Do any teachers/youth workers/etc have peanut allergies?
My kids love peanut butter. It’s one of their only affordable sources of protein and at the program they can have it for free. So whoever chooses the snack inevitably involves peanut butter somehow.
I’m allergic to peanuts. Not in a severe, even-the-smallest-hint-of-peanut-in-the-air-will-kill-me way, but generally, if I ingest it, bad things happen. I don’t even merit an epipen. But this week, after being in the same small space as a gigantic bowl of peanut butter for several hours, I started getting a severe headache. By the time I was done with the hour-long ride home the problem had progressed to a nearly migraine-level headache, tingling and numbness in one side of my face, mild dizziness, and a swelling throat (though not nearly to the point of suffocation).
For at least part of the day, I can stay on a different floor entirely and it won’t be a problem. But the snack is left out all day, and the room it stays in is a hub for many activities and the most convenient place for anything requiring a table on the ground floor.
If you work with kids and have an allergy like this, how do you handle it? Is there any kind of medication you can take that can stave off these effects, or at least prevent them from getting this bad? I’m kind of at a loss here. I will not tell them they can’t have peanut butter. I should note that this is at a youth center, not a school.
“I’m gonna move to anywhere but Florida ‘cause a black kid got shot ‘cause he was wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles.”—One of my grade schoolers, who is also one of only a few students of color in the area. The only other student who knew what she was talking about is the speaker’s sister, also a student of color. The other students, mostly middle schoolers, were in varying states of incredulity, and an elaboration on the situation sparked varying levels of frustration, disgust, and fueled interest.
This wiki is meant for childcare workers, librarians, teachers and parents interested in reading and sharing picture books where people of color are featured prominently. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all people of color books. Rather, emphasis is placed on finding stories especially appropriate to share with groups of children, five years of age and younger, where people of color characters are shown in contemporary settings.
It makes me so happy to see a resource like this one. I lost track of how many times myself and others have asked about picture books that reflected our classrooms.
“Can’t talk right now, but, look up KhanAcademy online. Supposedly an awesome site for teaching kids math.”—A text that I got from my brother this afternoon. Made me smile. (My brothers are two of the best friends anyone could ask for.)
My own additions before the reblog, for those who may not be aware of what’s been going on: this user has been collecting personal contact information and home addresses of LGBTQ users under the guise of friendship, then using this information to out them to their parents. This was one of their…
The idea of someone being malicious enough to do this makes me very nearly physically ill. I just… I don’t understand it. I CANNOT understand how someone could have so much evil in their hearts to go after people like this and yet still call themselves “Christians”. So much for all this “good will” I’ve had preached to me my whole life.
I reblogged another piece of this on my personal blog, of the OP at the center of this particular storm of hate. It is a message from her specifically, wherein she elaborates on her views (and says that she is not particularly religious herself).
However, it is so horrifying that I am hesitant to reblog it here. I usually have a pretty good stomach for these things, but it churned mine and after the fact brought me to tears.
I don’t want to put that on anyone here. But if you do a search for her name I’m sure it will come up.
What I will tell you is that there is still hope, there is still “good will,” and there are still people who choose to use their hearts for love rather than hate. This is evidenced by the fact that so many people ARE so horrified. Don’t lose faith in people or in good will. It’s out there in you, and me, and anyone who reblogs with messages of support to the LGBTQ community, or of horror at this person’s words. Don’t let individuals like this get the best of you.
Tumblr support's response to reporting sophie-von-bayern
My own additions before the reblog, for those who may not be aware of what’s been going on: this user has been collecting personal contact information and home addresses of LGBTQ users under the guise of friendship, then using this information to out them to their parents. This was one of their latest messages:
…of names, addresses, photos and other personal information about LGBTQ people around the world to establish a LGBTQ database in order to out these LGBTQ people against their will to their friends, families and employers.
In Spring 2012, I had planned to start a website where people could have informed themselves about LGBTQ people (where they live, what they do, who their partners are etc.).
Unfortunately, due to certain laws, I am not able to show this information on a public website.
