Too young…

First off, I want to send lots of hugs and kisses to all of my readers who left such sweet comments about my post regarding how Justin and I came to be.  One of the main points that I really took out of your comments.. as Vivianne put it – is that there is no such thing as an ordinary love story.

How true is that?! All love is extraordinary.. especially when you find someone that compliments you so well – like two peas in a pod. So – with that being said – thank you for enjoying my EXTRAORDINARY  love story 🙂

So – this was a nice little Tuesday for me.. since it feels like a Monday – but there are only 3 more days left of my work week.. rather then 4! 🙂

Despite the gross weather (that has no end in sight 😦 )

I was excited to show off my new do’  to my students and coworkers.

Everyone said they loved it.. but I don’t think people would actually say if they didn’t like someone’s new style.  I am defintely liking it more now though – then I did right after the initial shock!

A run-down of today’s eats (well some of them. I never picture everything I eat!)

Oats for breakfast.. durr

Snackage:

Easy Dinner

And as for my exercise…

I’ve got NOTHING for ya. That is right. COMPLETE rest day. No yoga. No leisurly stroll. Rest. Long overdue rest. It felt nice to just relax and do nothing. I am sure I am going to feel energize and rejuvinated when I hit up the gym tomorrow after work!

I am sure by now you are confused at the title of my post since.. well, thus far, there has been no actual connection.

As a newbie in the school systems, I am shocked by the alarming rate of bullies within the schools – and just how young the cattiness and downright mean and disrespectful actions begin.

When I look back at my education, I do not remember bullying being too much of an issue until I got to middle school.

But I deal with bullying in my classroom every single day. It is exhausting. It is frustrating.. and it is also heartbreaking.  While I am doing everything in my power to control bullying and to keep my kids safe, I can only imagine what future years of school will be like for many of these students.

Children – even 7 and 8 year olds…. are SMART…. perhaps genius – when it comes to bullying.  The second an adult is out of ear shot – or turns their back to help another child – there may be an elbow jab – a kick – a rude remark.  There is just so much annimosity between some children… and it can be quite difficult to get to the bottom of it.

Sometimes, I feel like the issue of bullying spirals out of control in my classroom (especially if I am not there… i.e., yesterday).  WIth the help of some collegeues, I believe that the root of a lot of the trouble in children – is a lack of self-esteem and self confidence.

Lashing out at other students serves as a defense mechanism.  If the student with low self-esteem is always dishing out the nasty comments – there is no time for someone to launch an attack on them.. or perhaps a student is too intimidated to make a remark at this bully’s expense.

Bullying is a problem in all schools. Not just in inner-city schools – or in districts with a certain demographic.  It is everywhere. And it is getting bad.  With so many more outlets to bully.. like facebook, twitter, through texting, etc.. There are so many young children and teenagers who feel like they have their backs against the wall due in large part to what others are saying about them – or doing to them.

We’ve had workshops on bullying – and our school even had a guest author – who wrote a book about how he was bullied as a child -to try and get the harshness under control.  It has not seemed to work yet.

So, today, I have decided to take a different approach.  An approach that will encourage positive behaviors – rather then concentrate on the discipline of negative behaviors.

Enter: CAUGHT YA!

Yes – we are playing a game… and this here.. is the Caught Ya jar.  Whenever I catch a student being a good friend, they get to take a ticket – write their name and their good deed down on the paper – and place it in the jar.

At the end of every week – I will draw two names out of the jar – and those students will get to enjoy a lovely lunch with yours truly.

Lunch with the teacher.. is like a God send. They were soo excited about this.  By reinforcing positive behaviors -and truly commending acts of friendship, I am also hoping to build self-esteem, self-image… self-concept… you know.. all of those oh-so-important things related to the self (that we all struggle with even now and again as adults).

So – let’s keep our fingers crossed for a more caring environemtn in second grade for these last couple of weeks of school!

Tell me about your experiences with bullying.  Where you ever the victim of bullying – or maybe on the other side of the fence?  Any tips for preventing bullying? Helping youngsters value their self worth?

