When the Principal is a Bully


My husband Travis actually found this but I felt compelled to share. I know that many of my educator friends will apprecitereciate this. Even if you haven’t personally been in this situation, you probably know a colleague who has. Let me go on record & say that I ūüíô my principal & this is definitely not a reference to him! ūüėä My prayer is that one day this type of leadership will be eradicated. Should you decide to comment, please be sensitive & withhold any personally identifiable information. Thanks!

Learning About Learning

*Please note that due to the personal nature of many of the responses to this post, I am no longer approving further comments.  This post has had a large number of visceral responses, which tells me this is not an isolated problem.  I hope that everyone reading this will recognize the signs and work to end this practice in schools.  I have not been bullied by a principal myself, but I am close to someone who has been, and it is gut-wrenching to see what it can do to a talented and caring educator.  

Thanks for reading.

Since International Day of Pink  this past week (April 11, 2012), bullying in schools is once again a hot topic. But what if the bullying in the school isn’t among students?

What if the biggest bully in the school is the Principal?

Many people would be surprised to hear that the teachers…

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My Child is More Than You’ll Ever Understand


~ My truth & my life as a parent of child with ADHD ~
MY CHILD ISN’T CALM. HE RUNS ON ALL CYLINDERS. MY CHILD ISN’T QUIET. HE’S AS LOUD AS THEY COME. ¬†
HE ISN’T ARROGANT & unwilling to engage you. HE CAN BE ANXIOUS. HE DOESN’T AVOID YOU BECAUSE HE’S UNSOCIABLE. HE IS SAD WHEN YOU LEAVE HIM. ¬†MY CHILD ISN’T POMPOUS. HE’S PROUD WHEN HE DOES WELL. ¬†MY CHILD ISN’T SNOOTY. HE IS NERVOUS during NEW OR¬†irregular social situations.
HE IS QUICK TO ANGER. ¬†HE IS DISTRACTIBLE. ¬†HE SHOUTS. ¬†He uses HURTFUL WORDS & PHRASES. ¬†HE INTERRUPTS. ¬†HE IS EASILY FRUSTRATED. ¬†HE’S OBNOXIOUS…
HE CAN’T WAIT HIS TURN. ¬†HE CAN’T TELL ME ABOUT HIS DAY WITHOUT COMPLETE SILENCE. ¬†HE CAN’T READ BOOKS ALOUD TO ME WITHOUT COMPLETE SILENCE. ¬†HE CAN’T MAINTAIN A STRUCTURED ACTIVITY WITHOUT CONTINUOUS POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT & redirection. ¬†HE CAN’T RESPOND EFFECTIVELY¬†TO OTHERS WHEN being spoken to by A raised VOICE.
WHEN YOU SEE US & WE DON’T SEE YOU, I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING, BUT YOU ARE WRONG. ¬†WHEN YOU SEE US & WE DO SEE YOU, I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING, BUT YOU ARE WRONG. ¬†MY CHILD ISN’T UNPARENTED. ¬†HE IS PARENTED MORE OFTEN THAN MANY because HE REQUIRES IT.
My child¬†IS An incredibly SPECIAL BOY WHO LOVES FIERCELY. ¬†HE CRAVES CONSTANT LOVE, ATTENTION & PRAISE. ¬†“KISSES, HUGS & SQUEEZES” ARE PART OF our DAILY ROUTINE as is with anyone else he loves. ¬†HE’S ATHLETIC. ¬†He’s PASSIONATE ON THE FIELD & is HYPER-FOCUSED. HE’S VERY BRIGHT BUT HE FEARS BEING WRONG or doing schoolwork incorrectly.
HE DOESN’T plan TO BE ANXIOUS & NERVOUS, BUT NEW OR IRREGULAR SOCIAL SITUATIONS HEIGHTEN HIS EMOTIONS – FOR GOOD & BAD. ¬†HE HURTS THOSE WHO ARE CLOSEST TO HIM BECAUSE¬†we are who¬†HE IS MOST COMFORTABLE WITH. ¬†
Above everything, HE LOVES ME & I LOVE HIM. ¬†He loves his Daddy. ¬†HE’S FUNNY. ¬†So VERY, VERY FUNNY. ¬†HE’S A TERRIFIC BIG BROTHER WHO ANTAGONIZEs¬†HIS YOUNGER BROTHER No¬†MORE THAN ANY TYPICAL KID. ¬†He’s a terrific big brother who teaches younger brother new things. ¬†He gives him Love & affection when he is sick, sleepy, sad or just because. ¬†
So, the next time you find yourself formulating an opinion based on what you see in a small snip-it of time or based on what you think you know, think again.
He is mine & I love him as fiercely as he does me.  