Instead, I have sent all the information I had collected about LGBTQ people to anti-LGBTQ organisations, mostly from the USA, but also Canada, the UK, New Zealand and Australia.
All these LGBTQ people will be contacted by these (Christian) anti-LGBTQ organisations, sooner or later.
I was just doing my duty and being honest.
I only regret that I will probably never find out what happened to all these LGBTQ people.
Sophie M. Herold
The following is the piece I am reblogging from TransgenderStudentLife, because if you care about the safety of other tumblr users, especially young users or LGBTQ users, you’re going to want to know that this is going on, and raise your voice on this.
“Hello <me>, We realize this content may be very upsetting, but we also highly value freedom of expression and freedom of speech.
Sometimes content posted by a blogger may be mean-spirited or upsetting but does not violate the law. In order to maintain freedom of expression, we cannot remove that material.
You can and should stop viewing content from an offending blogger. If you use Tumblr, you can also Block a blogger at http://tumblr.com/block. This prevents you from seeing content from that blogger on your Dashboard and prevents that blogger from sending you messages via Tumblr.
Thank you for taking the time to share your concern with us.
It’s not that its just offensive, it also poses a risk to the safety of these people. I’m pretty sure stalking people online and posting their pictures, names, and addresses online with the intent of outing them and possibly inciting violence against them violates your terms of service if not the law.
Malicious Bigotry. Don’t actively promote violence or extreme hatred against individuals or groups, on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation. While we firmly believe that the best response to hateful speech is not censorship but more speech, we will take down malicious bigotry, as defined here.
This blog actively seeks out information about LGBTQ+ individuals and sends out that information to hate groups so that they have targets. How does that not count as promoting violence or extreme hatred??
Let’s see, what else… Harm to Minors. Pretty sure some of the people posted were under 18. Oh, and this is a form of cyberbullying, so…
HEY HOW ABOUT THIS ONE, TUMBLR - Stalking or Harassment, and Privacy Violations
And I’m willing to bet there’s probably some sort of phishing and IP logging going on as well. Pretty sure that’s covered under Unlawful Uses and Content or Disruptions, Exploits, and Resource Abuse.
So really, what’s the deal, Tumblr?
Reblogging so that LGBTQ* people are aware of the fact that their personal information may have been given out without their consent.
The response above sums up my “WTF HAVE YOU READ YOUR OWN POLICY” objections.
Ok, tumblr here is the thing with homophobia and transphobia, since you don’t seem to get it. There are people who will happily murder you if they find out you’re queer. They will beat you to death. They will set you on fire. They will tie you to a goddamn fencepost and leave you to die.
There are people who will lose their families, homes, jobs, and friends if they are outed. In a large majority of the world it is both legal and the status quo to actively discriminate against someone because they are queer or trans*.
Freedom of speech is blood on your hands. If you aren’t ashamed yet, you should be.
This response sums up my “SOCIAL JUSTICE OUTRAGE AT TUMBLR” objections.
We started doing character profiles. For every half an hour that they work on the week’s challenge — this one being creating characters — during homework time, they get a piece of currency that lets them into a prize closet.
So far nearly all the kids who started have gone far beyond homework time and currency, and have started forming stories with other kids, and it’s all tying into one great big universe, and that’s what we hoped would happen. Bwahahaha. Subversive education.
I poked my head downstairs to ask an older student, who’d been all for the activity until we actually started it and decided it was “too much work,” what kind of character I should make. She said snidely, “One that explains you.” She thought she was insulting me. But I am becoming fairly immune to her insults in particular.
Instead I went upstairs and designed a character that “explain[ed] me.” She’s an alien from a planet where good words create a good atmosphere — literally, things like sunshine and fresh air and flowers — and negative words make nasty little clouds that block out the sun. She comes to earth and assumes the name Rainbow Jones. She is, of course, a superhero: some kind of ridiculous combination of Sailor Moon, Wonder Woman, Rainbow Brite, and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl.
