Check Rosalind's Classroom Conversations each month for the latest installment. Read the current issue: When Do Teachers Stay Neutral?
Each month Rosalind Wiseman, best selling book author and bullying prevention specialist, will join forces with ADL to provide this timely resource for educators. Rosalind’s Classroom Conversations includes features on bullying, current events and the social and emotional development of children.
Rosalind Wiseman is a teacher, thought leader, author and media spokesperson on bullying prevention, ethical leadership, the use of social media and media literacy. She is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World—the groundbreaking, best-selling book that was the basis for the movie Mean Girls. Her latest books, Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World was published in September 2013. She also writes the monthly “Ask Rosalind” column in Family Circle magazine, and is a regular contributor to several blogs and websites.
Current issue: When Do Teachers Stay Neutral?
When I first started teaching high school students, the term “politically correct” routinely came up. Especially when I covered sexual harassment, it was not uncommon for a male student to declare that he had the right to make offensive statements because the constitution protected his free speech. Further, he would proclaim that anyone who disagreed with him wasn’t worthy of his respect because they were being “politically correct.”
Is a 6th grader chanting “Build a Wall” in his classroom a political statement or a deliberate act to intimidate other students in the class? What should a teacher do when witnessing this behavior?
Lately I’ve been thinking about the impact of the small, fleeting moments that happen between students and teachers countless times a day. It can be in the hallway, right before or after class, walking between buildings and in the cafeteria.
Words matter. Our words can comfort and express that we understand or that we “see” the other person in front of us. And of course, our words can do the opposite: they can hurt, isolate and make someone feel insignificant.
What would high school be without photographs? Smiling couples at the homecoming dance, athletes racing down fields to win games, actors performing in the spring play. It’s ironic that as much as people describe the awkwardness, drama and sometimes misery of high school, the official school pictures only show the best and happiest of moments.