When a bully gets a citizenship award

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Rainbowbird, Jun 24, 2013.

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  1. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 25, 2013

    I would be upset too, but I think it would be a better lesson to help my daughter work through her emotions than try to get the bully's award taken away.

    Who knows... maybe this experience will help the bully become a better person?
     
  2. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Jun 25, 2013

    I agree, and if we had gone to the p., it would not necessarily have been to complain about the specific child. It would have been to have a conversation about the value of this ceremony in the first place, and perhaps mentioning in general that the criteria should perhaps be evaluated, as another poster discussed. When I spoke to the teacher, I kept it brief and I didn't mention anything about the other child until my daughter had gone back into the classroom (the teacher and I were in the hall). We had a discussion about it last night and she still has a hard time understanding why she didn't get it. She kept saying, but I've been good, Mommy, why didn't I get one too? To reiterate, I explained that lots of good kids didn't get one, because there are only a few awards.

    It's just a really crappy way to end the year.
     
  3. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Jun 25, 2013

    Who said anything about taking the other child's award away? I am a little tired of assumptions being made and and words being out in my mouth. Talking to the p. doesn't mean asking for the award to be changed, that would cause more problems. The idea of talking to the p. would be to at least make her aware of the hurt that has been caused.

    As I have mentioned multiple times, my DH and I have spoken with my daughter to reassure her of her contributions to the school and wonderful qualities...in more detail than I can list here, obviously.

    Personally, as a teacher and parent, I think that there are better ways to reinforce good behaviors, like an improved progress report or a teacher certificate. I gave out lots of those in the classroom and there were ways to recognize improvement for everyone without telling the world that a bully is now considered to be a good citizen. I had a bully in my room last year and when he was at his worst, i could find good things to reinforce--getting his homework done, learning his spelling words, etc. Not the big shebang at the assembly with the embossed award in front of the whole school. Esp. since another bullying complaint was just made about this student two weeks ago.

    I can see the other point of view, but it just really stings when you've been good all year and the person who's been bullying you strolls up to get the award, KWIM?
     
  4. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Jun 25, 2013

    This is exactly why I am a Montessori teacher. It's all about intrinsic value being instilled in children instead of external rewards.

    To the OP, if I were in your same situation, I too would be offended and hurt. Thank goodness your daughter has someone like you to make sure she gets a healthy perspective on things.
     
  5. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Jun 25, 2013

    Yeah, it is. :(
     
  6. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Jun 25, 2013

    Thank you.

    I wish I could teach Montessori! I have thought about because I love the philosophy and have come to hate much of what public education is now focusing on. But I don't have the cert.
     
  7. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Jun 25, 2013

    Dealing with this p. is almost as bad as a root canal. She is not a pleasant person. It would prob. make the situation worse, honestly. She punishes people who bug her and there is a culture of fear and intimidation in that office. Many of us are praying for her early retirement. Both of her secretaries are looking for other jobs. Ugh
     
  8. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 25, 2013

    I apologize if you thought I mean YOU wanted the award taken away - I know you did not say that and I don't assume that it's what you want to happen. I should have been more general with no distinction of an action that you would want to do, so what I meant to say that a person may want some kind of action to happen so that this situation doesn't happen again.

    I know you have- my post didn't mean to make you sound like you haven't. It was in agreeance to what you were doing for your daughter- I'm not a parent but I think that's exactly what a good parent ought to do :) . The child will learn a better lesson if they can work through their feelings and understand what a great person they are. :2cents:

    That's great and something important for us to remember as educators: we want to fix the "bad" things if possible, but reinforcing the good things that a child does will have more of an impact on them than just focusing on the bad.

    When I had to start grading my first sets of essays, I focused a lot on the issues of where the child can improve. I thought it was my job to find the errors and make sure the child was aware of them. I saw a lot of sad faces and I couldn't figure out why for awhile :unsure: Now I make sure that if a student does something great to make mention of it as much as I possibly can. I'm not great at it still- it's one of my shortcomings- but I try.

    I had a student who has ADHD, bad anxiety (it would pick up garbage off the floor and hoard it in his tote bag and locker), and just a mess with organization- handed in nearly no homework, bombed all of the tests, couldn't complete class work. Still the kid had a great sense of humor, was overall very nice to people, and loved to help me out when ever I needed some assistance. I wish I had more time to work with him so he could know what an awesome child I think he is.

    At my school we have a policy that if a child has negative reports they won't get the award. There have been times where the P would meet privately with the student and give them an award but bring up the issues too. Perhaps something like this would have been more appropriate since there were recent bullying issues.

    But perhaps, too, this kid really needed the award. I had one student who had a really bad home life (I didn't know that for much of the time I was teaching her) and had really bad depression. I gave her a small award for achieving some goal and she was all hugs and thanked me for doing so. She was smiling for the rest of the time I taught her class- I had no clue one small action could have such an impact on the child.

    Of course! I don't agree that the child got the award or how it was presented to him- hopefully he will take the time to reflect on past actions and try harder to not do them again.
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jun 25, 2013

    microbe, I find your comments very insightful and interesting. I was wondering what you'd do in this situation. Let's say you had to give awards at the end of the year or during the year, and you were given the freedom of how to give these awards. You could:

    1. Give all students an award.
    2. Give only those you thought deserve one an award.
    3. Make a goal for each student and only those that made their
    goal receive an award.
    4. Give awards out in public or private (realizing of course that students will tell their friends.)
    5. Give awards out all on same day or a little bit throughout the year.
    6. Other...as long as awards are given in some way that year.

    What would you do? Which would you feel would be the best way to handle it?
     