Apparently she caught on. Now three different students — and the other staff member, thanks boss! — have fashioned characters who are villains, including, to date, an evil cheerleader and her two sidekick prankster siblings. The collaboration came completely organically, after other attempts at producing a collaborative work failed. Everyone just wants to beat all the sunshine out of Rainbow Jones, though with affection.
Now they’re talking about how cool it would be to play it out like a LARP, though they don’t realize it’s a LARP that they’re talking about. So I’ve made the costume as dress-up-able as possible. On top of that, I’m putting together a little comic for them to add on to, whether that be in the form of writing, drawing, or inking (I am so excited, they’re learning about art pen widths, pencil sharpness, and building figures out of shapes) that we hope to sell at the few cons I’m hitting this season, specifically to raise money for the program.
It’s ridiculous. And I promise you all that the Adventures of Rainbow Jones will at some point be posted, whether here or on an offshoot blog, depending on how much we churn out.
Somehow “Watercolor Madness” turned into “watercolor on the lawn because it’s the first day of spring” turned into “everyone paint on each other.”
It was awesome until someone drew some inappropriate anatomy on someone else’s leg and we had to bar them from the paints for the rest of the afternoon. But everyone else had fun, and my supervisor walked away covered with color on just about every inch of available skin. (I got away with a tattoo on my upper arm and a few blotches of paint on my leg, which I know I’m going to forget about tonight and will not be able to wash off entirely in the morning.)
I have a gigantic headache today and can't figure out why. Hrm...
I don’t think I picked up anything from the kids this time, they’ve all been pretty healthy. Well, except for my spunky little anti-bullying grade-schooler, but that was last week and it was mostly coughing.
The schedule I’m on is a little strange — I’m moving from just before 1pm until just after 7pm, which includes an hour drive to and from work each way. Every morning I make a list of things I’m excited that I can get done before noon, but the caveat is always “if I wake up on time,” and on some level my body is well aware that technically, for work purposes, I do not HAVE to wake up earlier than absolutely necessary. It might be the sudden, fairly drastic change in schedule.
And, in addition to this job, I’m also still doing unpaid (“volunteer,” though it’s more a matter of guilting and self-preservation than anything) work for some of the partners (read: all) from my last position. I’m…not sure how to get myself out of it. Nor do I seem to be able to balance it. And I’m just coming into my third week at this job, at which point I’m only now getting into the swing of the schedule. Add to that personal professional projects that have a deadline and the fact that if this next venture of the studio’s doesn’t turn into a profit I’m going to need to pursue another job…ok, so maybe I know where this headache is coming from.
On the bright and sunny side and all that, the kids have really warmed up to me. The character-making activity has attracted more students, in part because if they work on it for half an hour during homework time (since, miraculously, none of them have homework ever, or they’ve done it in school, or insist on doing it at home) and in part because they’re starting to realize that fiction can be whatever they want it to be — collaborative or solo, escapism or therapy. That, and my example was a superhero so of course everyone wants to write a villain now, which is hilarious.
And today is comic arts day, and everyone wants to get to use the really expensive art pens. Which should be interesting if I go with their interests from yesterday and Friday, which was primarily how to draw people. Because all they wanted to do yesterday was argue with me over what did and did not look like a person. Well, with the pens as a final layer maybe it will be easier to see it. In fact I might just go with a giant pad and a sharpie for demonstration. Sorry to talk this out out loud to you all.
Advil and coffee. And coffee. And some more coffee. And hopefully no more nasty dirt-graffiti today, although I can’t help but wonder if it’s going to be a regular thing until that particular student is allowed back.
Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.
Researchers have long known that the “classical” language regions, like Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, are involved in how the brain interprets written words. What scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive.
The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated.
The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.
When one student in particular — the source of the issue that had me walking another student home at the end of the night — is angry with someone, he hits them wherever it will hurt the most, specifically and especially in regard to identity, whether it be race, gender, sexuality, whatever. And last week, because of some severe and persistent issues, he was told he could not come back this week until Friday.
My supervisor, the only other youth worker at the site (it’s a small site), is genderqueer. It isn’t something that’s felt important to mention, because so far it hasn’t been. But today written in the dirt on the side of someone’s car facing the building was “f*ck you queer” (sans the censorship) and on the other, “big deak woman” (deak being a misspelling of a similar-sounding anatomy).