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28 responses to “Too young…

  1. Cait, I think the “get caught” idea is wonderful! 🙂 such a good idea to try to use positive reinforcement prior to negative reinforcement. You are such a good teacher! 🙂

    I’m so glad that you took a rest day, you truly will be energized tomorrow. Today was my rest day too 🙂

  2. I’m a commenting fiend for you today.

    A. I couldn’t agree more. I work in an inner city school and the bullying is outrageous.

    B. I do something similar in my classroom with “Star Bucks.” Every time they are doing something good they get a “buck.” Every Friday they can either spend their bucks in my “store” or save them for something that “costs” a bit more.

    C. Even though it’s soooo frustrating, you are reaching some of them so keep it up!!!!

    • Love the Star Bucks Idea! – We dosomethig like at in K & 1 – a schoolw ide thing..where they get points for their actions through out the day.
      I actually did something super similar to this when I was in 7 and 8th grade.. and the year ended with like a huge fair where people would have stands.. and sell treats, sand art, necklaces.. etc.. and they were bought with the bucks we’d earned all year!

  3. oh-was-i-ever-bullied! not in elementary or middle school, but in high school! i was “that” girl that got straight a’s and was the “teacher’s pet” so my car got egged all the time and my house was even paint balled! it was awful but i got through it. the only thing is, my mom always told me to not dignify them with a response but now i wish i had stood up for myself. i don’t mean that i wish i had retaliated or stooped to their level, but i do wish i had shown a little anger so that i didn’t bottle up all those feelings.
    now bullies take it to a whole new level, though. i’m so glad there was no facebook when i was in high school!
    i commend you on your efforts to tackle the problem from another angle!

    • I am SO sorry that you were the victim of bullying. It is so hard to decide whether to not dignify what theydo – or stand up for yourself. Regardless of the decision you made, you now have a fabulous blog and write with passion! Thank you SO much for sharing your story! It makes me want to work harder.. to get these kids on the right track before theyget older!

  4. What an awesome idea! I really like that! Very creative, and lunch w/ the teacher is a great motivator!! How much longer until school is out?

    I don’t remember bullying until 5th grade; and then I think I might have been one of the bullies. Nothing like it is today, but I remember 2 kids in my 5th grade class that were always being picked on. I don’t remember how vocal I was, but I remember they were picked on. Sometimes I wish I could say I’m sorry for being mean to them. We went to school together from Elem – High school. I wasn’t a bully after 5th grade, I can say that though. phew. I was pretty quiet in middle school. A bunch of elem school mixed together for middle school so I was no longer “popular”.

    • I think I had a bit of tough side to me too for a couple years of middle school – but I was also on the receiving end of a lot of things. Ithink it is kind of like a hierarchy in school too.. which is so sad.. from those considered “popular” to… well.. I can’t even classify anyone else because I think popularity is so silly. I never realized how stupid of anotion being popular was.. until I have 8 year olds talking about being popular!

      School is out on June 17 – but we have manditory summer school.. so I plan to keep this going til the end of July. And I am going to start out my year with the jar next year too!

  5. I dealt with horrible bullying in middle school. I was the “smart girl,” got good grades, never got into trouble and the other kids seemed to hate me for it. They were ruthless. High school was much better although still tough at times.

    Shortly after graduation, I ended up in the same place at the same time with one of the girls who had bullied me the worst. We got to talking and it eventually turned to the past bullying. I pretty much out-right asked her why they all hated me. She said (very sincerely), “Katie, we didn’t hate you. We were jealous of you.” So powerful to hear that. When I hear see all these cases of bullying on the news and from teacher friends, I always remember those words. It really does seem like that’s what’s really at the core of most bullying. It’s extremely sad to me that kids are having to deal with this at a younger age.

    Kudos to you for the Caught Ya! jar. Great idea!

    Anyway, glad I found your blog through fitblog chats tonight and sorry my first comment here is a novel. 🙂

    • Wow – that is crazy how things can change over the years – and how immaturity, jealousy,and low self-esteem can really make someone behave in such a negative way! Thank you for sharing your story – and I am so glad one the people that bullied you realized what was actually going on!

