There are a lot of things I love about teaching. I’m not going to list them all in this post, because it’s after 10pm, and I don’t want to be up all night, but I am going to write briefly about a couple of reasons why I love my job.
ONE: I love the unexpected
You never know what each day is going to bring. OK, so some days that could be a Year 10 student telling me not to piss her off (that was last week), but most of the time it’s just the fact that no two days are alike, and I get to talk to kids about things that matter.
TWO: I love the kids
Kids are amazing. And this point pretty much links back to my first point – kids often do and say unexpected things. They can be so insightful, and generous, and passionate, and it can come out of nowhere. I love lots of things about kids, but today I love this.
Why are kids amazing?
I was sitting at my kitchen table writing Year 9 reports on Sunday night (as you do) when a notification popped up on my iPad. One of my Year 7 students had sent me a note on Edmodo, which is not unusual. Edmodo’s a digital learning platform where I create class groups, share links, set assignments, post feedback, answer questions, and generally communicate with my students online.
Welcoming the distraction from Year 9 reports, I opened up the note: “Hi Ms Edwards I am just giving you an idea for something and would like you to read it. Thnx.”
There was a Word document attached. It was from one of my Year 7 students, a boy from my gifted and talented English class, and this is what it said (he gave me permission to post this here):
“Hello Ms Edwards, while I was driving to my Surf Rescue lesson today my mum and I were discussing life and my year at Bossley Park High. What occurred during our conversation was how lucky I am to have the support I get from my parents and family. So it got me thinking and a light bulb turned on… “IDEA”. I would like to share this idea with you.
SCU = Support, Compassion & Understanding – Blog and you shall find….
I thought the school body could consider setting up a blog for BPHS students. The blog would be another option for students who come across overwhelming challenges during their teenage development. It would be a way for them to post feelings that they may struggle with in person.
The only persons to have access to the blog would include: welfare representatives, year advisors, school counsellors prefects and senior buddies.
Students can have an alias log on to make them comfortable and secure their privacy.
The above bodies would reply to the posts with advice, options, community contacts and aid, community events and programs promoting development, character building and support.
Each week the blog would end with a quote to inspire and support the students.
You know, school sometimes becomes selfish and superficial and we forget that it is a community. I believe ‘caring for others’ is an important lesson we learn during our years of development and a quality that builds great leaders.
What do you think..??”
What do I think?????! “My heart is melting!” is what I think.
This impressive young man has thrown himself into our class blog. He has written post after post about environmental issues that he has read about, not because he has to, but because he wants to. And he has been so inspired by the potential of blogging, that he has come up with this beautiful idea to help others. He is thirteen!
He talks about building great leaders. I think he already is one.
While I love blogging A LOT, and I totally get his concept, I’m not sure that a blog is the way to go for kids to seek help, because limiting the blog’s audience may be difficult. But I LOVE the idea of supporting students in the digital sphere. Maybe we could look at a forum, or an Edmodo group… I don’t think kids could be anonymous, because we need to know who they are to help them, but I think my young champion’s ideas have so much potential.
Our students are digital natives, after all. I think it’s time we venture deeper into their habitat, and have them show us around. We can even teach them a thing or two while we’re there. As my student so sagely reminded me, we mustn’t forget that school is a community. The question is: how can we use the digital to build the school community?
Does anyone do this in schools? Could online forums or private groups to provide wellbeing support and advice work? Hit me with your ideas about how we could use digital platforms to provide this kind of online support to kids.