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Tips for Dealing With a Mean Teacher Print E-mail
School Days
Written by Dana Lurie   

Now that the children are all pretty much settled into their classrooms, I'm sure most of them are discussing how they feel about their teachers. When I was in second grade I had the meanest teacher ever. And I remember her more than any teacher ever. In fact, I often wore a dress to school that had a cute little bee right over my heart with the caption "Don't Bug Me." That was my own personal way of coping with her.

I'd like to share the following article (link at bottom) with you because it reminded me of this particular teacher and I've been hearing so many parents concerned about their own children having difficulty at school because of a "mean" teacher. I think most often these teachers are really more demanding than mean, but I can't deny that the teacher I had in second grade left everlasting effects on me. Second grade is a pivotal time in a child's life; you can come out of your shell or sink so deep you forget what daylight liooks like. In my case the teacher wasn't just demanding, she was terrifying. I was jumpy and nervous around every teacher after her until college which meant never raising my hand even when I knew for sure I had the right answer, and avoiding participation whenever possible for fear of looking like a fool. That's a lot of power to have over a child.

I'll never forget one day on the playground she sent me into the classroom to find out what time it was (yes, I'm so old that teachers did not walk around with cell phones yet, and apparently forgetting her watch became MY probrlem). Anyway, telling time was part of math (NOT my strong suit) and I must admit I could not tell time yet. I'm still thankful that digital was invented. At any rate, I ran to the classroom door that opened from the playground and stood there starting at the clock. For 20 minutes! I prayed for someone to come in and save me, but no one did. I knew I couldn't go back to her without the time or I would surely be decapitated. No, I didn't know that word yet, but I definitely knew the feeling. Of course, recess ended and I was still standing at that door with a prickly feeling running over my cheeks and down the back of my neck. She came back with all the kids and as loud as she could announced how stupid I was. To hammer the point further she asked Janet what time it was who quickly and proudly announced, "11:45." Every time that teacher looked at me that year or even when I passed her in the hall throughout my elementary school years, I could feel her thinking how stupid I was.

I wish my parents had more tips to help me, so I'm happy to share this article and if your own child is dealing with a mean teacher, I hope it helps. Also, please comment or share your own personal (or your chid's) mean teacher stories with me. Sometimes just seeing what others are facing and talking it out helps a lot!


Brainwashed and Bullyproofed Print E-mail
Bully Talk
Written by Dana Lurie   

Today my daughter turns 15 and I can finally, confidently let out a breath of relief that she is absolutely Bullyproof. From the age of 5 I could see that she had a talent for climbing and leaving a blaze behind her as she got into everything and anything. She was a force to be reackoned with. But at school I was told she was quiet and sometimes withdrawn.  Her kindergarten teacher actually asked me if there were problems at home because she was so quiet! I admit I took offense and told that teacher I felt sorry for her that she didn't get a chance to know my child and see how awesome she was! If every teacher could just find the aweomeness in every child, bullyproofing would be a whole lot easier!

But it made me realize that she couldn't always be at home in my care. She was out in the world making her way and dealing with other people, their opinions, jealousies, problems, whatever! It brought back memories of my own childhood and how I was a target for bullying. Incidents that became ingrained in the subconscious and I believe still shape my personality today occurred over many years. I could not let that happen to my daughter.


So there it began. Everyday conversations that seemed natural and nothing special were laced with confidence building sentiment. She was told over and over and over and over and over and over and over again that she could do anything. She could be anything. She could achieve, build, create, and become anything she wanted. Little by little the accomplishments were adding up and failures were nothing more than lessons to turn into future successes.


I knew what I was doing to bullyproof her from becoming a victim and I was hell bent determined to win the battle. So I was surprised when 1st grade came and she had a slumber party with all the girls from school staying over. 20 girls spread out in blankets across my living room floor...loved it! They all seemed to get along fine, but I soon noticed one girl getting singled out. Not left out (which is just as bad when you're a 6 year old girl), but picked on. They were doing it quietly so it wouldn't be noticed, but I noticed...And I put a stop to it! I instructed my daughter to be extra nice to her. Sit beside her, offer her first choice of snacks, etc. The other girls seemed baffled at first, but they soon took it as normal and stopped picking on the would be victim. My daughter wouldn't just be bullyproofed from being a victim, she would be bullyproofed from becoming a bully as well!

By second grade I was getting reports about a happy, very bright child who participated in everything and got along with everyone. Whew! That was good news, but the everyday laced conversations never stopped. TV shows, books, the news, song lyrics, what happened at school; all part of the conversation. Call it brainwashing? Probably! But it's a mother's right to take control over what is fed into her child's brain...don't leave that privilege for someone else.

Through the years her achievemnts kept growing and her personality stayed bright. But I never could breathe that sigh of relief. I knew too much. One bad teacher, one messed up kid, that's all it takes to make all those years of carefully balanced laced conversations come tumbling down. Just like that. So on we continued. Day after day, conversation after conversation. Through terrible bullying incidents in Florida bringing up names like Michael Brewer and Josie Lou Ratley becoming part of the conversation and other tragedies like Phoebe Prince and unfortunately so many others that this page would run on for hours if their names were all listed. So many we don't even ever hear about. 


So today my daughter is 15 and bullyproofed. The mountain of carefully balanced laced conversations has solidified and cannot be toppled. Today she believes she can do anything she sets her mind to. She doesn't just say it, she really believes it! No limits, not afrad to put herself out there, not worried about criticism from others and knows how to compete for what she wants without having to put anyone else down. And perhaps the best part of all... if she sees someone else getting bullied she won't stand by and watch or just walk away... she speaks out and does something about it. That really is the best part of all. Because refusing to be a bystander to bullying is even more vital than not becoming a bully or a victim. Bystanders who speak out have the power to actually put an end to bullying! So my daughter is part of the solution and not part of the problem.

It's a very happy birthday!

Looking for a book to be part of the conversation to end bullying with a young child? Try ABBEY'S TURN, book 6 from the Tomgirlz series for ages 6-10

Honoring Teacher with Tomgirl Spirit Print E-mail
Bully Talk
Written by Makey Mack   

Our school had a moment of silence for the victims of the school shooting in Connecticut. In that silence, I was real sad and confused. I don't get how someone can aim a gun at a 6 year old baby face and actually use it on 20 of them. Today I heard that the first grade teacher is having her funeral. I don't know how to say how sorry I am to her family and friends. Who am I? But I am sorry. All I can think to do is honor her by pointing out her Tomgirlz spirit. A Tomgirl is smart, confident, maybe likes sports, maybe likes math or reading and she's strong in personality. She's a great friend and cares about people and when it comes down to it, she would put her life on the line to save another. That's what Victoria Soto did to protect "her kids." It's said she is a hero and she will be remembered that way.

The news of Victoria makes me think back and realize how many Tomgirlz spirited teachers I've had in my own life. These strong women care so much about us kids and really leave an impression on us that we may or may not ever realize....especially in elementary school. Victoria sadly made the news and a great way to honor her is to appreciate and honor all of our special teachers. Thank you.

Girls are More Than a Label Can Say Print E-mail
Friends and Family
Written by Dana Lurie   

I'm often asked "What does TOMGIRLZ mean?".... I say it's the label that breaks all labels. For instance, the term tomboy means a girl who is boy-like. The truth is, a girl who likes sports and is good at math isn't being boy like; she is a girl who likes sports and is good at math (and is probably good at a whole lot of other stuff too)!!! Don't be too quick to label our girls....they are way more than that!


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