.E. and playing on the monkey bars during recess.

Are uniforms sexist? I don’t think so.

That argument is going too far and it causes girls to think of themselves as victims when they aren’t.

Having said that, I hope that girls are given the option of wearing school sanctioned trouser options so that they can feel comfortable at school. They may not be victims, but there is still an opportunity there to address their comfort needs.

The debate about whether or not it’s sexist has heated up in recent weeks:

 

Cultural learning senior lecturer and psychologist Amanda Mergler pointed out in her piece on The Conversation that some parents felt requiring their daughters to wear dresses and skirts was outdated and amounted to gender disadvantage.

To this, I say piffle.

Dresses are not passe. Skirts are not discriminatory or symbols of sexism. They do not limit female power or confidence.

And having our boys and girls dressed the same — as boys, effectively — does not make them the same.

They are not, never should be, and clothes do not make the man (or woman). Celebrate difference, because difference between genders does not mean better or worse and schoolchildren should not be encouraged to see themselves as a homogenous, genderless blob.

Dresses are not by their nature sexualising creations.

Dresses and skirts are cooler in the heat of summer, have more wriggle room for wearers and are more easily kept looking neat.

But there are naysayers. A Journal of Gender Studies paper published in 2013 said dresses and skirts as school uniforms “ritualised girling” and affected the performance of the wearer.

Proponents of homogeny say dresses require girls to be more demure, and to walk, run and sit differently.

Dresses have a habit of ballooning in a breeze and girls are always at risk of showing their underwear.

The anti-dress brigade also argues dresses make girls more quickly available sexually. Yes, they seriously say that.

It is not sexist to wear a dress, just as it is not sexist to call someone a woman, as if by saying that, it is all she is. It is discriminatory to act as if wearing a skirt delegates that person to a lesser station, which is effectively what is contended by Mergler.

This is political correctness gone loopy, a distraction from the core issues around school uniforms. Surely, they are about practicality, appropriateness and, because this is a world where we seem to require it in every facet, choice that are subjects of discussion, not whether girls should wear dresses.

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Things Your Teachers Taught You That Are Wrong

January 4, 2017

teacher-myths

A great list compiled and written by Misty Adoniou:

 

1. You can’t start a sentence with a conjunction

Let’s start with the grammatical sin I have already committed in this article. You can’t start a sentence with a conjunction.

Obviously you can, because I did. And I expect I will do it again before the end of this article. There, I knew I would!

Those who say it is always incorrect to start a sentence with a conjunction, like “and” or “but”, sit in the prescriptivist camp.

However, according to the descriptivists, at this point in our linguistic history, it is fine to start a sentence with a conjunction in an op-ed article like this, or in a novel or a poem.

It is less acceptable to start a sentence with a conjunction in an academic journal article, or in an essay for my son’s high school economics teacher, as it turns out.

But times are changing.

2. You can’t end a sentence with a preposition

Well, in Latin you can’t. In English you can, and we do all the time.

Admittedly a lot of the younger generation don’t even know what a preposition is, so this rule is already obsolete. But let’s have a look at it anyway, for old time’s sake.

According to this rule, it is wrong to say “Who did you go to the movies with?”

Instead, the prescriptivists would have me say “With whom did you go to the movies?”

I’m saving that structure for when I’m making polite chat with the Queen on my next visit to the palace.

That’s not a sarcastic comment, just a fanciful one. I’m glad I know how to structure my sentences for different audiences. It is a powerful tool. It means I usually feel comfortable in whatever social circumstances I find myself in, and I can change my writing style according to purpose and audience.

That is why we should teach grammar in schools. We need to give our children a full repertoire of language so that they can make grammatical choices that will allow them to speak and write for a wide range of audiences.

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