We took a glass of water to it, then a spray bottle, and finally hazarded a paper towel (we’d been reluctant, in case it was alarmed). And I have to hand it to her…though it obviously bothered her, her first verbal response was “And it’s not even my car. Like what, they seriously think I drive a giant blue Subaru?”
If you’re used to an environment that puts emphasis on the importance of language and word-choice, it can be hard to realize how drastic the difference can be between respectful language and some of the ways that individuals can be framed in a conversation as objects. The latter is just something that seems like common sense not to do.
Today’s offenders hail from a combination of the internet and a pick-up shift in retail (all today, no joke):
"the autistic kid"
Sometimes I just don’t know. It’s always seemed like common sense to me.
One thing that occurs to me (and I'm sure you've already tried it, but just in case) is to try to play up the "kids teach/coach the teacher" aspect as much as possible? The way it sounds, most of those kids wouldn't have had many life experiences in which they are in the role of the "expert"? It's really tough to walk the line between a "student" and that of the teacher/authority figure, but it may help you strengthen a relationship of mutual respect with some of them and counteract the teasing.
Answering with the results:
At first this was awesome. Then some kids delighted in the fact that they were better than me at something and decided this meant they ran things, not me. Not all, but enough to cause problems.
In a more structure environment I do find that this works beautifully and highly recommend it — both in extracurricular and classroom use. In a classroom it’s such a novelty for students that it tends to really enliven them — whether it’s for a speech, an instructional writing assignment, a language assignment, etc.
What turned out to work with this particular group, which is full of drama and negative attitudes and explosive tempers, is letting them experiment with something and letting them know that whatever they’re using is really prime materials that they have to be careful with. They see it as a big deal that they’re being trusted enough to use them. Art pens, ukuleles…it might also be that they see something cool that I do and want to do it, so they jump on the chance to do so. They just have to think it’s cool enough, and I can’t make the offer, they have to initiate. I offered to give a salsa lesson and everyone made faces, but over the last two days I’ve had two students try to mimic and then ask for me to show them how when I was salsa dancing in the hall.
I actually don’t know what it is that’s working yet. But I ALMOST sounded like I do, right? It’s all a big game of trial and error right now. I’ve never been in this kind of a situation before, and it’s bizarre.
Gosh, I feel for you! Reading about your current predicament, I have conflicting feelings of sympathy, admiration (for your persistence and sheer commitment), and jealousy (at getting to interact with kids in an area I'd love to but am unable to) battling within me! (Admiration is winning out, by the way. Pretty easily, too.)
You are wonderful, thank you so much.
I’d invite you over to play Gaga Ball on the porch any day of the week. We’ve already decided that we should have a blooper reel made up of me running(/tripping/jumping/slamming) into things. You could give me a breather while I get my shoulder to stop popping (right into the support beam, full speed).
Let’s trade for a week and I can geek out like mad in a context in which I’ll look cool ok? :D
I want to thank everyone for the wonderful feedback.
It’s really heartening to know I have such support in this community. It helps make the world a better place, what you all are doing.
This week something fairly devastating happened to my family. I cannot go into it. But the worst of the news came this morning. I didn’t know if I could even move, let alone go to the program, where I was preparing to be emotionally beaten up again.
Today, something changed.
Today the kids treated me with respect. They all sat down to try drawing. They all treated the materials carefully but worked with enthusiasm, of their own accord. They ooed and aahed at their own results.
They shared. They were mostly calm. They respected each OTHER.
One of them declared me their best friend and hugged me twice. Another said I was the best dancer they’d ever seen after shouting for me through the small building about a perfect song until I came to show them a salsa step, then tried to gather a group to watch. Another spontaneously helped clean the kitchen.
I actually had to tell one of the kids to listen to the main staff (ok, the only other staff) when they said something the first time. And they listened to me.
Today the kids got me through. And, I’ve been told, it’s just the way it shifts, that I’ve ‘won them over.’
