Safety Nets

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how schools really act as safety nets for our students. Schools really are so much more than just a place for students to share new ideas, find their voices, and learn about themselves and the world around them. The reality is our kids — no matter what their backgrounds are, where they are from, what their parents do — all have a lot going on outside of the classroom. Things that they bring with them to school each and every day.

I mean, I get it. We all have a lot going on in our lives. And we all acknowledge that one way or another, right?

And I know that particularly within the English classroom, we have a great opportunity to push students outside of their normal comfort zones to think more critically about the world around them…while also providing a safety net to balance out questions and problems as they arise. Here we are able to help students make connections and help them see how awesome diversity and differences really are.

Yet, despite schools being a safety net, we’ve recently seen many cases in the news about how bullying is everywhere. And it’s taking place inside of schools — the safety nets — as well as outside of schools, too.

How do we, as educators, combat it?

I know this question could stir discussions all day as I’ve had many myself with colleagues. I know that at our school we are implementing the TalkAboutIt Program that has received great reviews thus far, and I’m really excited to learn more about it. I know that I smiled when my AP kids wanted to write “more thoroughly” about bullying which led to our end of unit essay focused on cause/effect to discuss bullying.

I know that there are no easy answers, but I also know we have to do more.

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