The Children are Listening. Still.


untitled-image-26The children WERE listening. Heard by me during school bus duty yesterday: (from a fourth grader) “He hates Black people, we’re all gonna die.” (from a 2nd grader in place of the usual good morning greeting) “Ms. Frisella, we’re doomed!” (from another 2nd grader) “He hates Black people and women.” (from the daughter of upstanding citizens, Haitian immigrants) “My brother says they’re gonna come to the door and take my parents back to Haiti.”

All of the above: beautiful, frightened, Black children.
Teachers, parents, everyone???
We’ve got a lot of work to do. Our kids are scared.
Get it together and start talking nice.

Give our kids ways to talk about the election in ways that make them feel safe and heard. Allay the fears-maybe by asking them things like, “So, moving forward, what are things we can do to make your life (this community, this country, the world) a better, more peaceful place? What actions can we take together that will make you feel safe?” Take away the helpless feeling of fear and replace it with positive action.

There is NO excuse for the United States to have had children living in fear yesterday because of the Presidential election results. The grownups did this (no finger-pointing; people in all parties are guilty of the animosity, of crafting fear-inciting ads, of sharing mean-spirited posts and un-fact-based “facts”,  of re-posting great uncle Frank’s “share if you agree!” memes, and of the unkind kitchen table talk- and remember I teach elementary school and “S/he did it FIRST!” bounces right off teachers), and shame on us.

United States, people. Yep, for more than half of us, our candidate didn’t win. We have to move forward and do our best to make the best of an unwanted situation. That’s harder to do for little hearts and minds.

United States. How about we let our kids be kids? How about we stop scaring them? There’s something more important than anybody’s need to post or say something inflammatory.

What, you ask? What’s bigger than my need to make a point on Facebook and burn that old high school classmate who disagrees with me so I can give myself a little false validation? What’s more precious than me using my frantic little typing fingers to put someone down so I can feel superior for just one second?

Children.
They are listening. They have been all along, and they’ve been hearing some pretty scary stuff from us-from those of us whose sacred duty is to look out for them. Teachers, parents, grandparents, mentors and elected officials.

They’re afraid, and for many of them, rightfully so. What are we going to do to make them feel safe and heard?

What are YOU going to do to make them safe?

Peace, friends. untitled-image

 

“Yes, You Are Allowed To Do That!” One Principal’s Mission to Bring Back Play in School


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Let them play.

Every so often I come across a post whose truth needs to be read by as many people as possible. I’m posting this here, I’m tweeting it, and I’m posting to my Facebook page, and I encourage you to link to the story as well. Click the link below for the full post, and thank you Brett Gustafson for sharing this!

by Brett Gustafson As a principal for the last 13 years, I have come to the realization that the biggest threat to the emotional and academic well-being of our children is me – maybe not me persona…

Click for full piece:

“Yes, You Are Allowed To Do That!” One Principal’s Mission to Bring Back Play in School

Teach students to care about others instead of measuring how they compare to each other


Heartfelt post about the Test Mess

This post.  Not my work, but it’s what I would have said, though maybe not as eloquently. Read and share if you would-if you know/are a teacher, parent, or student, you know how vital it is to return to the REAL priorities in education…and in life.

 

Testing my Patience


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How should education ‘start?’ Not like this.

 

(Disclaimer 1: Opinions are my own, though I suspect –okay, I know–many teachers and parents agree, and in no way are intended to represent the opinions or stances of my employers and other related entities)

This week, I have carried a crying child out of a classroom. I have rubbed a brave and sobbing boy’s back. I have led a pre-meltdown boy out of the classroom. I have seen chairs thrown, little girls crying under tables, and pencil tips broken in the hopes of Just. Making. It. Stop. It is only Wednesday and my third day of proctoring the week-long standardized test being given to the Primary students where I work. The class I’m working with? KINDERGARTEN. If these kids weren’t under the nurturing care of the dedicated staff at my school (an oasis in the inner city), all of us doing our best to just get them through this, I don’t know what this week would be like for them.

Make it stop.
Make it stop.

Continue reading

Killing Kindergarten



I read this piece on Huffington Post and had to comment (the link to the article is below):

“Thank you for this post-a perfect illustration of what NCLB and it’s offspring has done to our children (not FOR them). I will repost in the hope that at least one narrow mind might be opened and we can get closer to going back to teaching children, not teaching the test.”

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost