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Teachers

Ms. Natalie Ringold's lesson in kindness has gone viral.

No matter our age, we all want kindness and respect from our peers. No one enjoys being judged or criticized, and negative comments about our appearance sting even if we don't want them to.

Unfortunately, that doesn't always stop people from pointing out things they think we should change about ourselves. Issues like hair shaming and body shaming are all too common, despite greater awareness of the hurt they cause.

Elementary school teacher Natalie Ringold shared a lesson about this phenomenon, and though it's geared toward kids, it's one a lot of grown-ups could take to heart as well.


Holding a tube of toothpaste, Ms. Ringold explained when it's appropriate to say something about someone's appearance and when it's not.

"If somebody can't change something about themselves in 30 seconds or less," she said, "then you shouldn't be mentioning it to them."

She gave examples of things that do take 30 seconds or less, such as if someone's shoe is untied or they have something stuck to their shirt or their fly is unzipped. For those things, it's okay to tell the person (politely, and in private if it's something that might embarrass them to point out in front of other people) so they can fix it.

But if it's something that would take more than 30 seconds to change or isn't even possible to change, like their hairsytle or hair color or body shape, then that's not something you should comment on.

"Your words have power," Ms. Ringold said. Squeezing toothpaste out of the tube, she explained that when you say something about someone that they can't change in 30 seconds or less, it can be hurtful, and just like toothpaste once it's out of the tube, you can't fully take it back once it's out there.

"You try to apologize, you try to take the words back…and you try to undo what you said, undo what you did. But it's something they couldn't change about themselves, and so it get very messy. You can't totally take those words back. You can't totally fix it."

"Your words have power and your words matter," she said. "If you walk out of this room spreading kindness to the people around you, spreading love to the people around you, that is what truly makes a difference."

Ms. Ringold shared that she does this lesson with her students on the last day of school because she wants them to remember this concept for the rest of their lives. People in the comments were so appreciative of the message for all ages.

"I think many adults need to hear this message!"

"Exactly my thoughts. A lot of adults need to hear this too."

"BLESS YOU!!! As a person who was relentlessly racially harassed as a child, I wish this was taught."

"If they are old enough to be mean on purpose they are old enough to be kind on purpose."

"This should be required viewing for anyone who wants to join social media."

"This made me cry. Can I start my college courses with this?"

"I saw you post this and had this conversation with my 4th graders!! It helped so much!!"

Here's to teachers teaching lessons beyond academics, helping kids learn that their humanity matters just as much as their grades.

Education

A school assignment asked for 3 benefits of slavery. This kid gave the only good answer.

The school assignment was intended to spark debate and discussion — but isn't that part of the problem?

A school assignment asked for 3 "good" reasons for slavery.



It's not uncommon for parents to puzzle over their kids' homework.

Sometimes, it's just been too long since they've done long division for them to be of any help. Or teaching methods have just changed too dramatically since they were in school.

And other times, kids bring home something truly inexplicable.

Trameka Brown-Berry was looking over her 4th-grade son Jerome's homework when her jaw hit the floor.

"Give 3 'good' reasons for slavery and 3 bad reasons," the prompt began.

You read that right. Good reasons ... FOR SLAVERY.

Lest anyone think there's no way a school would actually give an assignment like this, Brown-Berry posted photo proof to Facebook.



In the section reserved for "good reasons," (again, for slavery), Jerome wrote, "I feel there is no good reason for slavery thats why I did not write."

Yep. That about covers it.

The school assignment was intended to spark debate and discussion — but isn't that part of the problem?

The assignment was real. In the year 2018. Unbelievable.

The shockingly offensive assignment deserved to be thrown in the trash. But young Jerome dutifully filled it out anyway.

His response was pretty much perfect.

We're a country founded on freedom of speech and debating ideas, which often leads us into situations where "both sides" are represented. But it can only go so far.

There's no meaningful dialogue to be had about the perceived merits of stripping human beings of their basic living rights. No one is required to make an effort to "understand the other side," when the other side is bigoted and hateful.

In a follow-up post, Brown-Berry writes that the school has since apologized for the assignment and committed to offering better diversity and sensitivity training for its teachers.

