Tag Archive | social justice

Me to We

I have the best job ever.

Yesterday, as I tweeted, I witnessed 15,000 students become inspired at We Day Saskatchewan.

We Day is an event created by Marc and Craig Kielburger, who founded Free the Children. They bring together youth from all over the region to inspire them to make changes in their community, as well as globally.

We had amazing speakers, most notable Mia Farrow and Martin Sheen. Both spoke with such passion about making change.

I imagined that the changes we were going to hear about were going to be “start a charity” or something wonderful, yet unobtainable. The changes they were going for were small — start small and dream big.

One theme that emerged was that everyone has a spark. Sparks alone are good, but several sparks together can create a blazing fire that makes change. They empowered us to find ways we can start to create change in our community.

One of their national campaigns is We Are Silent. This April 19th, Free the Children is challenging students to be completely silent in support of global issues. They should be loud on social media, but silent in person. I am planning on supporting this campaign, but I haven’t quite figured out how I will teach without speaking a word. More to follow.

All in all, I’m glad to see that some of the students who went were buzzing with ideas for change this morning. It is important to teach our students to be good citizens, and so far, it’s working!

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Souffles, Neighbours, and Bystanders

I was out this evening picking up some souffle pans from a local dollar store, since I decided that we are going to be cooking souffles in math class for our unit in measurement conversion. However, that’s not really the point of the story. The very sweet cashier scanned all six of my glass dishes, and asked if I wanted them wrapped. Since there is a 25 kilometer journey in the morning, I thought I better have them wrapped up. The dishes are kind of awkward, so it was taking a fair bit of time. Fortunately, there was no one in line behind me. Just beside me, in the balloon section, a mother and her son, who was having a bit of a hissy fit, started walking toward our till. The mother then angrily glares at the cashier and me and says, “Can you just scan this for me?”

Preaching anti-bullying, but not standing up to bullying when the time comes is like making a souffle that comes out deflated. Flickr Photo Credit to PupCraze. All Rights Reserved.

Preaching anti-bullying, but not standing up to bullying when the time comes is like making a souffle that comes out deflated.
Flickr Photo Credit to PupCraze. All Rights Reserved.

Unfortunately, the cashier was in the middle of my transaction, so she politely replied that she couldn’t. The woman stormed out of the store, after throwing the balloon on the floor, then called over her shoulder, “You should have just taken the money. Sheesh.” (That may have been paraphrased for moral integrity of this blog).

As I was heading out, I profusely thanked the cashier, who was quite rattled by the experience. I apologized for the woman’s behaviour and for my unusual order. However, I’m still feeling quite uneasy about how openly rude and disrespectful this woman was.

I hate to say it, but this was the second verbal thrashing I have witnessed in the last few days. On Saturday evening, I was upstairs changing into my pajamas after supper. I heard some commotion outside my window, so I peered out. I saw two young-ish (maybe 25 year-olds) hollering at my neighbour to quite being creepy and to stop staring at them (again, paraphrased for that whole moral integrity thing).

Disclaimer: I have THE BEST neighbour I could ask for. He is the kindest gentleman I know. He loves to peer out his window and watch the world go by. Who doesn’t? He’s the guy who I go to when I don’t have a tool for something. He’s the guy I ask about all the Condo Association questions I have. He’s the guy who bolted my timer to my car power-post-thing (what ever it is called where you plug your car in during the winter) when I was at school, without even telling me. He is the guy that offered to/gave me a ride to my car that was parked at Tim Hortons because I got stuck on our street. He is 100% fantastic.

I couldn’t get downstairs in time to poke my nose out the door and tell those ladies to get over themselves. I did stand guard waiting for them to pass by again, but I was unsuccessful.

I wish I could say that I let these things go easily, but I can’t. I can’t stand by while people bully and harass others. What I’m taking from these experiences is that I need to be vigilant in my classroom to overtly promote kindness to one another, but also to help teach my students to how be respectful. This goes beyond “just being nice.” I need to continue to build positive relationships with my students and be a role model for them. I don’t want to see them grow up to think that this kind of behaviour is acceptable.

In both of these cases, the bullies got away with their harassment without so much as a dirty look from any bystander. This should not have been the case. I was a bystander at the dollar store, and I didn’t do anything during the episode. There were probably 10 other bystanders, including the store manager. They didn’t do anything either. That needs to change.