Sunday, March 20, 2016

Why is Life So Cray Cray?

And yes, I used the words cray cray.  Since my last post...

It's been very busy, and I've barely been the in the classroom.  At the end of February, I attended the National Conference on Bullying and Child Victimization.  I mentioned agreeing to this in a previous post.  I learned a lot about bullying.  What it is, and what it isn't.  A quick run down for those that don't know:

  • There needs to be an imbalance of power.  For example, a group of students against one student or upperclassmen against lowerclassmen.  
  • It needs to be repeated.
If there isn't an imbalance of power or it's not repeated, it might be mean (and still needs to be handled), but it's not bullying.

Don't label:
  • A student who bullies instead of calling the student a bully.
  • The targeted student instead of the victim.
We took the red eye out so we could spend one day at Universal and experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  It was amazing.  I can't wait to experience the one here in California.  

We also did a half-day pass to Seaworld, which was within walking distance of our hotel, and enjoyed the afternoon and evening there.

At Universal, Seaworld, the hotel, and the restaurant across the street, I was consistently amazed at how friendly everyone in Florida was.

The biggest takeaway, the session that stood out to me most at this conference, was the one I attended for the One Leg at a Time group.  This is a student-led initiative and not an adult one (there are of course adults involved).  It was really amazing and inspiring to see these kids take an active role in being better people and trying to get their classmates to be better people too.

I had three days in the classroom when I got back--interrupted by the weekend--before I had to be pulled out with half the department to grade district writing assessments, which is never fun and--considering our school does school-wide writing four times a yea--very unnecessary for us.  

I finally had a full week with my kids after that, though time with my 10th graders was interrupted with registration one day, and then another time this past week.

Then, I was out the last two days for CUE 2016. But, before that...

All hell broke loose on campus because of a phone app called Ogle.  I was notified about it by a student early Tuesday morning before my 10th graders registered.  I downloaded it to see what the student was talking about and showed admin right away. It is a horrible, horrible app that the students are using to bully and demean each other and staff (the post about me is so awful and vulgar that I can't show you) and distribute porn (including nudes of each other).  

Threats were made against the school through this app, which is anonymous, and now the FBI is involved.  

Despite the horrid way many of us were made to feel, there were a few lights that this darkness revealed:
  • Many students are willing to report such behavior and do what they need to to protect themselves and their friends.
  • Many students care enough about their teachers (me) to stand up against those that say vile things about them.
The week before all this went down, I was put in charge of the group of kids called Safe School Ambassadors I talked about before.  I have a feeling/am hoping that a lot more students want to join us for tomorrow's meeting and make a difference in the culture of the school and how we treat each other.

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