Tag Archives: 40 Developmental Assets

Suicidal Tendencies…

It really hurts and confuses me when kids believe that suicide is the best answer to their problems. Since I teach at a middle school, suicide becomes an increasing problem in these young people’s lives. My 8th graders are going through a very tough time in their lives; they are going through the bodily and emotional changes that everyone goes through at this age. I remember clearly how difficult that was for me, especially since I moved from one state to another in the middle of my 7th grade year. But why does suicide sound like the answer?

When I was 16, I was going through a really tough time, and I remember telling my mom that I wished I had the courage to kill myself. She looked at me very seriously and said, “Suicide causes so much harm to the people who love you and it is the most selfish thing you could ever do.” When I think back to that moment, I remember the shame and fear that I felt, because I knew that I couldn’t go through with it, but I also knew I said it because 1. I wanted to hurt my mom, and 2. I was asking for help by shifting the attention, albeit negative, to me. I was hurting emotionally and I didn’t know why. I had next to zero self-esteem and I perceived the world as my enemy, one that didn’t like or love me. I was convinced that I was going to feel that way forever. After that, I always think about how selfish suicide is and how it is a permanent solution to the person who takes their own life, but it is a life long scar to those left behind.

Here is an article about teen suicide statistics and risk factors. There are also links about related issues and suicide prevention. This is a growing epidemic that is quickly becoming the #1 cause of teen deaths. Bullying, in its many forms,┬áis on the rise, which I’m sure is causing teen suicides to also increase.

You may be asking yourself why I’m writing about this. Why now? Well… I know of a girl who has tried upwards of 3 times to take her own life. She is only 14. Her family is extremely supportive and has been actively seeking the appropriate help… however, it just hurts to know that if she keeps trying, she will eventually be successful.

I have no dilusions that I will experience the loss of a student while teaching… especially since I teach in an urban district, but I hope and pray that if that happens to one of my own students I can look back and know that I tried to do everything I could for all of my students. Maybe that is also dilusional…

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Filed under CADRE and my Experiences, Teacher Reflection

Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible

At my school, we believe in teaching students how to be better people, which we do by integrating the 40 Developmental Assets into our curriculum. I think this has been really amazing, and I have seen huge improvements in my own classroom because of the 40 DAs.

At the beginning of the school year, I started my students out by doing an “Above/Below the line” activity to determine what are and are not acceptable behaviors in the classroom under the categories “Be Safe, Be Respectable, and Be Responsible.” The students came up with the behaviors, then we narrowed them down to general categories, and then finally to some basic rules for the classroom. Each student then pledged to follow the rules THEY created by signing the posters. Here are some of those pictures:

This was a great activity that I believe has helped our classroom community. The kids have started to correct their classmates, without much interaction from me. They know that our class runs much more smoothly when we are all following the rules. By taking ownership of these rules, they feel that they need to make sure they are being followed. I LOVE this! I really love that they are becoming little cops, enforcing their own rules, in a respectful and responsible way. I can’t wait to see how our classroom community evolves because of these student created rules.

— Stephanie

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Filed under CADRE and my Experiences, Teaching Ideas, Stategies, etc.