Wednesday, May 30, 2012

School Bully: Your Child's Teacher?

Students are all too familiar with the school yard bully: the stories of the big guy stealing lunch money, or the catty group of girls that work to destroy another girl's self-esteem. But bullies come in all shapes and sizes. What if one of those bullies happens to be your child's teacher?

According to an article on WebMD, psychiatrist Stuart Twemlow, MD completed an anonymous survey of teachers in which 45% admitted to having bullied a student.* If that statistic is applied across the board, it means that nearly one half of all students are being bullied by a teacher! Perhaps it is more common than people think.

Prevention may not be possible, but identifying the problem could be the first step to a solution.

Listen to what he says, and listen to what he doesn't say.

What he says:
  • A bullied student may make excuses to stay home from school or leave school.
  •  A child may complain that his teacher has called the class names; names such as "geeks" and "nerds." 
  • The comments may became more personal. Things like: "Maybe the doctor can fix what's wrong with your head." or "Maybe he'll (the doctor) take a look at your face." or "You should be able to take that like a man."
  •  Repeated phrases may begin to show up that imply more than they say: things like "toughen up" and "man up." The words may be "toughen up" but what the child may hear is that he is not strong enough, and the young man who is told to "man up" hears that he is being a wimp.

What isn't said:
  • Tears. Tiredness. Depression. Anger. Drop in grades. 
  • Subtle, yet dangerous control over a student. This may be exhibited in proximity--a tool often used by a teacher--but if done incorrectly becomes threatening. In some schools, where it is still allowed, a "hug" that is designed to control the student more than reassure or encourage, may be a form of bullying. Especially if the "hug" is painful! No adult should ever leave finger imprints on your child!

Listening involves more than just hearing words.

Pay Attention. How does the teacher interact with your child--at conferences, in the classroom, after school? Get involved in your child's school. How does the teacher interact with you? Does his words and actions match.

Ask Questions! Make sure your child knows you are willing to listen. Do not dismiss concerns out of hand. Look for patterns, and ask more questions.

Have you heard of a teacher who bullies? Or a student who has been bullied by a teacher?

*Read the entire WebMD article here: "The problem of teachers bullying students is more common than you think. Learn how to prevent your child from becoming a victim." by Katherine Kam

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: Sir Quinlan

The fifth book in the Knights of Arrethtrae Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor continues the adventure for fans of the series.The story explores the meaning of living out your faith through an allegorical story of knights serving the Prince, son of the one true King.

In this installment, Sir Quinlan wrestles with what it means to be a knight and serve the Prince as he has been called to do. He finds there are many distractions from what he is supposed to be doing.

One of my son's favorite creatures was the paytha; an excellent representation of potentially harmless pursuits or interests that become too big. If you feed them a little, they stay little. Also, the cost of a paytha seemed high, as you can not buy a paytha, but you trade a piece of your "armor." In essence giving away a part of your preparedness for battle with the enemy.

My son truly enjoys these stories. He said he liked "this book because it shows that God sees good in everybody and can use them for all things."

Themes: Christianity, valor, courage, humor

Plot: Sir Quinlan finds purpose fighting in a unit known as the Swords of Valor, but tragedy follows and Quinlan is blamed. Lost and uncertain, he begins to wander the kingdom, avoiding his past. During these dark times Quinlan meets Taras, a Silent Warrior who may be able to teach him about redemption and  the ways of the secret warriors.

When it is time, the Prince challenges Quinlan to meet his true purpose. Will he be able to reunite the Swords of Valor? Will he allow the Prince to use him as He sees fit?

Style: A character driven novel, with enough adventure thrown in to keep readers reading. Narrative interspersed with dialogue; although some sections seem slow or wordy rather than enticing adventure.

Setting: Indeterminate time of knights and kingdoms ruled by Kings. Unusual creatures and uncommon places will entice younger readers.

Age Recommendation: 12 and Up seems appropriate. Some themes (young romance and violence) are addressed in a way that may not be appropriate for the youngest readers. Examples: The young boys Tav and Twitch go on what amounts to a date/blind date. Violence: the Dark Knight deals harshly with his subjects as described in one instance when the Knight cuts one of his servants under the eye and down the face.

This review is made possible through a
Free review copy acquired from Multnomah Publishing.