But what's done is done, and the incident illuminates the remarkable racial inequalities that still exist in our country. After all, Brown-Berry told the Chicago Tribune, "You wouldn't ask someone to list three good reasons for rape or three good reasons for the Holocaust."

At the very end of the assignment, Jerome brought it home with a bang: "I am proud to be black because we are strong and brave ... "

Good for Jerome for shutting down the thoughtless assignment with strength and amazing eloquence.


This article originally appeared on 01.12.18

Education

Former teacher gets blunt about the 'denial' some parents have about their kids education

"They're more concerned about the optics…than about taking care of the child's needs."

@bodacious.bobo/TikTok

A former teacher breaks downt he "denial" some parents have about their kid's academic performance

Many kids are seriously struggling in school. According to US News, an estimated 49% of public students started off the 2022-2023 school year behind in at least one subject as last year. That’s only a small fraction better than the 50% of students behind in the previous year.

And while there are several factors contributing to this issue—recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, a lack of resources for many public schools, a teacher shortage, etc.—several educators feel that a majorly overlooked aspect is the parents' involvement, or lack thereof, in their child’s education.


Recently, one former teacher bluntly stated that it was parents' “denial” that’s to blame. Odion, who now works as a flight attendant, made her case in response to another teacher asking parents “Why don’t y’all know that your kids aren’t performing on their grade level?” on TikTok.

In the original video, the teacher (@qbthedon) laments that even though he teaches 7th grade, most of them still perform on a 4th grade level, and, despite his efforts, those kids still move onto the next grade. The worst part is that the parents don’t seem to be aware that their kids are struggling.

@qbthedon Lets chat!! #fyp #viral #teachertok ♬ original sound - QBSkiiii

This lack of awareness and engagement dates back further than the pandemic years, says Odion, who taught Pre-K and Kindergarten in 2013.

Case in point: parent-teacher conference nights, where virtually no parent would show up. Odion then recalled one father who did attend with his daughter, called Tia for the story, but would not believe that Tia did not know the full alphabet.

"In kindergarten, you have to at least know, I think it was 80% of the 52 letters, as in uppercase and lowercase, and you have to be able to identify at random. So, I'm telling the dad that she barely knows 10 letters. And he's in denial. 'Nah, you know, she knows her letters,'" Odion says.

She then acts out that night, using a makeshift flashcard like she did to test Tia.

"I literally said, 'What letter is this?'” Odion says while holding up the letter “M.” “She said something that's not it. Put another one down. 'What letter is this?' She don't know it."

teaching

"I literally said, 'What letter is this?'”

@bodacious.bobo/TikTok

Even still, the dad insisted that Tia knew her letters, then eventually blamed Tia’s older brother, who, despite only being a sixth grader himself, was apparently “supposed to teach her.”

“It is not up to a child in elementary school, or middle school, or really any of your older kids, as someone who's an older child... It is not up to the kids to teach younger kids,” Odion says in the clip.

Using another example, Odion states that a fifth grader in her class was reading at a kindergarten level and could only process basic sentences like “I see you” and “I like to see.”

In this instance, the students should be held back in order to fully learn the year’s curriculum. But Odion argues that parents fight against it “because they are more concerned about the optics of a child being held back than actually taking care of the child's needs."

parenting

"Parents, y'all can't be backseat drivers about your child's learning."

@bodacious.bobo/TikTok

In this instance, the students should be held back in order to fully learn the year’s curriculum. But Odion argues that parents fight against it “because they are more concerned about the optics of a child being held back than actually taking care of the child's needs."

While the research shows that holding kids back a grade doesn’t necessarily improve their academic performance, and that there are pros and cons either way, the biggest point Odion seems to be trying to make is that parents need to be more proactive in their child’s education.

"Parents, y'all can't be backseat drivers about your child's learning. You have to help reinforce it at home. You put a kid in front of that phone or iPad whenever they come home, it better be on YouTube, and it better be learning about letters and sight words. You can't tell me you can't read to the kid. It takes 10 minutes to read to the kid. No one is that busy,” she concludes.