Even this one day is enough to get me through for awhile even if that’s not the case.
Even when I’m physically fit I’m not particularly graceful or well-coordinated.
The fact that I’m bad at just about everything they can do, or try to show me — sports, yoga, basic gymnastics like rolling and cartwheels, tree-climbing — is becoming a running joke. I’d like to think that they’re cheering me on because I keep trying it anyway, but they’re very clear about the fact that they’re laughing at me because I keep failing.
I know that I’m the “adult” and this isn’t supposed to bother me, but when this is the majority of what they like to do, it makes me want to hide in the corner doing the things I’m good at, most of which they find boring and want no part of. Instead I keep trying, because I want them to know it’s ok to keep trying even when you may not succeed the first time. Or the first dozen times. Or until you throw out a shoulder (which I may or may not have done). It’s demoralizing. It’s embarrassing.
It’s like being in school all over again, but without a resource or art room to hide in.
I’m sure this can get better. I know that right now they’re testing me, trying to chase me out. One of the youth actually told the other staff member that they purposely, mercilessly made fun of previous staff to either chase them out or see what they were made of — including the staff they were speaking to, though behind their back. But right now, I am supposed to be “guiding,” not “educating” them; none of my strengths/interests appeal to them; none of the things that interest them are things that I’m particularly adept at; and they have absolutely no interest in learning anything that remotely resembles things they would learn at school, including character education, which is something we’re supposed to be providing — no, “guiding.”
I feel like I have nothing to offer them. I feel useless.
I’m trying to tell myself to grow up, but teachers are still human beings, and a lot of this is like living in bad flashbacks. Any tips for…fixing this? For keeping energy up? For not feeling like the “loser” that I was for so long when I was their age?
Remembered there was a reason why I was always picked last in gym, recess, etc.
Tested the limits of my poor spacial awareness by accidentally leaping into a support column, nearly tipping over the porch railing, slamming my knee into said railing, and bashing my arm into a wall-mounted mailbox
Scraped, bruised, tripped, wheezed, limped, and lost at GaGa ball a lot
Brought in a pie for Pi Day
Wrote a groaner for Pi Day (even though none of the students went up to the homework room today…sigh)
Found that I had to explain to the middle schoolers why it was Pi Day
Was reminded that we weren’t in school when I offered to help a student read the clock they were sitting right across from instead of telling them what time it was
Fielded a lot of increasingly typical verbal abuse (“I liked (last staff person) better;” “I don’t respect you as much as (last and current staff people);” “You’re rude/mean/stupid”)
Walked one of our teenagers home.
It isn’t what you might think. It wasn’t a behavioral issue. It wasn’t cutting the day short. I was in my car ready to leave for the night, and the student chose to approach me with a very serious issue they had with another student after hours, and said it left them with no one to walk them home.
I let the other staff know, covered about half the town in the walk, and…felt like something changed that was very important, even if it was for that one student. We talked about race issues, about being hapa, about Japanese cooking, and about changing minds with food.
So no matter what happened before that…for me, at the end of the day, though it means we have to address something unfortunate…it was a better day.
Trigger Warning: Violence, Disrespect, Injustice, Public Education
Yesterday, a veteran teacher and wonderful person, with a thirty year unblemished record was attacked by one of her students. She defended herself, but still ended up on her back in the hallway, with the student on top of her and beating the living daylights out of the teacher. The teacher is being reprimanded for defending herself by being pulled from work and put in a lock down position in the county administrative library, colloquially called “teacher jail,” for the rest of the school year. The student who attacked the teacher is being suspended for ONE day.
Today another teacher was followed back to her room by a parent that did not check in through security. The parent attacked her.
Add to this the lies being spread about me, the egregious disrespect students and parents show teachers, and the lack of support from administration and it is clear why we have had enough.
At a union meeting this afternoon, we decided to strike back. We will be turning all disciplinary measures over to administration via the call button in each room. We will flood administration and security with requestes. Further, every Tuesday every teacher will wear all black, in protest of student and parental violence against teachers.
