public schooled

One day in highschool, period after lunch, spanish class. We all get in the room and take our seats, bored and tired out of our minds, and wait for the teacher.

The bell rings, teacher has yet to show up. Five mins later, nothin. Ten minutes? nope. nothing. Teacher never showed up, there wasn’t a substitute in sight, so here we are, a group of sophomores to seniors left alone. So you know what we did?

One of us upperclassmen stood up and took the role of the “teacher”, used flashcards to have us play Around the World, and taught us a few new words. One kid crawled under his desk and took a much needed nap. A group of girls talked to each other about their days, and did a random spanish worksheet they found online. 

Teacher or no teacher, we freaking rocked the class.

Next day the teacher and principal talked to us and told us they were sorry we had been left alone, and while they were slightly upset that we didn’t notify the office/another teacher that the sub never showed up, they were more impressed than anything that we kept it down and under control and that the group of girls did the worksheets. We ended up getting ANOTHER DAY off class because the teacher thought we deserved a reward.

That’s what happened the day there was no teacher.

Haha yeah

There was a guy at my school who never ever bathed. It was so bad, people wouldn’t come to class when he was there. He said his whole family did it. We never believed him until Sophomore Open House. His whole slew of smelly family members came. Ma, Pa, Sister, Granpa. It was…….an adventure. First day of school, it was a miracle. He came in, hair tidy, clothes ironed, fresh smell of new cologne. He said his family was arrested for endangering the welfare of children and he was now in a foster home. He seemed the happiest he’d ever been. There was no more stench for the rest of High School and he graduated with honors. 

10

Betsy DeVos has been confirmed by one vote as the Secretary of Education. Two Republican Senators voted against their party to protest DeVos

Today, the Senate narrowly confirmed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, with VP Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie. The Democrats fought hard against the wealthy GOP donor, staying up all night to read letters from constituents in an effort to eke out just one more vote, which was all that was needed from Republicans to block DeVos. And DeVos’s history of opposing LGBT equality for kids is just the tip of this disastrous iceberg.

4

Chance the Rapper to donate $1 million to support Chicago’s ailing public school system

  • Standing behind a podium surrounded by educational posters, Chance called out Governor Bruce Rauner for his inaction on the Chicago school system’s budget problems.
  • Chance also announced his intention to donate “1 million dollars to CPS to support the arts and original programming.” He pulled out a big game show-sized check to prove it.
  • “This check that I donated is a call to action,” he said. “I’m challenging major companies and corporations in Chicago and across the U.S. to donate and take action.” Read more (3/6/17 4:13 PM)

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I was in band class and this Senior and First Chair Trumpet starts annoying us (per norm) and he looks at me with this grin and says “Do you want to see my niiiiple?”

Without missing a beat, I respond: “I’ve already seen your nipples.”

He stares at me in shock, until the teacher says, “We’ve all seen your nipples, David. You took your shirt off during band camp, remember?”

(Abuse, ableism tw) Yesterday I visited a preschool Portia’s therapists and the public education system want to put her in. Portia receives services because of her developmental disabilities. It’s a program that’s a part of public education and even infants can qualify. Before yesterday, it seemed her therapists only concern was making sure she was developmentally up to date physically, and educationally (think fine and gross motor skills, speech etc).

The preschool was-my realization. The preschool was full of kids that had various disabilities all on the “socially disabled” spectrum. Children were given directions in a “fun” manner around a circle and were literally forced to participle. Even if you didn’t want to. Physical redirection was used. That means children not looking at the teacher would had their heads physically turned towards them. Children who weren’t doing the arm movements for the dance correctly had their wrists grabbed and were forced to do the movements. Forced high fives. Forced everything. Absolutely no child had a choice for participation. It was do it or someone will grab your body and do it for you.

One child, a nonverbal autistic child, at the table where they were given instructions to glue hearts on a valentines box, had a stick of glue held in front of him by a therapist. She had a hold of his wrists as he kept reaching for it. “What is it. No. What is it.” She repeated over and over as he whimpered and reached for the glue to participate. This went on for about 15 minutes.

He also endured one on one ABA from the teacher using a reward only method (praise) for following instructions and making eye contact.

A child had a tantrum and was held down. I asked how a child having a melt down was usually handled. They said that it depended on the child. She seemed to avoid my question but told me that she had “lotion” that she would have them rub on their hands in front of the class and called it “calming lotion.”

I saw a child being held tightly in a therapists legs for not crossing his legs and bouncing them.

I asked what the purpose of the class was, my therapist explained this class was meant for “social therapy”, by forced participation.

This program is paid for and supported by the education district.

Never mind that restraining a child, forcing a child to do something, allowing an adult access to a children’s body with no choice for the child, and forced socialization and physical contact (forced high fives as an example) are all inappropriate and I would personally define that as abuse. But what’s important is all of this therapy is not scientifically to be successful. It’s…non effective, it does nothing but create children who believe they must follow orders (for participation, social activity etc) by an adult, allow anyone to touch their body with no ability to say no, and allow to be physically redirected by that adult for not meeting the demand.

