from ’Teacher’s Point of View’
“I’ve heard other parents say that their child has been bullied in one of our schools. One of my children has also been bullied. The handful of students whom I’ve asked about this program report that it’s “so boring” Newcomer said.
If it’s fairly new in our schools (the Character Counts program), I guess we’ll have to track student surveys and student/parental complaints to see if reports of bullying do indeed decline after a few years of implementation. Afterall, any program needs to effectively address areas needing improvement in order to be considered successful. I haven’t yet heard any complaints of our students’ irresponsibility or lack of trustworthiness (2 of the 6 “pillars” of character) being problematic throughout the student body. But the bullying is a problem and we need to stay on top of it. I’m willing to give this character counts program a chance, but if there’s no measureable improvement in bullying reports over time, then I’d be open to trying something else that would directly address a clearly identified area of student behavior that several parents feel needs improvement.”
There are definitely reports of bullying like you stated. And I agree with you that it’s important to address this across the student body. To address only the ‘bullies’ wouldn’t be as effective. All students need to learn to identify bullying behavior so they can advocate for themselves and their peers.
As for character counts being boring, well, to some it is. But that doesn’t make it less important. Many students would describe math or reading as boring as well, but it is still important that we teach it. Whether it’s boring or not depends on two things. One is the teachers that are facilitating the group. I know some students love it and look forward to those days. They find the facilitators to be fun and exciting. The second thing is the attitude the students bring to the group. If a group has even a few students that the class sees as leaders and they’re enthusiastic, it will be infectious. In certain dynamics, students find it fun and exciting, in others, not so much.
Trustworthiness and responsibility needs to be taught and reinforced to pretty much every student in the middle school age group. Are the majority of students not trustworthy? Of course not. But many are. And even the students that are mostly trustworthy aren’t all the time in every situation. There’s always room for improvement and opportunities for discussion in this area. As for responsibility, this is problematic. I’ve seen specific classes accumulate over 200 late homework assignments in a single quarter before. I think there’s is definite room for improvement in the area of responsibility. It’s not a problem specific to Woodstock, it’s a problem specific to this age group.