The School Where Clapping is Banned

July 21, 2016
The Elanora public school’s newsletter banned clapping out of ‘respect’ for noise-sensitive students who may now ‘punch the air’ or do ‘silent cheers’. Picture: Elanora Heights Public School


If we keep fashioning school rules to look after the 1% at the expense of the 99%, it will have a dramatic effect on the kids’ general enjoyment of school.

I love to clap. I clap my students all the time. One of my students wrote a recount today that was so funny and perceptive I found myself laughing and clapping throughout the whole thing. The rest of the class were doing the same.

Yes, I am aware that there are students who find loud noises quite difficult, and I obviously care about their needs too. But the reality is, that if you put 25 kids in a room you are going to get noise. Schools are not libraries and shouldn’t have to adopt library etiquette just because some have sound sensitivities.

Schools that look after their 1% need to ensure that their rules don’t inhibit the enjoyment of the 99%, because then you don’t have a school the wider student community can enjoy:


CLAPPING has been banned at a Sydney primary school which has introduced “silent cheering”, “pulling excited faces” and “punching the air” to respect students who are “sensitive to noise”.

The school now only allows its pupils “to conduct a silent cheer” when prompted by teachers and says the practice “reduces fidgeting”.

Elanora Heights Public School, which is on Sydney’s northern beaches, announced its new “silent cheer” policy in its latest school newsletter.

The latest example of a political correctness outbreak in Australian schools, which have banned hugging, singing Christmas carols, celebrating Australia Day and singing the word “black” in the nursery rhyme “baa baa black sheep”.

The ban on clapping at Elanora Heights Primary School emerged on the same day that an exclusive girls school banned teachers from calling “ladies” or “women” in favour of “gender-neutral” terms.

In its July 18 newsletter, the Elanora school has published an item under the headline “Did you know” that “our school has adopted silent cheers at assembly’s” (sic).

“If you’ve been to a school assembly recently, you may have noticed our students doing silent cheers,” the item reads.

“Instead of clapping, the students are free to punch the air, pull excited faces and wriggle about on the spot.

“The practice has been adopted to respect members of our school community who are sensitive to noise.

“When you attend an assembly, teachers will prompt the audience to conduct a silent cheer if it is needed.

“Teachers have also found the silent cheers to be a great way to expend children’s energy and reduce fidgeting.”


Click on the link to read Don’t Blame Teachers for National Anthem Furor

Click on the link to read Stay Away From You Students’ Facebook Pages

Click on the link to read Teacher Claims he Didn’t Think Sex Abuse Was a Crime

Click on the link to read The Classroom Incident that Isn’t Seen as Child Abuse but Actually Is

And You Say You Want Male Teachers!

July 14, 2016



I’ve heard it all before.

“Where are all the male teachers?”

“If there were only more male teachers!”

“What these children need are positive male rolemodels.”

Don’t listen to them men. The reality does not fit the theory that male teachers would be welcomed into the profession with open arms. In fact, it’s worse than that. There is a prevailing stigma that our intentions are not the same, that our conduct isn’t as righteous and it is much harder for a male to gain the trust a female teacher gets.

I am not playing the victim here. I don’t want sympathy. I’m just advising any prospective male teachers to watch out.

Take this news article about male teachers below the age of 50 being purposely overlooked for teaching jobs in an all girls school. How are we supposed to react to this? And don’t argue that this is an isolated case. No, on the contrary, this kind of thing does happen all over the world.


Under the new policy, unveiled on July 13, teachers below the age of 50 (as on June 30, 2016) will not be eligible for transfer to any government secondary school for girls. The policy is applicable with effect from the academic session 2016-17.

Ram Bilas Sharma, the education minister of Haryana, has said teachers are to submit their choice of schools online for transfer from this academic session onwards. “Any teacher who has not completed 50 years as on June 30, should not opt for girls’ school. Even if any teacher opts for it, he would not be considered for transfer,” he said.


Click on the link to read A Male Teacher Drought or a Great Teacher Drought?

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

Click on the link to read Sexism and Schools

Click on the link to read I Would be Happy to Have CCTV Cameras in My Classroom

Funny Things Students Do and Say

July 13, 2016


Below is a list of 21 anecdotes shared by teachers on Reddit (courtesy of


1. “I was having a conversation with my manager, and my second grade student comes out of the classroom and says very seriously… ‘Can I poop?'”

