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Life Skills Support Teacher

The reasoning you express

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The reasoning you express Carolyn is exactly why many kids are so unmanageable. Too many adults are too timid to play the strong authoritative figure. They would rather be a child's "friend" than a figure of authority that must be respected and complied with when given directions. It all started in the 1940s with Dr. Benjamin Spock, who has done quite a bit of harm to a few generations of American kids with his passive approach to child rearing.

Kids truly crave to be led by strong figures who can be resolute and decisive. Weak figures encourage more non-compliance and disrespect, therefore undermining any attempt to establish an environment where learning can take place. People tend to mistakenly equate being firm and resolute with being a martinet. An increasingly hyper-feminized/masculine-averse segment of society, combined with liberal doses of questionable political correctness, has contributed to this thinking as well.

Gifted Language Arts/Technology Teacher

As soon as you "sit that boy

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As soon as you "sit that boy down" you will have lost him. He won't hear a single word of that "strong lecture" and you will have lost him for the rest of the year. I think you handled it beautifully!

I agree with K. You showed

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I agree with K. You showed immense compassion and wisdom to suspend your justifiable right to upbraid him about the insensitivity of his questions. Your ability to step outside of yourself-nonetheless a part of yourself that I assume is extremely sacred-took a lot of guts and wisdom. Even teachers have feelings.
I am so excited that your gentle approach appears to have made a positive impression on him. I feel strongly that Intelligent students of this generation who think deeply and observe intently aren't going to be satisfied with mere words, but rather by being provided with a respectful place where they can learn and grow in their own way (even when they are not always respectful). Evidently your actions and character have given way to his personal realization that indeed, you do not have horns. Your story gives me courage to hope, at the risk of appearing weak and 'wishy-washy,' that humility in teaching is in fact the strongest statement that we can make to our students if we hope for them to grow as thoughtful and open-minded citizens.

Great story with an even

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Great story with an even greater message, Heather. As a devout Christian, I have been put in similar situations in my own classroom. I think that your message is important and translatable, especially during an election cycle. It may be difficult, but I believe putting our religion and politics aside for the sake of student learning is crucial. Our jobs are indeed political and we should be honest with ourselves about that fact. But sharing our personal politics with our students is a slippery slope. Of course, elections are a completely different animal that someone's salvation, but your article sparked this in my mind.

Life Skills Support Teacher

"I'll let you decide that,

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"I'll let you decide that, Eduardo."

Heather, this is exactly the kind of wishy washy non-confrontational approach that just drives me mad. This kid could be being exposed to all types of horrific anti-Semitic tripe in his home environment. Just thinking Jews have horns, a rather antiquated insult, as you likely know, next to that old blood libel charge or the so-called ZOG conspiracy, is an opportunity to sit this kid down and give him a stern lecture on what Jews have had to endure for the last several thousand years and what they still have to endure today around the world via terrorist oppression and persecution.

I am sure if this kid had said something equally vile about Muslims that alarms would have gone off at the school and sensitivity trainers would have been called in to subject this kid to immediate brain reprogramming.

The inequity with how we place certain cultures on a higher plane of offensiveness-alert is simply appalling. I know this to be true because I pay very close attention to the news and take careful note of which groups are permitted to be routinely impugned without fear of reprisal and which groups are treated more delicately. It's sickening when traditional faiths are treated more disrespectfully.

And you, being a Jew, should never permit such distortions to exist within your sphere. You are not just a teacher, but a parental figure and a responsible adult figure. Clearly, Eduardo has a severe deficit in his life outside of your classroom. It's your job to set him straight.

Sorry, but sometimes, you've got to tell kids the difference between right and wrong. The egalitarian approach will only cause confusion.

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