Be that Teacher!

Wise Teacher
I’ve had some marvelous teachers throughout my educational journey, and I’ve had some that were unmemorable. Mr. Gange is #1 on the amazing list. He brought chemistry to life for me in 8th grade with Table of Elements game style quizzes and team challenges. Everyone in class could break down a chemical formula with confidence and ease, even Todd*, the student who refused to make eye contact or talk to a single teacher. I never had a teacher like Mr. G before or since. Students loved him for being original and thoughtful, and I appreciated him for giving me a lesson on human potential.
According to my shallow 8th grade girl perception, Todd must have been lacking intellectually. Everyone for years could see his red F(s) or the discreet manner teachers would fold his quizzes and exams, as if to whisper loudly, “I will spare you the embarrassment.” He never really spoke much but seemed to scream with his whole being, “I hate school!” No one messed with him. He had physical power and talent unparalleled in gym class and at the neighborhood basketball courts. As wonderful fun Mr. G’s class was, and how to this day I have a love of science, it was the transformation of Todd in Mr. G’s class that taught me something profound. I will never forget the first time Todd spoke in class to answer a question. I think the moment froze because we could not believe he had raised his hand and then answered correctly. Instead of oozing praise all over him, Mr. G gave him a quick, “correct” and moved on. Hindsight tells me, Mr. G was doing internal back flips because he just reached the unreachable. A wonderful beginning occurred that day. Todd came alive in Mr. G’s class. He smiled; he participated and became a contributing team member. I charge Todd’s metamorphosis to the man, Mr. G, himself, a gifted teacher who brought enthusiasm and joy to the process of learning. I learned my basic chemistry but witnessed a human’s potential rise. I am grateful for the experience in knowledge and will never forget Todd’s smile while learning.
I encourage you to be that teacher this year! The one who can reach the unreachable. You may never know what other students you bring along the way. Share the encouragement with others and good luck with the new school year.

*Todd is an alias.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

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Book Review – The Skin I’m In

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According to Maleeka’s peers, she is too poor, too skinny, too black and too smart. All of which seems to make her a moving target for abuse by Charlese, a frienemy who extorts homework from Maleeka in exchange for nice clothes and a deferral from a beat down. As if life was not cruel enough after the loss of her father, she endures relentless insults from John-John. Every turn in the hallway, in class, and on the bus, he hurls negative remarks about her dark complexion. “What is his problem anyway?” She wonders and questions her self-image. Although the reader can assume Maleeka struggles with loving and accepting the skin she is in, the writer, Sharon G. Flake clearly examines the turbulent life journey of a young person trying to understand the right choices to make under tough circumstances, which is the more significant issue for Maleeka.
The Skin I’m In is a quick pick for reluctant readers and a Coretta Scott King award winning book. Appreciated for exploring how a young person with incredible potential can feel so low, and how one teacher can make a difference in a student’s life, The Skin I’m In is highly recommended and perfectly relevant for middle school and high school students.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

Positive Thoughts Control Destiny

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In an effort to organize and prepare for the new school year, I shuffled through last year’s school notebooks, and came across a poem taped to the inside cover of a black and white composition book. Perhaps, you use this poem in your classrooms or in your homes to stay positive. Perhaps, you realize the power of a simple thought can determine a destiny. Enjoy and share with others.

Things to Remember By: Pete Johnson

Always Remember
To keep your thoughts positive,
because your thoughts become your words.
To keep your words positive,
because your words become your actions.
To keep your actions positive,
because your actions become your habits.
And to keep your habits positive,
because your habits become your destiny.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

Jail Time for Victims of Bullying

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Yes, you read the title correctly. No error on my part. A recent study has presented evidence for adults who have been bullied during their childhood and teen years. There seems to be a strong correlation between this dual experience and being convicted of crimes. This study followed 7300 people for 14 years, and long story short. There are a significant higher percentage of people spending time in jail that have been victims during childhood and teen years versus those who have not or have had single bullying experiences.
This study definitely had me scratching my head. It is not a far stretch to image the bully doing time, even if it may be stereotypical. But, how do the victims end up incarcerated? One possible explanation would be the type of coping techniques victims are choosing to use to handle the abuse. The study found women were much more likely to use alcohol and drugs, and to be arrested and convicted for illegal use.
This study presents even more evidence that childhood bullying has a direct link to quality of life not just at the moment of abuse but long term damage. It is yet, another reason to continue to advocate for programs that empower children. Programs like Turning STONEchoice equip children with the tools to build self-esteem, confidence, and cultivate a positive path for a child’s life.
Please follow link below for specific study details.
http://web.mail.comcast.net/zimbra/mail?app=mail#2
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice

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Understanding our Children’s Information Process

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When one of my boys was a toddler, he would become visibly frustrated when trying to communicate. His brain and lips were not seeing eye to eye. So, he would vent in anger. Being a hip mom, I taught him a few words in sign language that he understood, and could clearly deliver his message to the family. It was wonderful and there were less frustrating moments between us.
Fast forward 8 years and this child’s brain and lips are making up for lost time. He has mastered vocabulary and speech quite well. At times, I feel, and he probably feels the same, we are back to those frustrating moments of trying to communicate. I declare he speaks another language all together and must admit my patience or lack there-of- it, fails us both. Do you feel like you have no idea what your kid is saying to you sometimes? And, can you see the glaze in their eyes, if their eyes are even looking at you when you speak to them?
I began to wonder where we fail in our communication as parents. There had to be more to the answer than the generation gap between us. I have been reading a book written by Dr. Tammy Smith, Soul Connection- Relating beyond the surface that gave me some insight to my question. Dr. Smith explores interpersonal connections between people. With years of professional counseling experience and a mother of two boys she has shared some practical and profound information into understanding others and ourselves. Specifically, I had my “Aha” moment as Dr. Smith began to explain how people process information using the analogy of inny or outy belly buttons. People who processes information on the inside may seem delayed or even reluctant but it takes time for the internal understanding of a message before it can be translated into action (that would be me). Internal processors also have a limit on how much information you can throw at them. This is not diminished capacity but they take the whole message and dig deep. I have often told my husband as he is trying to get me to respond, “Give me a moment to process what you are asking or I need time to think about that.” My son is an external processor. He needs to share his thoughts, feelings, and musings outside of himself to gain understanding. He has more journals completed than I have in my entire lifetime. He draws cartoons and remembers his dreams each and every night and likes to talk about them in detail to gain understanding of why he is dreaming and what it all might mean. An external processor likes to talk and may talk over others, not necessarily to communicate but to gain understanding.
Considering how we processes information and having an understanding of who I am and who my son is, allows for more effective communication and a deeper relationship. I can be more empathetic as he is trying to gain understanding outside of himself. And, share with him, mom can only zero in on a few things at a time. I believe what he has to say is important and I do not want to miss anything he is trying to share.
What kind of processor are you and your children? Perhaps the common frustrations we have stem from the lack of knowledge of how we take in information and how our loved ones process. With this understanding, we are equipped to move into a more positive and healthy relationship with our kids, be it inny or outy.

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice