Today in our C.A.R.E. meeting I chose the topic, "How do I know if I'm being a bully?" This has, of course, spiraled off of my own students' actions lately and my belief in the need for them to take responsibility for themselves and the changes that need to be made. Instead of just starting in with all the doom and gloom and making my students feel bad about themselves (though I always stand up and admit the bullying tendencies that I too have exhibited in life when applicable so they're not totally out there alone) I decided to start positive and asked my students to take a minute and think about one thing that they REALLY LIKE about themselves.
Now, I walk around my classroom with an insanely over exaggerated sense of swagger now and again. My students would probably have to dig deep to find insecurities that I think are as glaringly obvious as the sun. Regardless, I'm often full of flash, show, and more than a little hot air. It helps me compete with the best of them frankly. I've got one little boy who doesn't know when NOT to talk about himself and his belief that his looks are God's gift to women. It fact, when I was teaching angles in math a couple months back I couldn't say the word "acute" without him loudly and proudly pronouncing, "Like me!"
But for all that bluster, as I went around the room today asking students what they most liked about themselves, most of them shut down. They couldn't think of a single think of worth or value. I had to have other students come up with a litany of reasons for many of my normally bold and outrageous students. After hearing them all, they were hesitant to pick one that they actually identified with.
So I guess we all like to put up a front now and then to hide any failings we might feel burdened to carry. Now I'm wondering if my next meeting should be about finding value in ourselves...because it doesn't really matter how many nice things we have to say about each other at the end of the day if, in our hearts of hearts, we don't really believe it.