Mr. Post would have loved this
Thursday June 02nd 2022, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Life
There was a Washington Post article┬átoday on a twelve year old kid being bullied, and how when they found out, about a hundred of the older kids at his school showed up at his homeroom to sign his yearbook. They even took him out for ice cream. They made being his friend the cool thing to do, and they showed him what it was like to have learned empathy from having been through that themselves at his age–and that they’d come out the other side where nobody was bullying them anymore.
It reminded me of a favorite English teacher in my junior high school, the tall, gentle, nearing-retirement Mr. Post, who told us he loved teaching seventh grade. He loved us. But eighth? He wouldn’t do it. Keep him in seventh, thanks. In that moment he taught me to pay attention to when people were being nice–to when *I* was being kind to others, and should always be.
(Sorry for the blog glitch with the messed-up paragraphs.)
There was a comment to the article from someone named Ted Champ that really needs highlighting and that I wish every middle-school teacher and parent out there could see.
He wrote:
“When I had a similar incident in an 8th grade class one year, I sent the student being bullied to the library and had a very honest talk with the remaining students about their behavior (all 30 of whom were involved. Peer pressure is huge at that age). I expressed my deep disappointment, and then I sat at my desk for the remaining 20 minutes, not saying a word. Just looking at them.
Without an assignment or task, the students didn’t know what to do. But eventually a few pulled out sheets of paper and began to write letters to the bullied student, then more did the same thing. When he returned at the end of the period, many were there greeting him with those apologies both in writing and in words. There were lots of tears and hugs.
There are tears as I’m writing this now, and this happened nearly 30 years ago. A powerful moment.”

4 Comments so far
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What an amazing story. Those are the teachers we need more of. Not that I’m blaming any teachers who are getting out now, of course, what with current events. But what a difference he made in those kids’ lives!

Comment by ccr in MA 06.03.22 @ 5:32 am

The longer I teach, the more I value the power of simple silence and time to think and reflect. Kids really want to do the right thing, they just get caught up sometimes. They are children, after all.

Comment by Pegi F 06.03.22 @ 5:54 am

The older I get (and I’m pretty darned old) the more I realize how clueless and unprepared I was for the world at that age. A lot depends on what kids get at home too…thank goodness for those who choose to teach.

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 06.03.22 @ 6:41 am

What was the term you used the other day – not fully myelined?

I have found that calmly expressed disappointment- the younger the better – is a good way to help children think about their actions. My father was a master at it, I did my best to emulate him with my own daughter. For the record, she turned out pretty good and is a wonderful mum and foster parent.
They are just children and *everyone* needs to help them build the myelin sheath.

Comment by Chris+S+in+Canada 06.03.22 @ 9:24 am

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