Saturday, September 13, 2008

nineteen minutes

I've recently finished reading the Jodi Picoult book '19 minutes'.
This book was so powerful & chilling and unfortunately too realistic in our ever violent society.
It was about a school shooting. It told the story of the build up
of the bullying that led to the shooters final breakdown and retaliation. As horrific as his crimes were, I felt very empathetic and moved by the shooters (short) life story. I just can't shake how this book made me feel.
Something has to be done to protect kids from falling victim to the sick,relentless teasing and abuse of bullies. Usually I like to keep my posts light and fun but I really need to voice something here on my blog. My only platform to promote awareness, my miniscule platform but my way to air my feelings. I NEEd to talk about a fact that wasn't included in this provoking book. The fact that bullying is Not only carried out by students, but by teachers as well. Teachers, when they are insensitive, ignorant, malicious, can in fact, destroy a child's school and social life. If a teacher constantly picks on an academically weak student, by belittling them in front of their peers. Every day, making that child feel inadequate, Every day,Yelling and name calling. Choosing to sit on that child's desk to teach her lesson so she can constantly point her finger at the students papers and say WRONG! What is that teacher breeding in her classroom? She is breeding hatred and resentment towards that ostracized student. She is allowing the naive,impressionable children in her class to believe, that THAt weak student isn't worthy of their respect, their friendship, their tolerance either. She is creating a detrimental situation for an innocent student that can last their entire school career, setting them up to be a victim of continual bullying grade after grade as they ascend with the same group of swayed students. Too often a young, sensitive child, doesn't feel comfortable enough to voice the degree of terror going on in his or her classroom. It's embarrassing, It's threatening and scary. Kids typically believe it MUSt be their own fault.
Administrators visit the classroom periodically, but that doesn't cut down on this type of situation. Teachers are on their best behavior when being sporadically observed. What can be done to prevent this type of bullying? Perhaps it should be mandatory to have at least one teacher aid in each classroom? Someone to bear witness and step up if an abusive situation was to arise? Most districts would argue the expense of such an implementation, but what price can you put on the well being of our children, especially when they are away from their parents watchful, loving eyes? What can parents do to ensure their kids will verbalize a bullying,even if it's coming from someone they've been taught they can trust?
what do you think?


Queen-Size funny bone said...

My daughter was different and hard to teach so she was treated differently by staff and other kids. They labeled her special ed and everyone thought she was stupid and she began to feel that way. It was exhausting for me to fight with the school. kids are cruel but they get this from their home life and much of the time you find the parents are worse than the kids.

Forgetfulone said...

There are teachers like that out there, just as there are doctors who get malpractice suits, pharmacists who screw up prescriptions (like happened to me this week), and so on in every profession there is. But, you are so very right that a teacher makes a huge impact on the kids.

I'm going to defend my profession and say that we only hear about the bad teachers and never about the good ones, the majority, who are making a difference every day. Most teachers are very good at what they do and love kids. Our children's education and self-esteem are critical, but big-brothering with a teacher aide in every room isn't the way for many reasons. Teachers are trained for what they do. Teacher's aides are not.

I don't understand how a teacher could be so cruel and no one knew about it. Kids talk. Everything I say is repeated to other kids, other parents, and other teachers.
Besides, anyone can come in my room at any time. I just don't understand how a teacher could do that and no one knew. That shocks me.

Schools are unfortunately limited in what they can do about bullies. The government (federal and local) has instituted guidelines that often protect the perpetrator rather than the victim, much like our legal system does.

Situations in schools won't change as long as non-educators are making education-related decisions, people who have no clue what it's like to teach in a public school.

Most bullies do get it from home. If all parents were good parents, we might never have to deal with things like this. And sometimes, the victim is also a victim in his/her own home.

For a child to be so bullied that he feels like he has to shoot someone, there is something else going on there other than the typical school bullying situation. We can't say that it was one teacher's fault, or one administrator, or a group of mean kids, or a parent. It's a mental illness that has been made worse by many factors, and the breakdown of a person's mental faculties to the degree that would make him feel so hopeless is not something that happens in a short period of time, but usually grows over years and years.

I guess what I really need to say is that most teachers do their jobs very well, and we can't base how we treat all of them on the actions of one bad apple.

You know I love ya, Lucy!

Anonymous said...

I had a whole comment written out and lost it cuz I was signed in wrong...LOL
so now I'm just writing this:
i'm the best teacher my guys ever had...ROFL
it was much more indepth than that and as long as diane's above but I don't want to rewrite it...LOL...good for you and diane! you're both right on! I won't share the horror stories I hear as a home learning'd both be afraid and you two don't need I deal with what queen mentions on a daily don't want to

Gill said...

I also recently read that book Lucy and it had a huge impact on me too. I so agree with everything you said in your post. I had a teacher, at the age of 7, who made my life an absolute misery. Even now, when I think about her I get a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Violence and cruelty against kids by teachers, fellow students, parents...whoever, is so far-reaching and needs to be addressed to a far greater extent than it is being addressed currently.

Giggles said...

Unfortunately many children carry a lot of baggage to school, abuse, addiction, and neglect. Sadly they are all amalgamated with the healthy children. Sometimes a teacher is the only sane person a child deals with in their whole day! It's the one or two abusive teachers in the batch that spoil it for the others. I am a huge supporter of good teachers, of which I know there are many! But I think some of the bad ones get lost in the mix.
Passionate post Lucy!

Hugs Giggles

Janet said...

Maybe this is the point of that book being written. I just finished it too, and if something good comes of it, so much the better. Such a sad book.

Kelly Simmons said...

Hi Lucy -- I am always amazed at how many people are discussing this book. Always raises lots of questions! If you need another book reco, I'm published by the same team that pubishes Jodi. I'm Kelly Simmons and my first novel is STANDING STILL.
It got great reviews but it's hard to get the word out!
Happy reading . . . .