This video is fairly basic, but covers some very important points… Look for more resources under the Suicide Prevention Tab on this website.
This fun program is designed to prepare people interested in serving as a substitute teacher or ed tech. There will be plenty of “hands on learning” that will include important classroom management techniques and teaching strategies. We’ll also cover some legal aspects and help you develop your own “sub pack” of resources and an action plan that will get you started on the right foot! If you’ve been subbing, this is a great opportunity for a “refresher” and some new ideas. Attendees will earn a certificate recognized by many local districts. One student comments, “…very engaging with a lot of real life scenarios. I came away with new information even after subbing for a year.” The program is taught by Walter Boomsma, an experienced substitute teacher and adult educator.
September 12, 2017, Tuesday–Substitute Teacher Workshop at PHEC, Dover Foxcroft. 9 AM — 4 PM, Course Sponsor is PVAEC.
RSU 19 Adult Ed is offering an evening program with the option of including the Suicide Prevention course required of all public school employees by LD 609.
September 26, 2017, Tuesday–Substitute Teacher Workshop I at Warsaw Elementary School, Pittsfield. 6 PM — 9 PM (must attend two nights), Course Sponsor is MSAD 53.
September 28, 2017, Thursday–Substitute Teacher Workshop II at Warsaw Elementary School, Pittsfield. 6 PM — 9 PM (must attend two nights), Course Sponsor is MSAD 53.
October 3, 2017, Tuesday–Substitute Teacher Workshop III (Suicide Awareness) at Warsaw Elementary School, Pittsfield. Course Sponsor is MSAD 53.
A recent post on Facebook told the story of a teacher shopping for school supplies. She was approached by several parents shopping together (who had their school-aged children with them) and subsequently forced to listen to them complain about how much they were spending on back-to-school supplies and how teachers must think parents are made out of money. Apparently, they didn’t notice that the teacher was spending even more money than they. Her cart was full of things she needed and supplies to help out the students she knew would not have what was necessary.
It was an interesting story, certainly. The teacher handled a potentially ugly situation gracefully and sympathetically. I admired that but felt a real kinship with her when she described what she really wanted to say those parents.
Adults often “thing” children. We forget they are there and, more importantly, forget they are watching, listening and learning. It’s a mistake that’s easy to make. Even teachers must guard against it. We see them as “kids” or “students” and lose sight of the fact they are small people with big brains that are like sponges.
Not only did those parents not notice the teacher’s cart was full, they forgot there were little people watching, listening, and learning.
So the teacher wanted to remind those parents there were little people there and what they were hearing was, “School is not important enough to spend money on, teachers are not to be trusted, they have bad judgment, and learning does not require investment.”
In fairness to those parents, they (hopefully!) didn’t want their children to hear that. We sometimes call this “unintended consequences.”
I watched a child tugging on her mother’s hand as they walked down the street, almost yelling, “Mom! Mom!” Mom was totally focused on her cell phone screen and it appeared not even acknowledging the child. I don’t know what was so important on the phone. I don’t know why the child needed her mother. But I’m fairly sure I know the message the child was getting. I also know that a few simple words and eye contact with the child could have conveyed a very different message.
When it’s back to school shopping time–or school budget time–I believe all adults have a responsibility to “watch our words.” We may be frustrated at the expense while we’re shopping and angered with increasing budgets and taxes but because we’re adults we should be able to express our frustrations and anger in an appropriate manner.
Let’s not teach our kids to disrespect schools and teachers. Let’s be careful we do not devalue learning and education–even unintentionally.
Education is expensive. But it’s also important. Let’s teach our children both of those truths and model good problem-solving skills.
Sometimes unintended consequences can be good. Another time in a store, I heard a young child ask what might have been a fairly simple question–I honestly don’t remember it exactly, but it was relative to why something was where it was. The parent stopped and looked at it with the child then said, “That’s interesting. Why do you think it’s there?” I didn’t need to eavesdrop on the entire conversation to know that child was learning he and his thinking is important. I also hope to have that child in a classroom I’m teaching some day.
Thinking is not only allowed, it’s needed. Not just in classrooms, but in life.
Today at school, I was asked about “Blue Whale” — an alleged social media phenomena that is supposedly “going viral” and encouraging teens to commit suicide. Since I am teaching a Suicide Prevention Workshop tonight I thought I’d better do some quick checking in case it comes up.
One thing for certain, the media is having a field day with it. Many of the headlines and claims in the articles being published turn out to be “unproven.” There is general agreement an “ap” (game) originated in Russia that encourages “vulnerable” teens to engage in a series of tasks (like cutting) and allegedly ends with them taking their own life. The word “vulnerable” is very important in that sentence.
A game will not “cause” someone to commit suicide. Certainly, a game such as this is cause for concern, but it is not cause for panic. There actually have been no conclusive links between suicides and the game. It is interesting that this story was first picked up by the tabloids–they are known for their accurate reporting, right?
What can happen is that a person already having suicidal thoughts may find a game or group that they perceive shares their thoughts and feelings. The roots of those thoughts and feelings are not caused by joining a group or playing a game. It is interesting that this story was first picked up by the tabloids–known for their accuracy!
The energy that will be spent warning people about this “Blue Whale” would be better spent developing a basic understanding of suicide and it’s prevention. Most of the workshops I offer are free and are research-based. We need to understand and focus on protective factors and the fundamental causes. Personally, I believe early intervention is going to be the key to correcting this public health crisis. When we understand the risk factors and triggers we can recognize the need.
The techniques covered in the workshop are basic and relatively simple. Perhaps not quite as simple as clicking “share” on Facebook, but they are about sharing.
One of the better “fact checking” sites is here, but you might be better served to research the facts regarding suicide and how you can help prevent it. The life you save may belong to someone you love.
Maine Public and the Maine Writing Project are offering a free two-week workshop for young writers to hone their skills, called Raise Your Voice Workshop. The workshop will provide a forum for seasoned writers and teachers to share their experiences with the students. Participating students will develop writing and multimedia that will be featured on the Raise Your Voice! Web page. It also may be aired on Maine Public Radio. The program will take place from July 24-August 4 at three locations including Baxter Academy for Science and Technology in Portland, Thomas College in Waterville and the University of Maine in Orono from 8:30 AM to Noon each day. To apply, go to mainepublic.org under the Education tab, or contact Education Program Coordinator Dave Boardman at RaiseYourVoice@mainepublic.org or call 423-6934.