Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Studies: Cyberbullying is on the rise


"As many as one in three U.S. children have been ridiculed or threatened through computer messages, according to one estimate of the emerging problem of cyberbullying. Another new study found the problem is less common, with one in 10 kids reporting online harassment. But health experts said even the lower estimate signals a growing and concerning public health issue. "I wouldn't consider something that 10 percent of kids report as low," said Janis Wolak, a University of New Hampshire researcher who co-authored the second study."

proof (despite my reluctance) that this is a 21st century gig

Last week I took a job for a "basic math" course at a high school; it turned out to be a couple geometry classes plus a robotics class, a web design class and a programming class--all in a computer lab! The teacher had Burning Man photos on his computer, which I was allowed to surf on. I was the most popular teacher possible as I told them I didn't care what they did so long as they stayed relatively quiet and didn't kill each other (the teacher had written effectively "get whatever done" on the board)--one girl tells me "you should sub for us all the time" to which I feel I was too cynical in replying "what 'cuz I let you fool around? sorry but I can't help with the grade you still gotta do the work" (which of course was just a page or so of click-form geometry classwork website). Let me tell you, it was pretty rewarding pedagogically to have a kid say "hey check this out Mr. Hand" and then watch a LEGO catapult flip itself over (he explained that after stabilizing it the challenge would be to hit a target across the room--writing a program). It was nice to get a chance to do "on the clock" email websurfing newsreading and PKD research for a change (rather than the labors of continuous attention-grabbing and or silencing/disciplining more ambitious lesson plans require).

see and be scene

Getting on with my fourth week teaching, I've gotten to the point where I'm being recognized frequently by kids at several schools. It came as quite a surprise at first--for example, when at a high school I had only taught at once or twice before, kids were yelling "Hey Mr Hand" across the quad at me in the morning. It amazes me how much of an impression I'm somehow leaving, despite the fact that I basically just read the attendance and then watch them do work (occasionally peering over my book to spot iPods and cellfones). I guess that while I may feel that the cool/fun flourishes I try to put into explanation and interactions usually seem to be lost on them or just go unnoticed, something I'm doing causes me to come across to these kids as worth remembering and later saying "Hi" to. Makes me feel like I should put more of an effort into remembering names and things of that sort (which I'm not really getting *paid* to do but sure make the job more personable).

best teaching story so far

So I'm helping the kids write a paragraph (3rd grade) doing a chalkboard graphic organizer on the topic "If I want to be really happy in life I will do the following things." Sub-topic "get a good job" comes up and all the kids get excited when somebody suggests "president" as a possible job. I asked the class if one would be really happy as president, they almost unanimously cheer yes. I call on the one girld who said no and ask why. She says, "because you'd have to go to war."