Please, show your local teachers support in any way you can and reblog this post to spread awareness of the problem. The job is hard enough without having to fear for your safety on top of everything else.
This is horrible. Please keep us posted on both teachers.
Reposting because — aside from giving my support — among all the anti-teacher sentiment, I notice that too few people make any mention, or even have knowledge, of stories like these.
The day after incidents like yesterday’s I find the best way to counteract the bad attitudes and their effect on me is to go ahead and wear the most ridiculous outfit I feel the most comfortable in and not give a darn about the opinions of the kids. The latter, aside from the cursory making sure it maintains a certain level of professionalism, is something I should be doing anyway.
Last week it worked like a charm. This week let’s see.
A student discovered while outside that they could shoot their drink out their nose. They did this repeatedly on the lawn to the shock, delight, and occasional horror of the other youth, as well as the other staff. The staff praised it as a great talent and just encouraged them to continue to do so on the lawn and not to bring it inside.
…is that they were made by four elementary schoolers, including a boy who meticulously selected only purple feathers and then proclaimed for the next half hour that he was flying (complete with occasional arms-out-in-front, and standing at the edge of the porch or sliding down the stairs on his butt for apparent effect).
If you have a gay friend or know a gay person who’s okay with things like “That’s so gay” or “f*g,” that doesn’t mean that it gives everyone a blank check because on LGBTQ individual likes the word.
There are plenty of LGBTQ people out there — and people who may not be but have been assumed to be for one reason or another — who have been subjected to very hurtful language regarding their orientation. The terms are still hurtful. If it is just you and your LGBTQ friend who likes the word, alone, in a room where other people are not present and the language won’t hurt anyone, go ahead and use it to your heart’s content. Or maybe, ask that person why they’re ok with that language. Maybe they’ll tell you that to them it’s a joke and it doesn’t offend them. Maybe they’ll tell you that they’ve never had a hard time because of their sexual or gender orientation.
Or maybe they’ll say that it’s something they use ironically. That it’s a laugh-or-cry situation. That they feel pressured to use it to fit in. That they feel like they need to get used to it since other people won’t stop saying it. Maybe they feel like they have a right to say it because it’s taking back a word that’s been used to hurt them.
Whatever their reason, good for them that it doesn’t bother them to hear it. It still helps create a negative environment for people who ARE hurt by these things — people you may never know or suspect of flinching on the inside whenever someone calls something gay in a negative way, who are afraid of saying anything because they don’t want to be called gay or a f*g or a sissy or told to toughen up or suspected of being LGBTQ.
No one’s friends are spokespeople for all LGBTQ people everywhere, and phrases like “but I have a gay friend and they say it’s okay” don’t do anything but help you ignore the feelings of other people who are telling you that your language is hurtful.
When I was seven my first pet was a carnival fish. He was a Japanese fighting fish, and his name was Freddy. I quickly learned that Freddy was not allowed to be in a bowl with other fish, because of his aggressive tendencies — demonstrated for me cruelly by a friend who insisted on propping up a mirror at the side of his bowl and watching him try to attack his own reflection.
Most of the kids in our program — especially the middle schoolers, though it’s also true of a couple of the grade and high schoolers — are bullies. Other programs can’t keep them because the students either don’t function in the programmatic environment or cannot get along with the students in a positive environment. Some days they come to us already on the edge. If one youth is instigating it can mean lasting problems with a dozen.
Today was a day full of gay jokes, fat-shaming, and inadvertent racism. When I tried to have a discussion about why the sexuality thing was not ok a student informed me that I was acting like a teacher and, in a volume and pitch that was above the necessary, explained to me that her teachers call her names and tell her she won’t amount to anything; that she doesn’t want to be/is no longer in school for the day; and that she wasn’t listening to it anymore. She then held a pair of pool balls to her ears until she realized I was no longer speaking.
They roll their eyes or try to justify their behavior. I end up resorting to disciplinary actions because some youth will not curb their language and have no concern for safe spaces. That isn’t their mentality or their concern.