      Glad you found my blog – hope you continue to read!

  6. The caught ya jar is SUCH a good idea!!

    Way to go with the rest day ! You deserve it 🙂

  7. Great idea! Thank you for doing something about bullying – so often people don’t know how to deal and just ignore it. Have you seen the “It Gets Better Project” website? I even saw a commercial for the project tonight. Love all the attention bullying seems to finally be getting.

    • I have heard of it.. and plan on spending a lot of my weekend looking in to all the great resources that people have been telling me about! It is SUCH a serious issue.. and can lead the victims to do such harmful things to themselves!

  8. I was very lucky because I was never affected directly by bullying. Times have really changed since my elementary school days!

    It is amazing to me how many ways positive reinforcement can be used ~ if only more people thought like you and rewarded for positive behaviours rather than waiting to deliver attention when something negative occurs. If you ever have a chance you should look up Tag Teach International http://www.tagteach.com/ – you could totally use their principles to mark desired or positive behaviour and then follow with a reward. Eventually the behaviours that are being rewarded become habitual. Works also with animal training by using a marker or signal for a desired behaviour followed by a reward or treat. These methods are often used with autistic children as well!

    • Thank you so much, Andrea. I will certainly check this site out ASAP. Positive Reinforcement is SO important.. expecially for many of my students.. who really don’t receive much of it at home. The little girl who got a ticket yesterday was GLOWING.. the entire class clapped for her (she is one of my bullies with LOW self-esteem).. it honestly made my heart melt!

  9. Hi! New to your blog and this topic caught my eye. I do educational research on school violence so the topic of bullying has been in just about every journal I read. I think the best website is Stop Bullying Now! http://www.stopbullying.gov/, lots of good resources on there for teachers and parents. I think more than anything its teaching the adults what to be aware of it and how to intervene. But the problem lies in the fact so many adults bully one another in the workplace too!

    • Thank you so much for the site and the comment (and stopping by my blog..hope you keep coming back!)
      It is amazing how much bullying can go on right underneath a teacher’s nose – one of the goals I have set for myself is to be more aware of the interactions between my students in the classroom.. and ESPECIALLY on the playground. For some reason, kids think that school rules don’t apply on the playgrounds!

  10. I never noticed bullying until middle school, but let me just say how happy I am that I didn’t grow up in the facebook/twitter/texting era…yikes!! I have a 3rd grader and a kindergartner, it makes me sad to know that kids are so dang MEAN!!!!

  11. I love that you are making being nice part of a game and encouraging children not to bully, but rather to be nice. I have a daughter in thrid grade and it breaks my heart to think that one day she may be bullied and there is nothing that i can do to stop it. If everyone starts encouraging students to be nice to one another,maybe some of this bullying will stop.

  12. It’s so sad that bullying happens at all schools! Unfortunately, my nephew who is 13 was affected by bullying for a few years and he goes to a small private school. The school took control and thank god it didn’t get out of hand. I really don’t understand why it’s getting worse and worse. I don’t remember to much bullying or cattiness when I was in school?

    P.S. I love your blog! 🙂

  13. Good job thinking of a new way to combat bullying. There’s not a solve-all way to fix this problem, but a lot of little things can help. I’m sure your students appreciate the attention you give to this issue!

  14. I think looking back, I probably did my share of bullying/teasing as the next kid, and also was on the receiving end as well, but I feel like the bullying we did then was WAY less harsh than what goes on now. Kids are so perceptive and so much older than their years now that they recognize kids as being different and attack them for it.

  15. i love what you are doing to make a difference in young kids’ lives. every bit counts and if you can make just your class think differently about how they treat people then imagine how many other people they will spread that on to in their lives. 30 kids (or however many you have in your class) can really multiply into thousands of good deeds! amazing

  16. ouch! CHECK OUT the grammatical errors on that jar.

    • Wow., xxxx. You are so right! Sometimes things like that happen. Thanks for pointing that out. I have already made the changes on the jar!

      Thanks again, xxxx. I really appreciate it!

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