Tag Archives: global epidemic

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, is 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

School Shooting… too close to home.

I always knew that school violence existed and could affect me, but I honestly never thought that there would be a school shooting just a couple miles from my own school. Unfortunately, this dark and scary scenario did become reality this past Wednesday, January 5th, 2011, my district’s first day back after winter break.

Robert Butler, Jr., the son of an Omaha police officer, entered Millard South High School and decided to take the life of Vice Principal Dr. Vicki Kaspar and seriously injuring Principal Curtis Case. He then drove a short distance away and took his own life.I cannot imagine what it was like for the administrators and students who were in the office when the shooting occurred, but I can tell you what it was like for me and my students at the time.

My students and I were in our school library when our principal came over the intercom telling us that we were in a code red. Prior to this, we had practiced code yellow and code red three times, so I knew exactly what to do. I gathered my students and ushered them into the aisles of books in the library. The doors were locked and the lights were turned off and I instructed my students to remain still and quiet. I knew right away that this was a real code red and not just a drill, because we did not practice a code yellow right before. I was concerned but not overly fearful at first. But as we sat there for what seemed like forever, I started to become more scared. The administrators announced that we could check our emails for updates regarding the situation, however, I did not have my laptop and was unable to find out what was going on. The principal finally came over the intercom, after about 40 minutes, to let us know that there was an incident at another school but that we were completely safe. We remained in a code red for about another 15 minutes and then went into a code yellow until school let out at 2:45.

When I found out, at about 2 pm,  what had happened, I was in total shock. This was literally a couple miles from my school! I attended all of the Millard North football home games at the Millard South stadium, all of my new teacher training was at Millard South, and my CADRE mentor was a teacher there for a long time. I know that this seems like a flimsy connection, but it feels personal. I can’t help but imagine what was going on in that school or how I would have reacted. Would I have been able to think rationally enough to follow procedure? I hope so. I know the administrators, teachers, and office personnel at Millard South did. They did a fabulous job keeping the students safe and getting help to the school quickly.

When you talk to a student about his/her grade or behavior, do you think about how they are going to react? Does it ever occur to you that the consequences they earn for their behavior will be taken out on you? I never did before the 5th. I am a teacher, someone who holds pieces of my students’ futures in my hands. If I screw up or upset a student, especially one who may be unstable, I could be putting myself at risk. But, my job requires me to be the best teacher I can be and to follow the district and school policies regarding discipline. What if a student blames me for THEIR consequences? That’s what happened to Dr. Kaspar and she lost her life. I think that I will have these thoughts for a little while, but I don’t think they will get in the way of what I’ve always done. However,  I feel like my innocence as a teacher has been taken away… but I’m not entirely sure that is a bad thing. I just wish that it didn’t happen as the result of such a horrible incident.

I don’t know what else to say. My prayers go out to all of the victims of this tragedy.

School Shooting in the News

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Human Trafficking VoiceThread

http://voicethread.com/share/1220030/

I have posted this VoiceThread link here for three reasons: 1. VoiceThread is an amazing tool that allows all members of the community (if you choose) to post and comment on many different topics, 2. This is a topic I feel very strongly about, however, I am confused about who should be teaching it and when and want to discuss this with other people, and 3. I wanted to paste my audio commentary for you visual learners, so you can follow along or refer back.

Here is what I said in my VoiceThread (more or less):

Human Trafficking is a growing global epidemic, and it is something I feel passionately about. The statistics are shocking, however, what I find the most terrifying is that a large proportion of people, especially in the United States, are unaware that human trafficking is the number one fastest growing international crime in the world…. And it has been documented in at least, every major city in the country. So why is this epidemic going un-noticed? According to this article, many people are not learning about human trafficking until they reach college, and then in only certain fields of study. The reason I am discussing this topic here is because I feel that there is a major disconnect between the huge majority of young people who are affected by this and by those who are learning about it. How do we bridge this gap?

I find the quote at the end of the article outrageous. The professor quoted says, “Most students here have international experience, so there’s a presumption that the topic would be quite firmly established,” she said. “But it isn’t. Students gasp when they hear what happens, and I get a twisted sense of joy that I’m the first to tell them about something.” Well… I think it’s twisted that these students are only now learning about human trafficking and that she find a twisted sense of joy in that.

So tell me in your comments, When should students be learning about human trafficking and who should be teaching it?

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