A teacher from Sea Gate Elementary School in Neples, Florida is gaining a lot of attention for her inspirational prevention method to bullying – it’s as simple as teaching kindness.
Using index cards, the teacher Kathy Pitt, began to ask students to write the names of kids who they wanted to get to know and by secret ballot they nominate an exceptional classmate. Pitt used the simple method to gather clues about kids that could be at risk, lonely or bullied. The children who don’t show up often are the ones that she believes needs to be monitored most and tend to be at risk. In her 15 years of using this method, (ever since the Columbine school shooting) she has been able to target most students and help them.
Millions of other teachers are beginning to use this simple method to help create a solution for bullying in their classrooms. Glennon Doyle Melton is one of those teachers. She is a mother of three. Her son Chase attends Pitt’s fifth grade class. After several attempts and much frustration over a new way of completing long division, Melton emailed her son’s teacher, Pitt, and they agreed to meet to go over the math homework. The two teachers soon found they had a lot in common – teaching children.
The conversation led to talking about the sacred trust and responsibility of teaching children and guiding them to become contributors to their community; all while being, kind and brave. Pitt began telling Melton that every afternoon she asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down names of four children who they would like to sit by the following week. Then she asks them to nominate one student that week, who they believe is an amazing classroom citizen. Then the submissions begin pouring in. What Melton discovered during that conversation is that Pitt was teaching her students more important than just academics – kindness.
Every Friday afternoon, when the classroom is empty, Chase’s teacher begins studying the information – for patterns. She asks the questions: – Who is not getting nominated? – Who doesn’t nominate because they are not sure who to select? – Who doesn’t get chosen enough to be selected? – Who had lots of friends last week, but not many this week? Chase’s teacher is not in search of who to nominate as an “exceptional citizen” – she is actually doing the opposite; she is in search for the lonely children. The children who are struggling to connect and get noticed by the other children. This process allows her to discover the gifts of those who are getting unnoticed by the majority; a behavior that can lead to being bullied and to figure out who is doing the bullying.
Melton felt that the idea was brilliant and she began calling the strategy, “Brilliant Love Ninja Strategy” and she is proud to tell the world about it. On January 30, 2014 Melton spoke about it on her personal blog and to her surprise it was viewed more than 1-million times in one month. Melton believes that this strategy goes beneath the surface to explore the hearts of students. Melton believes it is important to teach children how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join in groups and how to share their gifts with other peers.
Unfortunately, millions of teachers across America understand that bullying happens outside of their watch. Kids being bullied are too hurt to share and the truth gets expressed through other ways. The little index paper that Pitt used, is one of those ways it is expressed. Unfortunately, Chase’s teacher is retiring this year after 15 wonderful years of saving children’s lives. We hope that these little messages will continue through the hearts and minds of other teacher’s who care. Helping to share the patterns of love and shed light on the loneliness. It’s important to step up and alter the path of our world. Teachers are the first responders to the bullying that happens across America and we hope the world hears this message: it’s time to care enough to teach the future generation about love and kindness. Be brave, be victorious. We can all save lives in the end!
A recent interview was conducted by USA Today with Glennon Doyle Melton on Life and Parenting. http://www.today.com/id/51363475/ns/today-today_books/#.UxhDe16CJhF
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