2. “I was with a student, waiting late after a rehearsal. The kid called home: ‘Hey, can you tell mom to pick me up? Oh, she’s in the shower … what about dad? He’s in the shower too….?’ Then he turned to me and said, ‘It’s going to be awhile, Mr. M.'”

3. “A student was mad at me because I made him redo a math test, so he walked over to the classroom door. When I told him I would need to call the office if he left the room without permission, he proceeded to slam his own leg in the door about five times. Then he looked at me and said, ‘Now my leg hurts and I’m going to tell everyone it was your fault.'”

4. “I had a student who had extreme test anxiety. Every time we went to take a test he would throw up. After vomiting he would be fine, but he had to spew everywhere first for stress reduction or something. I would seat him next to the bathroom and provide a bucket. Now this worked on normal days, but during our state testing, he would not be able to go to the restroom unless I first called an administrator to escort him. On the big testing day, we practiced breathing techniques. I had a handy vomit bucket for him, and we were ready to go. After ten minutes, he sure enough looked like he was going to be sick. Except he forgot about the bucket. He vomited and then tried to hold it in his mouth. He shoved his puke back in his mouth, swallowed and smiled at me and gave me a thumbs-up. Horrified, yet simultaneously holding back laughter, I gave him wipes and a bunch of mints. The kid did great on the test in the end.”

5. “My classroom carpet had the alphabet border around the edges. One of my pre-school students, Demetrius, likes to sit on the letter D because it’s the first letter of his name. One day, Zaria sits on the letter D. Demetrius gets in her face and yells, ‘Zaria! Get off my D!’ I lost it.”

6. “One kid who didn’t have that much money wanted to make personalized bookmarks for the rest of the class. Because his family didn’t have much money, he decided to look around his dad’s work place to find something he could use. In the trash can there were a bunch of long strips of cardboard. The only thing was the cardboard came from cigarette cartons because his dad worked at a liquor store. So on one side there was a kid’s name and cute pictures, and on the other was blatant advertising for Marlboro, Pall Mall, Camel, you name it. It was so hard to not laugh when he came up to me and excitedly showed them. This was my first time working in a classroom, and I had no idea what to do. The teacher ended up having me take them to the supply room and laminate them with construction paper covering the other side. We told the kid it would help them last longer. His bookmarks were every one’s favorite gift.”

7. “A student walking down the hallway had his Darth Vader mask confiscated by the principal. The kid replied the right way. He dropped to his knees and did the most perfect Vader ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!’ The principal looked at me as the hall burst into laughter.”

8. “I was teaching English to a class of primary school Thai kids. I was teaching them plurals by showing them a slideshow of cartoon monsters (‘It has three eyes’, ‘It has four legs,’ etc) and getting them to tell me how many limbs each monster had. One little kid, five-years-old, got really into it, and on one monster shoots his hand in the air and comes out with: ‘It has one….ANUS!’ I was speechless for a second so he jumped up on his chair, backwards, bends over and starts pointing to his butt shouting, ‘NO TEACHER! ANUS! IT’S ANUS!'”

9. “Female science teacher here. I was about two weeks into my first job. Another student dropped a pen by accident, so I picked it up. I stood up to find one of the biggest boys in the class (about 14-years-old) standing right next to me. He got even closer, and said, ‘Good girl.’ I was kind of shocked, so just said, ‘Excuse me?’ and he replied with the creepiest ever top-to-toe survey of my body, a leer and then asked, ‘Would you rather be a bad girl?’ My whole body just recoiled.”

10. “When reading Hamlet with the class, after Ophelia’s line about Hamlet, ‘To speak of horrors – he comes before me,’ a kid said, ‘Hamlet, get it together, man.’ I cracked up. The other kids didn’t get it luckily.”

11. “My grandma was a kindergarten teacher for a long time and has some funny stories. Once a quiet kid randomly came up to her and said, ‘Mrs. H, Jimmy said the f––– word.'”

12. “I teach undergrad courses. I caught a student that had plagiarized a few paragraphs in one of her papers. I asked her to stay after lecture and sat her down, asking if she had plagiarized her paper. Her eyes got huge, she welled up and then she said, ‘I did! I’m so sorry! I was so tired and had so much work and my roommate told me to do it and said you would never find out.’ Then with the most serious expression she whispered,  ‘And, I know now she’s the devil!’ I did not laugh even though I really wanted to.”