I was informed that we’re not there to educate them. It isn’t school. I was told to make my sentences, when it comes to explaining these things, three words max if I can, because at any point after that I become like a teacher and they tune me out. There’s no set programming to work through, no means by which to have very necessary discussions, no way thus far to bring it up without being tuned out immediately because yes it’s that again, it’s something that has to be addressed.
There has got to be a more subversive way to educate these kids about respecting one another. Letting it go, being passive, that can’t be the answer; I’m fairly certain that the organization we’re part of would not appreciate it in the least. I just don’t know what the answer is yet.
Sorry if I've been relatively unavailable these past two weeks.
Closing out the old job (that I still somehow ended up not entirely walking away from except now I don’t get paid for the bits of work…it must say ‘welcome’ across my forehead because I’m a doormat) and starting this new job (as much as I love it, the kids have been kicking my butt and I have ended up crying on the way home two out of three days this week) has left me pretty much winded. Most of my material has either been short or reblogs.
I will get back to some meaningful posting when I feel a little less beaten-down.
I was relaying an art-related mishap to my mother and she told me this:
She was watching an interview with Susan Blakely, creator of Spanx, and told me that her father routinely asked them at the table what they failed at that day, and then gave them high-fives for it because it meant they tried something. I tracked down a piece of an interview where she mentions it, though I can’t find the one that my mother saw specifically (and it turned out it was week, not day, but I like my mom’s version too):
My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn’t have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.
When Mom remembers where she saw the actual interview I’ll post it. I love the idea of giving really tangible encouragement — a high-five, a handshake, a fist-bump, whatever it is your kids or students like — for going ahead and trying at something. What a great thing to bring to the dinner table — or to the classroom. I’m going to try introducing this at the program where I work.
Even if I fail, I’ll be getting a high-five from at least my mom.
I LOVE BAD JOKES. I tell one to my students everyday. What diid the buffalo say when his son left for school? Bison.
Hee hee hee!
I’m thinking of purchasing an additional white board, a small one, probably from the dollar store or something, to put up in the program space just for a daily cheesy joke. This one…is definitely going to have to go up there.
I love using bad jokes and puns with the youth I work with. Icebreaking, diffusing an awkward or tense situation, making someone laugh when they’re down…they’re great tools, and I get a kick out of them. You can even use some of them as crossword clues for filler or spelling words, or have students write their own when studying homonyms (or other language lessons that might lend to bad jokes). We’re talking popsicle-sticks-and-laffy-taffy-wrappers bad. A friend of mine calls them “groaners.” Do you tell jokes so bad your students are rolling their eyes before you even get to the punchline, out of sheer anticipation of a “groaner”? Share your favorites!
Today there was no school, so I met the kids and my boss at a larger branch of the program, with enough space for things like a skate park, multiple game tables, and a music room.
The music room stays locked. And when a few of the kids asked if they could use it I didn’t think twice about getting the keys and hanging out in there with them (supervision required, expensive equipment). It’s a small enough space, and the major attractions despite a couple of larger more expensive pieces and a host of others are the two full drum sets and the electric guitar.
If they could put the amp on that thing to 11 they would, but it only went to ten. As it was, I had to remind them that drums are not impervious to damage, and that purposely wailing on them as hard as possible counted as misuse and would cost them the sticks.
I didn’t know any better, but apparently most staff put time limits on that room, because their hearing can’t stand it for long chunks of time. We went for a few rounds of different kids switching out on the instruments, always both drum sets included, until they all found other things to do and it was just me and a girl with a karaoke mic. She sang me an unfinished original, and then we shut it down.
One of the staff members I was chatting with later told me that the staff were occasionally asking each other if I was still in there and hadn’t I come out yet with a certain sense of awe. I outlasted everyone. I told her it was because I have two younger brothers who both made the rounds of drumsets and electric instruments — one has a friend in a band (and thus the whole band comes over back at home) and the other did a brief stint on the bagpipes.
Now they’ve got me on tap next time our group is over there if anyone needs the music room. That, and I outlasted some of the tougher-to-get-to-know kids from my group and, as a result, won a couple of them over. I’ve got a headache now the size of Texas, but that’s pretty much worth it.