In what way is this educating children socially? How come in a regular classroom this is abuse but in a class with a bunch of disabled kids it’s therapeutic? I’m just…I’m really irritated and disappointed that stuff like this is funded by the education system.

Im not sure if I should even mention this. But when you are an abused child initially you fight back. Sometimes that fighting back lasts a week, sometimes months, sometimes years. Eventually you reach this point where you stop fighting and your brain shuts down and you go blank, almost like you separate from your body and don’t reject it. Sometimes something twitches inside from time to time to fight back, but you actually end up fighting the urge to defend yourself rather than stopping the abuse. That’s the look I saw on the kids faces. They were made to hold up dolls with happy faces “I’m happy today” because they are being conditioned to just ACCEPT what is happening to them.

I am planning on pulling Portia completely from the entire program. She’s never been to that classroom and never will, but the moment they believe she isn’t socially “fit” and needs to be in some sort of conditioning class to make her appear normal, is the moment it doesn’t benefit her. Let’s be real for a minute: the autistic brain cannot be hard wired, it cannot be cured. This is because we still don’t fully understand what autism is. You can certainly force and autistic person to look and seem like an autistic person, and autistic adults who have experienced this sort of “conditioning” all have PTSD and more.

I literally do not ever care if Portia doesn’t act “normal” socially. I don’t care if she doesn’t look people in the eyes and I DEFINITELY do not care that she doesn’t want to touch anyone or let anyone touch her. I don’t care if she doesn’t want friends or if she likes people. I don’t care if she lines up her toys when she plays with them. I don’t expect a man without legs to run a marathon and I don’t expect Portia to be this social butterfly or become a politician or something. She’s content with who she is and society has the obligation to accept her the way they except a deaf person and sign language.

I’m just feeling very irritated. It’s 2017 and there was a whole room full of children enduring therapy that doesn’t actually work and scientifically has absolutely ZERO grounds to be used in an education system. I feel like it’s 1940 and they want to treat some house wife’s depression with electroshock therapy or some gay mans sexual attraction by giving him female hormones.

If I don’t speak out against it then 10, 20, 30 years later it will still be there. It will still happen.

Can you just pray for me, the work that’s required to pull her out…it isn’t going to be easy. I’m going to look like the crazy paranoid mother. In a lot of ways because of her disability she’s basically forced to be state educated. As crazy as this sounds I’m so scared of her being forced to go to public school I’ve thought about leaving the country. Ive personally witnessed so so much abuse in the schools towards autistic children…I just can’t accept it.

Public speaking is very few people’s favorite thing. It can be so terrifying to get up in front of a whole class and present your project, so here are a few tips on nailing your next speech and feeling a little less nervous while you’re at it.

i. preparing your speech

  • Start with a topic that you care about, and be sure that:
    • It’s not too general that you don’t have enough time to cover it (like ‘the history of the US’ for a five minute speech) or too specific that you will run out of material.
  • Some people talk faster when they are nervous, some people slow down. Find out which you are and plan accordingly.
  • Make several drafts, and send them to your teacher if you can.
  • Create your visual aids (PowerPoint, handouts, etc) before your final draft, so you can make changes as necessary.
  • Don’t put too much text on your slides, other wise your audience (and maybe you) will get distracted by trying to read them.
    • Stick to using slides for quick facts, statistics, and pictures.
  • Don’t use the sound effects options they have for changing slides, it will just be a distraction.
  • For a speech you’re just giving once, you probably won’t have the timing down enough to use automatic changes.
  • Don’t put too much information on one slide. Just the point you’re on, and maybe the next, will be enough to fill it if your font is as large as it should be. 
  • Make sure you have your slides saved in at least two places (typically a flash drive and your email) so that if you can’t access one you have a back up.
  • Think about what questions people might have about your topic, and be prepared to answer them. Also brush up on any opposing views if the exist so that you can address those, both in the speech and in questions.

ii. making your flashcards 

  • Write bigger and clearer than you think you need.
    • I find it a bit difficult to read when I get nervous, especially when I’m just glancing down quickly. Write in print, and stick to just one or two points per card so that you can write largely.
  • Don’t write whole sentences, just key words.
    • If you have too much information you’ll be tempted to read it all off. Instead, just write down a word or two that will remind you of your point if you get off track.
  • Number your flashcards, and consider putting them on a ring. 
    • That way, if you drop your cards on the way up you won’t start out flustered.
  • Remember to put when to change the slide so you don’t forget and end up behind, or leaving it on the same slide the whole time. 
  • Color code your cards so that you can see what’s happening at a glance.
    • I typically use blue for stats/things I need to quote directly, grey for slide changes, and pink for points to emphasize. 
  • All speeches should end with you asking for questions, so be sure to add that into your last card. 