13. “One time a kid twisted another kids nipple as he raised his hand to answer a question.”

14. “There were fish tanks in our high school biology lab. A student pulled some brightly colored fish gravel out, dried it off, gave it to two of the ‘popular girls’ and told them it was pop rocks. They tried to eat it, which obviously didn’t go well, so they, of course, loudly complained to the teacher. When the teacher got involved the instigator said, ‘Everyone knows we’re not allowed to eat in the biology lab, so it’s really their own fault for breaking the rules.'”

15. “My friend’s wife is a high school music teacher, and once when she went into class and to get set up, she sees this kid take his trombone and place it between his legs and slid the slide out going, ‘Look, I got a tromboner.'”

16. “Half way through Animal Farm, a student says, ‘Wait a minute. This book has talking animals in it!?'”

17. “I had a kid in my music history class say ‘Queen Dildo’ instead of ‘Queen Dido’ for the whole first act of the play we were reading in class.”

18. “I showed my students a picture of the Titanic on its end beside the Eiffel Tower to give an idea of scale. A student asked how they got the big boat to balance while they took the photo.”

19. “A student called me ‘Mom’ recently. I’m a male with a giant beard.”

20. “A nursing student that my roommate was dating asked me if eggs (like chicken eggs that you eat for breakfast) were considered a fruit or vegetable.”

21. “A student once asked me what I did for a living.”

Teacher Pens Moving Letter to Autistic Student

July 12, 2016



Above is a letter sent by the teacher of an 11-year old autistic boy and has been shared by the boy’s mother.

It reinforces what all teachers believe: That our students true worth can not be adequately measured by any standardised test or assessment.

Still, for the teacher to go to the trouble to compose this letter and send it to her student is extremely inspiring.

I may start to do the same.


Click on the link to read Music Teacher Makes History at the Superbowl

Click on the link to read A Profession that Truly Cares

Click on the link to read Connecting With Your Students is the Key to Teaching Them Effectively

Click on the link to read Teachers can Make a Real Difference!

Parenting Makes Me a Better Teacher

July 11, 2016



So leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom has been asked to apologise for making the following comment:


Genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.


Well, I am absolutely unapologetic when I say that being a parent has made a very profound impact on the quality of my own teaching.

It makes a big difference when you have your own children to measure decisions against. When I’m faced with a conundrum, I frequently ask myself:


What would I want the teachers of my children to do in such a situation?

Would I be satisfied if my child’s teacher taught the skill in that way?

Would I accept it if my child’s teacher told her to “toughen up” when confronted with what they thought was a minor issue?


These questions are constantly part of my teaching reflection and help motivate me to provide my students with better outcomes and more of my attention.

So if a leadership aspirant wants to use her parenting experiences to get more out of herself and offer others better outcomes, who am I to object?

Not all teachers who are parents are good at what they do and not all childless teachers need children to gain the perspective that I employ, but surely it shouldn’t offend to say that having children has the capacity to give a parent a better understanding about how to look after those who find it difficult to look after themselves.

Don’t apologise Andrea!


Click on the link to read Saying “No” to Kids is Very Difficult, But Essential (Video)

Click on the link to read A Song for Exhausted Mothers

Click on the link to read Girl’s Hilarious Attempt at Getting a Day Off School

Click on the link to read The Love a Child Has for Their Parents Cannot be Properly Measured

Click on the link to read Hilarious School Drop-Off Clip Goes Viral


Protect Our Teachers

July 6, 2016



Schools are some of the most common places for disaffected teens to become violent.

Our High School teachers are increasingly likely to be the victims of such outbursts.

What is being done about it?

The damage incurred when a teacher gets harmed by a violent student is overwhelming. It sends the message that teaching is a dangerous profession and that teachers are sitting ducks.

Our judges must consider this when deciding upon penalties. Because if they don’t make an example of offenders, they become complicit in the eventual outcome – great teachers will forgo the profession to choose something safer and less stressful.

Cases like the one below should encourage the public to pressure the courts to act. Immediately!


A teacher who was stabbed in the classroom by a 14-year-old pupil has recalled the horrific moment he was wounded with the six inch knife.