Gaslighting as a Workplace Bullying Tactic


I surely hope that I never find myself so insecure in my leadership that I become a controlling, micromanaging, bullying sociopath.  

Minding the Workplace

gaslightSpecific workplace bullying¬†tactics can run from the obvious and transparent to the remarkably deceitful and calculated.¬† Among the most treacherous of the latter is ‚Äúgaslighting,‚ÄĚ defined in Wikipedia as:

…a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity. It may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

Gaslighting at work can range from orchestrated, manipulative aggressor-to-target behaviors, to HR officers expressing faux incredulity in response to claims of abusive mistreatment. Recently, gaslighting has appeared as a topic of discussion on Facebook among workplace bullying subject matter experts. It’s overdue for a mention here.

Pop culture origins

Dr. Martha Stout, in her book The Sociopath Next Door (2005), describes the origins…

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Dining Room Furniture Makeover


On January 1, 2005, I lost one of the most extraordinary people I had ever known in my young life. I was no stranger to death but I had never lost anyone so close. It was a definitely a defining moment for me. Until then, I suppose I had taken life for granted. I loved my Grandma beyond measure. She cared for my brother, sister & me like we were her own. She may as well have birthed us just like our own mom did. Grandma made sure we never went without. She was the main reason why I was the first in our family to graduate college. My brother & sister were able to then follow suit. There is so much more that I can’t even begin to include or I would never take my fingers away from the keyboard. Bottom line… She was magnificent.

I’m not going to lie; despite all of her incredible qualities, she was unquestionably a little rough around the edges. I presume it was because she lost her own mother at a very young age & she was left as the only girl in a house full of boys. She was extremely intelligent, yet she never finished school. At 15, she eloped to Clayton, Georgia & married my Papaw. Grandma was never one to mince words with anyone & she had a razor sharp tongue. I remember hearing the following phrase frequently roll off her tongue to my Papaw, You. god. damn. sonofabitch. And that is exactly how she would say it.

We went to Grandma’s & Papaw’s house almost every day. Sunday dinners were a given & holiday meals were simply the best. I spent the night with them more times than I can possible count. Most every time I was at their house, I would discover something new & my treasure would inevitably go home with me. However, of all the things in my grandparents’ house, there was nothing that I coveted more than my Grandma’s China cabinet. I’m not sure why I adored it so much or even why it fascinated me at such a young age. All I knew was that I wished it was mine. Perhaps it was the lining inside the drawers. I’m not sure how the lining found its way into the drawers or if it is authentic. Regardless, it gave it such an old fashioned feel that it drew me in & I fell in love.

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Continue reading Dining Room Furniture Makeover

We are NOT “The Hannah’s”.


These days, one of my favorite activities is combing Pinterest in the hopes of sparking some internal inspiration.  Pinterest is my go-to gal (or guy if you prefer a dude) who helps me decompress & relax after a long day.  She makes be believe that anything is possible & also gives me the courage to try new things.  Without her, a lack of vision & creativity leaves my mind devoid of any original thoughts when it comes to making my home & life more manageable. It’s annoying & can be extremely irritating, but it is what it is.

And that, my friends, is why I heart Pinterest!

Continue reading We are NOT “The Hannah’s”.

Be a Beck: Parenting Advice from The Grammys


Such a valuable lesson for my own kids & for my students at school

Are You Finished Yet?

Perhaps the hardest part of parenting is figuring out how to ensure your children don‚Äôt grow up to be a-holes. Finding a hiding place to scarf down a bag of Cheetos before they sniff you out and ask you to share is a close second, but I digress. In our house, we follow the very simple yet effective motto of ‚Äúdon‚Äôt be a jackleg,‚ÄĚ born from my father‚Äôs term for various plagues on society. We like to point out jackleg moves, then tell the kids to do the opposite:¬†See that lady texting and driving? She‚Äôs a jackleg. If you ever do that, you‚Äôll be a big fat jackleg. Don‚Äôt do that. So far, it has provided them with a pretty solid set of parameters for how not to act. But I worry we focus on the negative a little too much. My discipline repertoire could really use some positive‚Ķ

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‘You are not alone’


Hysterical, but unfortunately, oh so true!

madsiers

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 9.46.32 AM Do you put your dirty feet up on the seats? A.S.S.