iii. practicing

  • Always practice out loud, even if you feel silly. 
    • It’s important to hear and feel yourself saying the speech to get comfortable performing it.
  • Time yourself practicing your rough draft a few times, so you know if you need to make it longer or shorter. 
  • Practice with your visual aids a few times
  • Practice it all the way through if you can; if you mess up, brush it off and keep going.
  • Film yourself practicing, so you can see if there’s anything you’re not noticing that you need to adjust.
  • Practice everyday, even if it’s just for a few minutes some days.
  • The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel.

iv. getting ready to speak

  • On the day of your speech, be sure to eat a good breakfast/lunch so you don’t get light headed.
  • Dress in an outfit that makes you feel confident and isn’t distracting: no busy patterns, large logos, or short hemlines that you would be tugging at the whole time. 
  • Double check that you have everything you need before you leave – cards, slides, and any handouts you may need.
  • This TED Talk has some great tips on faking confidence. I highly recommend watching it, but if you don’t have the time one of the take aways is that certain poses can trick your brain into feeling confident. She actually suggests going into a bathroom stall and standing in a “Superman” sorta pose for a minute or so. You’ll feel really silly, but strangely it helps. 
  • While you’re in there, adjust your hair/check your teeth so you’re not worried about that when you get up there. 
  • If you get to choose when you speak, think strategically: will going first and getting it out of the way make you feel better? Or would you rather wait and see a few people speak first?
    • I really don’t suggest waiting until the very last slot, but I like to go second or third to have the best of both worlds.
  • When you get to class, lay out everything you need and glance over your notes one more time. Then take a deep breath. You’ve got this.

v. the speech

  • When you get up to speak, take your time laying out everything you need and setting up your slides. 
  • After you’ve gotten the slides on, test the remote to see how sensitive it is. Just flipping to the first slide and back to the intro will help you feel less flustered if it’s more sensitive than you think and jumps around.
  • Take a deep breath and get started. If you mess up, no will know but you. Just keep going and act confident.
  • Glance back for just a second when changing slides to make sure you’re on the right one.
  • Make eye contact! The biggest mistake I see people make is to look down or above everyone’s head. Make eye contact with everyone more or less equally so it doesn’t look like you’re staring people down (but, if there’s someone that’s extra smiley/encouraging don’t be afraid to come back to them when you get nervous).
  • If you feel yourself starting to get nervous or starting to talk too fast/slow, it’s okay to take a second to take a deep breath and center yourself. Don’t be afraid of a couple seconds of silence if you need them.
  • If the podium helps you feel less nervous, use it. If moving around helps you loosen up, that works too! 
  • If you get off track, you are likely only one that even noticed that you messed up, so just take a deep breath, take a look at your notes, and get back on track the best you can (”going back to the second point,” or “but before we get to that,”).
  • If you’ve noticed that something’s wrong that needs to be addressed (like you’re on the wrong slide, or you misspoke and gave an incorrect fact) you can say something simple like “Sorry, I misspoke, it’s actually 1 in 3 Americans, not 1 in 4″ or try to make a joke if the subject lends to it and move onto your next point.
  • No matter what happens, it’s all good. Try to to panic and say things like “sorry, guys, I’m just so nervous” because that’s basically the only thing that will tip them off that you are. 

Above all, just try to relax and remember that you’re doing a good job. No one but you can tell how nervous you are or will know if you mess up. 

Michelle Obama slams Trump for nixing healthy school lunches: “What is wrong with you?”

  • At a public health summit Friday in Washington, D.C., former first lady Michelle Obama slammed the Trump administration for its relaxing of school lunch policies she championed during her time in the White House, the Washington Post reported.
  • Earlier in May, agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue announced that schools would not have to comply with standards set in place by the Obama administration to reduce sodium intake among students, as well as provide whole-grain rich breads and pastas and fat-free milk only. 
  • Rather than replacing these guidelines, Perdue gave schools three extra years to comply with them. Read more. (5/13/17, 9:05 AM)
Clapping Banned

I think this was last year, but anyways, clapping became a thing at my school. It was crazy. At first it started out small like a few kids clapping when a teacher walked into the room, but a week later it was the whole class clapping when anyone walked into a room. It was loud, there was cheering and screaming as if someone famous had walked in, and let me just say.. This happened to every. person. I mean if you were the second one through the door to a class, that one person sitting there would be clapping. You could hear the clapping from other classes on the other hall. So one day, we’re all sitting at lunch when the principal stands up on the stage(there was a stage type thing in the cafeteria, idk why), and announces that clapping is banned. Anyone who claps will be given a warning, but if they do it again, a referral. And suddenly, the whole cafeteria is quiet. 

And then we start clapping.