Watch the full video below:

@bodacious_bobo #stitch with @QBSkiiii ♬ original sound - Odion • $OdionE

This article originally appeared on 1.5.24

@stillateacher/TikTok

Are AP kids as insufferable as they seem? Not according to Ms. C.

Think back to all those centuries ago (kidding), when you were but a wee teen in high school. Suddenly identity exploration and finding a sense of belonging become paramount. In those pivotal years, you meet other like-minded individuals with similar tastes and interests, and those people become your exclusive group of friends, otherwise known as a clique.

High school might look very different now than how it once did, but this rite of passage is still very much alive and well. Just ask Ms. C, who goes by the handle @stillateacher on TikTok.

Ms. C recently went viral for sharing a look at high school cliques from her perspective as a teacher, honing in on what she liked about teaching each clique. Her observations illuminate not only that yes, cliques persist (and with them their inherent problems) but that there’s something genuine, sweet and loveable about each one.

First on deck—the goth kids, primarily because Ms. C admits to being scared of them when she was a kid. But now, after actually connecting with a few, she insists that underneath those dark and gloomy exteriors lies genuine kindness.

“A common interaction between me and a goth kid is throughout class, they're just kind of like giving me a death glare…And then after class, they just like linger around by my desk and I'm like, ‘Hey, what's up?’ And they'll just like lightly knock over something on my desk and be like, ‘You're a really good teacher. This is my favorite class.’ and then just walk out,” she says in the clip.

So yeah, goth kids are just like cats. Misunderstood in the way they show love.

@stillateacher Something loveable about every clique #teacher #teachersoftiktok #teachertok #highschool #clique ♬ original sound - Ms. C

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Ms. C tackles theater kids next. Sure, this group has a big personality (perhaps too big for some), but Ms. C appreciates their brazen self-assurance.

“They reeeeealllly don’t care what anyone thinks,” she says, explaining that while other students add well-known pop singers to her class playlist, theater kids will shamelessly put in their favorite show tunes. Why? Because it’s “the best musical of all time!” Duh.

Plus, Ms. C commends their “really strong literacy skills from reading and memorizing all of these plays.”

For jocks, there are actually sub-cliques within the group “depending on which sport you play.” But despite each sport team having different personalities, Ms. C notes that a supportive coach makes all the difference.

“I've literally before picked up my phone and called the coach and then like be like, ‘So and so is having a tough day,’ and they come and talk to them in the hallway and the student is like immediately changed, inspired, transformed,” she says.

And while she admits that the teacher/jock relationship is often portrayed as contentious, she can’t help but commend jocks for their passion and commitment.

“A lot of the kids are just like die-hard for whatever sport they play. That keeps them coming to school consistently. It keeps them having something to do,” she says.

After her initial post received over 800,000 views, Ms. C began reviewing even more cliques. Like band kids, who are “clever,” “sarcastic," fond of outdated memes and generally “lead a fun, joyful existence.”

@stillateacher Replying to @juan pablo Suarez band kids get a 5 star review #teacher #teachersoftiktok #teachertok #highschool #clique ♬ original sound - Ms. C

Or art kids, who are “self-deprecating” but “brilliant” and “generous” and “unproblematic royalty” overall.

@stillateacher Replying to @Escape_My_Reality ♬ original sound - Ms. C

Ms. C has even advocated for the AP overachievers, who are often labeled as insufferable in their eagerness.

@stillateacher Replying to @520momo_mama I will defend overachievers to the death #teacher #teachersoftiktok #teachertok #highschool #clique ♬ original sound - Ms. C

“You all have an edge and an intensity that you can leverage to lead truly extraordinary lives,” says, before joking that they’ll “also need a lot of therapy, so many blessings to you on that journey, and the earlier you start the better.”

Requests for more clique reviews are still rolling in, asking Ms. C to cover the skater punks, the nerds, the speech and debate team, cheerleaders and dancers, …and a lot of folks have suggested choir kids. So be sure to follow Ms. C for more wholesome entertainment.

High school cliques might evolve with the different generations, but one thing that will never change is that they each have something unique to offer.


This article originally appeared on 9.18.23