Something I wrote.
Have you ever lost someone from depression? Do you know how if feels? Some people think when someone talks about wanting to hurt themselves or kill themselves, they are looking for attention. They don’t believe that someone could feel so worthless, sad, alone. Let me tell you something. 3 years ago on September 4th, 2009 my uncle committed suicide. He suffered with depression for many years, had attempted it many times but he got help and we thought that he was happy, back to normal, done with thinking he was nothing. Turns out we were all wrong. We didn’t even see the signs that he was depressed again/still. Losing my uncle has destroyed me. We were very close when I was little but since I got old we didn’t really speak until he came to my house. The last time I saw him was when he came to my house to see my dad. After losing him I became more aware of my surroundings and what people were saying. I have been on social media websites and have seen many people in pain, feeling worthless, suicidal. Ever since my uncle died I have opened my eyes and have stopped people from hurting themselves. There was this girl in specific from tumblr. She was posting a lot of things about suicide so I talked to her told her how important she is and how lucky she is to be alive. At first she didn’t believe me and she was telling me everything about her life. I just kept talking to her and telling her over and over “You are beautiful, you are worth everything to people, people don’t notice how much they love someone until it’s too late”. She promised me every night that she wouldn’t hurt herself. One night she wasn’t on Tumblr so I went to her blog and I didn’t see any recent posts. I kept spamming her with messages hoping she would reply. Only to find the next day her blog was gone. I was praying that it was just that she had changed her name. But I will never know if she is still alive or if she had given in and couldn’t take anymore pain. When I’m not on the computer I hang out with friends. Many of friends or old friends that have talked and/or thought about suicide. Most people think oh they are just teenagers they will get passed it or they are being overdramatic. But what people don’t know is what goes on at home, outside of school or work. You don’t know if your friend or someone you know is getting beaten, harassed, bullied, raped, emotionally abused. I have helped many people to get through their struggles, to help them get closer to their dreams, to make sure that they don’t feel worthless. I know what it’s like to have lost someone so special and I don’t want anyone else to have to go through the same thing I have. I don’t believe that anyone should feel the way my uncle felt to the point where they can’t take it anymore. People say “Well if no one died then the world would be overpopulated and you wouldn’t have food to survive”. If people die from natural cause then that is okay but to die thinking no one cares is another story.
If someone dared you to go up to your ex and kiss them one last time… Would you do it?
If you are reading this I want you to know that you are beautiful.
My English Teacher Wrote:
The Myth of the Disrupted Classroom
When I was a Junior in high school, my girlfriend was sent home from school for wearing inappropriate clothing. She was wearing layers of slips on top of each other that, together, broke no established rule of our dress code. She was told by our principal, formerly the principal of a parochial girl’s school, that her dress was more appropriate “for a garden party,” and therefore inappropriate for learning. She sat in the principal’s office and told the principal that she was being singled out because her clothes were weird, and because her clothes didn’t cost a lot of money. She was offered a sweater to cover her arms and go back to class. She refused. She got into her gold Cadillac and drove home for the day.
I married that girl. People should marry those kinds of girls when they find them, and if they can get those kinds of girls to fall for them.
Now I am a teacher. I went into teaching to, of all things, teach. I’m not sure I went into teaching to be a Teacher. Being a Teacher feels like teaching, plus all the other stuff. I learned a lot from great educators and mentors in my life. I remember hating most of my Teachers. I remember Teachers discussing the clothing of students and scoffing and “oh my god did you see”ing. I say I don’t care what kids wear. I remember Teachers talking about a disruption to learning.
I can’t tell you how much I don’t care what anyone wears to school.
I can’t tell you how few times I’ve ever seen clothing of any kind disrupt class in any way. In fact, let me say this: I have never seen clothing of any kind disrupt class in any way.
I’ve certainly seen disruption, pretty massive disruption, caused by enforcing dress codes. Students often, and understandably, react poorly to being told that clothes they have on or body parts they have make them inappropriate for school that day. There are melt-downs, to be sure, and indignation. There is yelling and arguing and many things that are massive disruptions to learning. Sometimes kids go home for the whole day, which is a whole lot of learning not happening.
I’ve seen administrators enter active classrooms, walk around the room sticking their heads under desks to look at the length of skirts and shorts. Really, in the real world, I’ve seen this. I’ve seen girls asked to stand up in front of classes, looked up and down and then told, “yeah, I guess you’re ok. Sit back down.” I’ve watched administrators leave, and then cared for embarrassed, shamed, angry students. I’ve seen whole hours and whole days of learning disrupted by enforcing dress codes, and that doesn’t take in to account the emotional damage done to students by a system that should be protecting them.
I’m certainly uncomfortable with the message we are sending. Kids are self-conscious enough. Girls especially have enough people commenting on how they look and holding them to an often impossible and moving target of appropriateness, attractiveness, and self expression. I don’t like the message of a school telling someone that the clothes they put on their own bodies made them a problem for the whole school they attend, so much so that they need to go home, or cover up. So much so that they need to feel shame. Shame disrupts learning more than skirts. I promise.
We’re more comfortable confronting the girl wearing the thing, and not the boys who say the things about her. We are comfortable putting the blame for the actions of boys onto the girls around them.
We are no one to say what is right or wrong, appropriate or not. We are no one to say how kids should act or dress or what jobs they should wish for or what friends they should have. We should give them all the information we have, any information that will help keep them safe and successful and sane, and then we should let them make their own choices.
Schools are not moral authorities. When we create judgement calls about things like appropriate or not, acceptable or not, we leave room for each teacher and administrator to judge a student against their own moral code. When we enforce dress codes, we leave room for every staff member to address students that make them feel uncomfortable.
To be honest, I’m not sure why we act as authorities at all. As a school, we offer something so precious and so valuable. We offer the skills and ideas, we offer a path to success. So why do we spend so much time tracking tardies, enforcing behavior and dress codes, demanding silence and a level of respect that is reverential at best and fear-based at worst.
Anyone who knows enough teenagers knows that the more rules you give them that don’t make sense, the happier they will be doing the opposite of what you tell them. The more you shake your head and act stern, the more they will see you as someone to disobey.
We have this phenomenal power as teachers, as workers in schools. We control this massive amount of time students are required to be with us. We control their grades, their access to opportunities, the experience of many years of their lives. We control great portions of their self image, of their confidence, of their skill levels.
We don’t need to grab any more power than we already have. We don’t need to feel like we have to control every single thing to maintain the power we already have. We have important things to do all day. We don’t need to spend time on other stuff.