Their answers were insightfully deep! Who do you talk to when the teacher is the bully? Here are their answers: the School Board, City Hall, parents, the teacher, your friends, your parents. All of those have the potential of being a right answer. There is another step that we told the students to think about.
We tell parents the same thing we tell students when they are faced with a teacher who needs to improve their classroom manners. Document what you believe is the infraction. Write down the date, time, name, place and the offense that occurred. Do not approach someone when you are angry, chances are that your anger will prevent clear thinking that might lead to a resolution. We told the students a story called "The KIng and His Hawk" about Genghis Khan. In a fit of anger he killed his hawk who was trying to save his life. Approach someone with whom you have a conflict when you are calm.
Writing is a good first step and provides a paper trail of truthful evidence. Talking to the teacher is usually a good step. Letting parents know is always best although not every child has a parent who will listen. An Assistant Principal would usually be told before the Principal. The School Board would be the last resort.
The key lesson that we wanted to give today was about letting go and not holding a grudge. Restoring relationships is a skill. We all make mistakes. Some teachers start out with less than acceptable relationship building skills and improve over time. Becoming a great teacher does not happen over night. Being a teacher in the city is more stressful than being a teacher in the suburbs. I think that being a teacher is one of the most demanding jobs on the planet. They will make mistakes and so will we. Restoring right relationships is a skill we need to learn.
Mentor Force will be there on Saturday when the Community Action Organization of Erie County holds its first Youth Power Summit and Mentor Forum at 11 a.m. March 29 in Bennett High School, 2885 Main St. Stop by and see us!
Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody.