This is an issue that will only increase in this millennium. Teacher training is key.
Teachers should never be alone with students. This is something the faculties need to teach student teachers. The same principle applies on-line.
Teachers should refrain from on-line interactions of a personal nature. Keep it professional.
Horror stories abound.
I had students send me dirty jokes. These were grade 6 students. They sent them to me at my school board's email, which the board has the right to monitor. The students were also sending vulgar photos they purported to be jokes. I told them they must stop this. It could have meant my job.
It is important to keep a professional boundary between yourself and your students. You are not their friends, you must be like their parent, unafraid to discipline and show them where the line is that they must not cross. Faculties are weak in the areas of classroom control, very weak in technology lessons.
Novice teachers should be informed about the potential of experiencing violence in their classrooms, and then equipped with preventative methods to minimize the probability. Teacher preparation programs need to include child and adolescent development courses where behavioral, neural and development principles are discussed. Classroom management/engagement should be included throughout the program and revisited when students are doing their student-teaching and practicum. Teacher candidates should learn the integrated three-tiered models of prevention and understand the importance of intervening at the primary, secondary and tertiary level. They should be encouraged to view each student individually and tailor instruction appropriately. Preservice teachers and teachers who are currently practicing need to understand how some of their own responses to students could promote the conditions for violence in the classroom. Through professional development and in-service programming, current teachers could learn strategies to diffuse conflicts in order to prevent escalation such as techniques for interrupting the acting out cycle (Colvin, 2004).
For stories about the most amazing staff, you must visit this high school via This American Life.
This American Life segments are devoted to the violence affecting Harper High School. During the 2011-2012 school years, 29 current and former students were shot. Twenty-one were wounded; eight died.
Guns are rampant in this neighbourhood. It shows how horrible they are with drive by shootings by gangs, and young children who witness death on a regular basis. What has helped in this school are supportive funding, which is about to run out, for special needs schools. Their multi-million dollar budget is about to lose $1.6 million next year, with staff cuts, including these miracle teachers.
Schools who are at risk for violence, social and emotional ills best remedied by social work intervention, supportive staff, breakfast programs, computers, emergency housing and clothing.
"I appreciate you in advance for getting to class on time!" One social worker declares.
I remember using this tactic in my classrooms: "Thank you for putting that into the recycling!" referring to a piece of paper on the floor. They do, surprisingly.
"We are not selling crack. Pull your pants up, nobody wants to see the crack of your butt, baby!" the principal tells one student! They are corrected with boundless love, joy and humour.
Harper High School, a Chicago public school located on the south side, serving the West Englewood neighborhood. The school was founded in 1911, and was named after William Rainey Harper, a noted educator, biblical scholar and university president. Harper serves a primarily African American population of approximately 638 students.
This school isn't the only one. It is indicative of the realities of many inner city schools.
One tweet, from a listener:
We spent five months at Harper High School in Chicago, where last year alone 29 current and recent students were shot. 29. We went to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all this gun violence, how teens and adults navigate a world of funerals and Homecoming dances. We found so many incredible and surprising stories, this show is a two-parter; Part One airs this week, Part Two is next week.
We pick up where we left off last week in our second hour from Harper High School in Chicago. We find out if a shooting in the neighborhood will derail the school's Homecoming game and dance. We hear the origin story of one of Harper's gangs. And we ask a group of teenagers: where do you get your guns? Harper has set up a donation page here.
On February 17, 2013, CBC Radio Sunday Edition host Michael Enright interviewed Pasi Sahlberg, author of Finnish Lessons: What Can the Educational World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? Finland routinely scores in the top three among OECD countries, largely because it has rejected just about every North American shibboleth about how to improve education. Students start school at seven (though most enrol in the voluntary pre-school programs). Schools do not grade, rank, or stream students in the first six years. There is a single standardized test taken at age 16. Students get 75 minutes of recess a day. Schools set their own curricula based on very broad national guidelines. Teachers spend 4 hours a day in the classroom. No tough love, no back to the basics, no two hundred fifty day school years. No school sports teams and jock envy (want to play? Join an after school sports group). Yet somehow, at age fifteen, the kids who take the international standardized tests kick our butts (but neither they nor their schools learn the individual results).
In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have. -Lee Iacocca, automobile executive (b. 1924)
"Ignorance is not knowing. Stupidity is the active pursuit of ignorance"
This blog is based on my 25 years as a teacher in Ottawa, now moved to Muskoka, I have time to reflect and put my experiences and opinions out there for others. Teaching is a collective experience, best shared. Visit my resume for more about my teaching background and credentials.
An educator, leader and lifelong learner, Jennifer is an avid reader, writer
and blogger. She has developed expertise in working with a wide range of professionals
in education and health care. This has helped her negotiate with medical staff
while advocating for her parents. She have served on several Boards of Directors. She holds
a degree in Early Childhood Education, also, a B.Ed. and an M.Ed. in Curriculum
and Technology, with experience teaching students from Junior Kindergarten to
grade 8, and a Special Education Specialist, she worked with many special needs
students. She has delivered workshops to peers, and lectured on a part time
basis at the University of Ottawa to student teachers.