Vincent Uzomah, 51, from Leeds, was working as a supply teacher at Dixons Kings Academy, in Bradford, when the shocking attack took place in June 2015. 

Speaking to Leah Green on a new 5Star documentary airing this week, Vincent said he has been unable to return to work since the terrifying incident and is still struggling to understand why he was targeted. 

This case was particularly heinous due to the reaction of the student bystanders. I wrote about it here.

Click on the link to read Good Intentions Doesn’t Equate to Good Teaching

Click on the link to read Teachers Have to Maintain Their Self-Control

Click on the link to read Teachers Confess Their Sins

Teacher Who Offers to Handshake a Parent Investigated for Sexual Assault

June 26, 2016



Why is this being investigated?

Doesn’t the authorities understand how potentially damaging it is for a teacher to be investigated for a sexual offense? Not to mention the stress involved.

This should have been thrown out straight away, with the complainer told off for being out of line.


German police are investigating a female teacher after a Muslim Imam refused to shake her hand – and then filed a complaint against her for harassment and discrimination.

Imam Kerim Ucar had been called in to see the female teacher at a school in Berlin over complaints about his son’s behaviour. 

But when the teacher welcomed him into her office and offered him her hand, he reportedly refused to shake it. 

Upset at the rejection, the teacher reportedly attempted to explain why it was important and when he repeatedly refused to shake hands, she decided to end the meeting.

But although the teacher made no formal complaint, the Imam went to police and filed a criminal complaint against the teacher at the Platanus School in Berlin, citing religious discrimination and xenophobic behaviour.

The Imam, a member of the conservative Shiite sect, said that the criminal complaint was justified because he had made it clear at the start of the conversation that he had no interest in shaking the hands of a woman as it was against his religion.

He said he had generously offered to place his hands on his chest as a sign of greeting, and was offended when she told him this was not enough.

He added: ‘I was certainly very calm about the whole thing, after all, I waited for a whole week for her to apologise. It was only when that did not happen that I instructed my lawyer to file a criminal complaint.’

His wife Dilek Ucar has meanwhile removed the children from the school. She told German broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg: ‘I no longer have any confidence that they will teach the children in a correct way.’

Click on the link to read A Day in the Life of a Substitute Teacher

Click on the link to read Good Intentions Doesn’t Equate to Good Teaching

Click on the link to read Teachers Have to Maintain Their Self-Control

Click on the link to read Teachers Confess Their Sins

This is What Happens When a Teacher Hits His Student (Photos)

June 22, 2016



I hate corporal punishment.

I hate that it’s legal in some states in the US. And I hate that terrible teachers use it as a crutch to establish control of their class.

These pictures are hard to watch, but important for establishing the inhumanity and barbarity that corporal punishment can cause:


A primary school pupil in China has been brutally punished by his teacher for giving the wrong answer to a maths question.

Pictures have emerged on social media showing the 11-year-old, named Xiao Yong, left with dozens of bloody marks on his back and legs.

The maths teacher, surnamed Yue, has been suspended by the Xianglu Village Central Primary School in the city of Shiyan, central China’s Hubei Province, according to a Weibo post by People’s Daily Online.

According to reports, Xiao Yong, a grade-five student, was whipped by Yue, his maths teacher, with a power cable in the afternoon of June 17.

Yue had asked Xiao Yong to go up to the classroom and answer a question written on the blackboard.

Xiao Yong was chosen because he had received the worst score in his class – 81 out of 100 points – in a previous examination.

However, Xiao Yong failed to answer the question, which enraged Yue, who is in his 50s. 

Yue found a power cable in the classroom and savagely beated Xiao Yong.

It’s reported that the metal core of the cable had been previously removed when Yue used it to smack Xiao Yong, but the pupil still screamed as he was punished in front of the whole class, the report said.

After Xiao Yong returned home after school, he did not dare to speak about the beating to his grandparents, with whom he lives. 

However, one of his cousins discovered the scars after hearing the child complaining about aches on his body. 


