When my sons were in junior high they had to write slam poems. One of my sons wrote about his struggle with having muscular dystrophy and not being able to play sports.  read more →

I wrote to my former elementary school giving them some coupons and telling them who all my teachers were, etc. I was there between 22 and 27 years ago. read more →

I wanted to share an amazing experience we had in the past week.

My daughter attends a small private Lutheran Elementary School in Fort Wayne, IN. Last week, my daughter injured her heel and could not walk on it. After X-rays and a Dr visit, we arrived at school Tuesday morning in a wheelchair. For this small school community, to my knowledge, this was a new experience for the staff and students. read more →

In September of 2005, Martha Cothren, a social studies schoolteacher from Arkansas did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with permission of the school superintendent, the principal, and the building supervisor, she took all of the desks out of the classroom. The kids came into first period, they walked in; there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said, “Where’s our desks?” read more →

You’ve heard the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. When it comes to their education, the same principle should be applied in the form of a positive and proactive partnership between teachers, student and parents.

I’m a huge advocate for clear, open communication between all parties to avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary stress. Good relationships between teachers and parents should be a priority to ensure the best outcome for children.

There are a number of simple things that parents and teachers can do to support one another.

Teachers supporting parents:

Keep parents up to date

Parents who confide in a teacher and don’t receive further feedback on an issue affecting their child can become frustrated and angry. If they’ve made an effort to contact the school, it means they’re genuinely concerned. They need to feel confident their child is being cared for by teachers staying contact and updating them on what’s being done.

Send home a note

Make a special effort to call or send home a note to parents of children who need extra support or are struggling to fit in. A teacher who shares a few kind words about their child’s successes or positive progress will win a parent’s heart in an instant. read more →

Over the years, I have learned so many important things about kindness from my students. I have seen students come together during the most difficult of situations and how much more effective students are when they work together to serve in the community. But I think one of the most beautiful things I have learned about kindness from my students is how to take the everyday things and make them special when a friend is hurting. read more →

A teacher in New York used the crumpled paper exercise to show her students the last impact that bullying can have. read more →

My message to kids who bully other kids is:
You know it’s wrong! What’s really going on? Try not to make somebody else’s life miserable because you are.

– Joe Nichols

Let me begin by saying that I detest the ‘Bully,’ label. Bully is a loaded word. It provokes an emotional reaction of some kind to any person that you mention it to. From outrage to fear, everyone has an opinion. Bully Vs Victim, simple right? I disagree.

For me, this is not simple. Varying levels of light and shade must be considered if we are going to be successful in helping to reduce incidents of nastiness in schools. For a child to carry the label of bully is akin to a prison sentence that will haunt them for his or her school career with little chance of parole. To have the bully label surgically thrust upon you implies that it is a fundamental part of the person that you are, it’s who people are therefore expecting you to be. What a burden for a child to carry. To say that a child is displaying bullying behaviour is so much more positive because behaviours can easily be changed and disposed of so it gives everyone involved hope for change.

I am one of these really irritating people who holds the belief that there is good in 99% of the population and often in places that we are not expecting. My mission in life has always been to try and identify with people and find common-ground. I love words and believe that good quality communication, partnered with love and an attempt at understanding, can help to ease any situation. As a parent to four beautiful babies, I have found this to be extremely challenging at times, as I will explain. read more →

No better exercise for the heart.
I teach newly arrived immigrant teenagers English as a Second Language. Many of these children come to me from countries where their living condition are horrible and life-threatening. Often, one of the parents comes to the US and works, sending home money so that smugglers can be paid to bring other family members here (usually one at a time). These children have risked life and limb to be reunited with their parents and often endure heartbreaking abuse and witness even worse on their journeys here. Yet, every day, I am greeted by their smiling faces as they embark upon this new phase of their life. read more →

Students who are loved at home.
I substituted in first grade today. I taught it the first two years of my 35 year teaching career and realized I was an older kid teacher. But I go where I must these days.

There was one li’l boy who was ferocious and obstinate. I called on every strategy I knew from being a teacher-mom-of-sons, but to no avail. Finally and futilely as I sat next to him as he sobbed because I’d removed him from kicking people in the center and I blurted out what popped into my head. “Riley, may I give you a hug?” I asked. He bolted into my arms, snot and all, and held on for dear….something. read more →

Unkind people need the most love.
My daughter, age 7, was outside with her class one day at school. They were working in the gardens and she asked to go in to use the restroom and her teacher granted her permission. As she headed into the bathroom, a lady stopped her and asked what she was doing. My daughter said she was using the restroom and received a huffed reply that she “can hold it”. My daughter explained that her teacher had given her permission. read more →

My widowed father is getting frail with Alzheimer’s and other medical conditions common for an 88-year old WWII veteran. Just as I was getting ready to teach an after-school class of nine-year olds some science the other day, I get an urgent phone call from my sister. Our dad was being rushed into emergency surgery as we spoke, for a serious bowel obstruction. I was torn between abandoning my job immediately to drive the 2-hour trip to get to him, or stay and teach the eager little faces smiling up at me. Realizing that I could do nothing to help him for at least a few hours, I decided to finish the class.

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