  10. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Jun 25, 2013

    Maybe his award should've said "improved citizenship" but in my view of it all, he shouldn't have received an award period. Bully behavior gets under my skin big time.
     
  11. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Jun 25, 2013

    I think I would give the awards out privately and have a dialog with the student about how proud I am of their improvement/dedication/whatever. When we had these award ceremonies in elementary and middle school, and everyone got award, I always received awards that were "backhanded compliments" that obviously had no thought put into them. It really stung that the teacher put more thought into other children's awards but not mine because I was a quiet and easy-to-handle student.

    And as for the award ceremonies where only a few children got an award... I hated it. I never got one as a child and I always wondered why, especially since the "class clowns" and bullies that weren't doing as well as me (from my point of view) frequently got them. Once I got a little older, I realized I never got an award because I wasn't sociable with the teacher and I never brown-nosed like many of my peers did. Having to sit through a ceremony where I got absolutely nothing (yet again) only made me begin to despise the school and teachers for forcing me to sit through them every year. (This was also something I could not talk to my parents about, as my parents did not have conversations with me until I was a teenager. They didn't know how to talk to kids so they just opted not to talk to us.)

    The best way to handle awards, in my honest opinion, is to hand them out privately throughout the year. This will brighten a student's day without humiliating other students. It is then up to the child who got the award to share it, and I bet many would like to keep it private anyway.

    By the way, thank you for being a good mom, Rainbowbird. I wish more parents were like you. :)
     
  12. Debra Boyer

    Debra Boyer New Member

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    Jun 26, 2013

    I'm a teacher in Los Angeles, California. I know how difficult it can be being a parent and seeing something like a bully getting a certificate for good behavior. There are several things a parent can do: first let the principal and teachers know. You can't believe how many times I had no idea anything was going on. I try to watch for things going on I even have notes where students can write me notes and tell me anything. It still doesn't mean we are told. Next if the parent has told the people involved then leave it up to the others to take care of the situation. Also, it's a great time to teach your children life's not fair but that you think they are the greatest kid ever!!! I guarantee you that there is a lot more going on them you've been told. If you told the people in charge that's all you can do. I honestly don't think it's good to start talking to other parents. In a sense you are being a bully to a child in which you don't have all the facts. So the most important thing you can do is for your child. After all, isn't that the most important thing in your life??? She will have lots of disappointments and by your example you will teach her to handle it with dignity and character.
     
  13. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Jun 26, 2013

    Thank you everyone. We decided to write to the principal just to explain how upset our daughter was. We are not mentioning the other student at all, just the value of the awards ceremony in general.

    A friend confided to me that her son cried because his sister got the award this year, and the past two years her daughter cried.:(
     
  14. Debra Boyer

    Debra Boyer New Member

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    Jun 26, 2013

    Dear Mom, you are a very good mom!!! I didn't tell you besides being a teacher that I was a mom first. I want you to know that I know being a mother that its much more difficult than working even as a teacher. One more thing I saw where you mentioned where the one student whose won the certificate mom also helped out at the school. Research has shown that the parents who are involved in school are the ones who get more attention from the teachers. It's something to think about. Good luck next school year. I'm sure she'll be recognized.
     
  15. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Just throwing this out there... It bothers me that children are crying over someone else getting an award and not them. How will they deal with such things as someone getting a promotion and not them when they become adults?

    I was brought up to feel good about my accomplishments and congratulate those who had accomplishments too. Many sports awards were given out- I never got one and I realized that I'm not the greatest with sports. Reading awards and art awards were given out and I received those while those who might have gotten a a sports award did not. Nobody felt bad because of it.

    I think we may need to help our children get past their hurts to see what the point of awards are and how we can be happy for others. I know the bullying issue puts a damper on wanting to be happy for the kid, but in situations where nobody has done any wrong we should be happy for the person.
     
  16. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I just think the primary grades might be a little young to be dealing with this difficult concept....do we really want to have the year end with so many little ones crying? They just aren't at that point cognitively or emotionally to understand that it doesn't mean they're bad.
     
  17. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Thanks. I have volunteered a ton. This past year not as much because I was working full-time. The mom of the bully was in the position of being full-time professor at local university who partnered with school to pilot math program. Don't know how I can compete with that....:dizzy: and it's pretty sad to think that kids whose parents cannot volunteer are less likely to be honored. Guess that really leaves kids who have parents that may be ill, incarcerated, etc. out of the whole awards process.
     
  18. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I was trying to think of an analogous adult situation to these award ceremonies... and the best I could come up with was the Oscars or other celebrity awards. When an adult gets a promotion, typically the entire company doesn't have to be there for a "promotion ceremony." I really do feel that these award ceremonies do more harm than good and don't actually teach the children meaningful lessons (unless they have a good mom like Rainbowbird to talk to them about it).

    As a child, I only learned extremely negative and cynical lessons from them (as I'm sure you can no doubt tell). I doubt I'm alone in this.
     
  19. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Maybe that's the way it is at your daughter's school but it's definitely not like that at mine.

    You're completely assuming that the child only got the award because his or her mother volunteered with the math program. As a teacher I can't imagine picking a child for an award just because their parent helped out. Yes, it could happen, but you don't know for sure. I think it's a lot more likely that this child did something that the teacher felt like deserved to be recognized and look over the bullying stuff (obviously most don't agree with overlooking the bullying- but I feel like that it what most likely happened.)
     
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Jun 27, 2013

    How do you feel about field day events with awards? When I was a child we used to have field day events that awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places.

    Do you believe this is appropriate?
     
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