Click on the link to read Another Brutal Corporal Punishment Incident (Video)

Click on the link to read If My School Approved of Corporal Punishment I Would Resign Instantly

Click on the link to read A Message to Those that Advocate Corporal Punishment

Click on the link to read YouTube Clip of High School Student Getting Slapped by Teacher

Click on the link to read 19 US States Still Allow Corporal Punishment in their Classrooms

Teaching Body Image at Primary and Secondary Levels

June 21, 2016


Courtesy of the Guardian online:


Start by getting your pupils to think about different representations of bodies on screen with this resource pack from IntoFilm. It includes background information and discussion questions to tackle after watching films such as The Girl With the World in her Hair, The Elephant Man, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

In her brilliant letter to her teenage daughter, Caitlin Moran advises: “Stay at peace with your body. While it’s healthy, never think of it as a problem or a failure. Pat your legs occasionally and thank them for being able to run. Put your hands on your belly and enjoy how soft and warm you are – marvel over the world turning over within.”

Ignite your pupils’ fascination with the inner workings of their bodies with this detailed resource from Teaching Packs. It explains several incredible processes including how blood travels, what bones are made of and how skin responds to touch and pain.

You can also get your pupils to think about the power of their bodies with this investigation from Teachit Primary. It works on the hypothesis “people with long legs jump the furthest” – and introduces the ideas of prediction, fair testing and analysing results. Twinkl also has this dice race activity to get pupils thinking about different kinds of faces. Working in pairs, they have to roll dice and draw the feature linked to each number – the first to get a complete face wins the game.

Your students probably know their bodies will undergo changes as they grow up, but the idea can be unsettling. Get them up to speed with what to expect using this clear worksheet. It shows the changes that puberty brings to both male and female bodies, with a labelling activity to demonstrate their understanding.

Finally, you can teach your pupils the importance of self-belief with this extract from the confidence-building book Being Me and Loving It. The tale follows Noah, who is initially scared to show off his knowledge about space and try new things because he is worried about what other will think of him. The related discussion asks pupils to think about their attitudes towards themselves and how they can stay positive.


Should we be worried about cosmetic surgery? Is the fashion industry to blame for anorexia among young people? Is Barbie’s new body a win for feminism? These are some of the questions explored in this collection of articles from The Day. Each topic is examined through a student-friendly news story and a selection of linked activities, plus a glossary of useful vocabulary.

Meanwhile, IntoFilm also offers a look at body image for older students through a series of thought-provoking cinematic outings, including: Milo (about a boy with a rare skin disease); Eating Lunch (about living with an eating disorder); and Girl Model (a documentary about the exploitative machinations of the modelling industry).

It can also be helpful to remind your students that the notion of what constitutes a beautiful body has changed dramatically throughout history. This interesting video looks at how the ideal female body shape has changed over time, from the Greek fashion for rounded curves to the 1990s look of “heroin chic”. It could be useful for sparking discussion and debate among your classes.

And it’s also important that students understand that the images of beauty they are confronted with each day have been digitally manipulated to achieve a certain look. This self-esteem workshop (and associated worksheets) from Sport Relief offers inside information on image manipulation. Follow-up tasks ask students to prepare a role play discussing why they can’t look like the people in the pictures and exploring ways to battle body anxiety.


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

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?

A Maths Quiz That Manages to be Racist and Sexist

June 14, 2016


Racist! Sexist! Vile! Take your pick.

Below are some of the insanely grotesque questions asked of students in an actual math test:


  • Ramon has an AK-47 with a 30-round clip. He usually misses 6 out of every 10 shots and he uses 13 rounds per drive-by shooting. How many drive-by shootings can Ramon attempt before he has to steal enough ammunition and reload?
  • Leroy has 2 ounces of cocaine. If he sells an 8 ball to Antonio for $320 and 2 grams to Juan for $85 per gram, what is the street value of the rest of his hold?
  • Dwayne pimps 3 ho’s. If the price is $85 per trick, how many tricks per day must each ho turn to support Dwayne’s $500 per day crack habit?
  • Tyrone knocked up 4 girls in his gang. There are 20 girls in the gang. What percentage of the girls in the gang has Tyrone knocked up?


The teacher has been put on administrative leave. I hope we never see from him/her again.


Click on the link to read Introducing the 5-Year-Old Math Genius (Video)

Click on the link to read Parents Struggle with Modern Day Math Questions

Click on the link to read Teachers Deserve Blame for Maths Disaster

Click on the link to read Proof that Maths Can be Cool (Video)


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