Today I’d like to talk about an important issue that affects us all. A growing epidemic that causes the needless suffering of millions of Americans every year. It’s called Acute Selfishness Syndrome.

Acute Selfishness Syndrome, or A.S.S., is a condition marked by low self-awareness, in which otherwise normal people temporarily seem to lose track of reality, and enter an alternate consciousness in which they believe they are the only people in the world. While in this state they are likely to exhibit any number of public nuisance behaviors that a person of normal sanity and awareness would consider inappropriate or obnoxious.

Acute Selfishness Syndrome Effects Sufferers (A.S.S.E.S.) come in all forms. Perhaps the most common way that people show their A.S.S. is talking loudly on cellphones in confined public spaces. In these instances, the A.S.S. individual appears to believe he or…

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A Baby for My Baby Boy


The family & I recently wrapped up a 9 day camping getaway trip.  The spawns were lively & entertaining as ever.  They played soccer & cornhole.  They helped catch fish.  They swam & shot waterguns.  They went for walks at the dam & in the woods.  Spawn C had a baby.

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A few days into our trip, C let us in on a little secret. ¬†He told us he had a baby & his name was Burgess. ¬†To say the least, we weren’t surprised. ¬†He frequently rides his tricycle two rooms over to the grocery store when we’re at home. ¬†He fills up the trike at the gas station. ¬†He is constantly in the land of imaginative play. ¬†So why wouldn’t he want to “play Daddy” too.

None of us discouraged him from having his baby.  We all bought into it & played right along Рincluding Spawn G.  From singing lullabies to making sure C knew where Burgess was at all times, we helped nurture his play & used the opportunity to teach responsibility & manners.  Undoubtedly, the love he had for his baby was already there.

Since returning home, his Daddy has shown him pictures of boy baby dolls online (since Burgess is a boy) & C has decided he wants one instead of pretending to have one.  Our next stop will be the store where he can pick one out.

 

Gear Up for the Best School Year Ever


When I was pregnant with my first child, I swore I would never do it again. ¬†Pregnancy did not agree with me. ¬†AT ALL. ¬†I did not have the special glow that so many women seem to exude. ¬†I’m just going to throw this out there. ¬†I did not like being pregnant. ¬†Period. ¬†And I let anyone who would listen know it. ¬†Each time¬†I made some off-handed remark about not torturing myself or my body again, without fail, someone (likely someone who previously glowed) would assure me that once it was all over, I would forget and my body would forgive. ¬†I’ll give those ladies one point. ¬†My body did forgive, but let it be known, I most definitely remember.

I think of my two pregnancies now (Yes, I did it again) and my two magnificent little boys as I am gearing up for yet another school year. ¬†Pregnancy is a lot like being an educator. (Stick with me fellas!) ¬†Think about the last month of school and how it seems to drag on for eons. ¬†Not to mention the one or two hemorrhoids that cause pain in the derri√®re all day long (for months, probably). ¬†Nerves are on edge & moodiness rears its ugly head. ¬†Nonetheless, enough energy is mustered to¬†smile & kids’ needs are put at the forefront.

Fast forward one month. The kids are out. ¬†The ten months are over. ¬†Was it really so bad? ¬†Maybe. ¬†Maybe not. ¬†Despite how the ten months may or may not have gone, something magical occurs with time. ¬†I forgive, much like my body did. ¬†I forgive for¬†whatever may have caused pain, anxiety, stress or anything else that proved difficult. ¬†I don’t forget my experiences during the previous months, as that would be senseless. ¬†Remembrance and reflection are as important as the experiences themselves.

Will I be ready to do it all over again?  You bet.

How do you gear up for a new school year?

 

Keep Kids Learning & Growing All Summer Long


This post is coming to you from 2 perspectives – one as a parent & also as an educator. ¬†As a the parent of 2 lovely spawns, nothing is more intolerable than antsy kiddos. ¬†At 3 & 5, my boys are always doing something. ¬†More often than not, their “doing” needs some harnessing. ¬†What better way to learn & grow as a family than to support & engage them in educational opportunities during the summer months. ¬†It’s not too late to start. ¬†There is still plenty of summer to be enjoyed!
 

Continue reading Keep Kids Learning & Growing All Summer Long