ThisÂ post was originally published on Pass the Chalk.
Itâ€™s no secret that bullying (be it at school, on the playground, or online) is a huge barrier to kidsâ€™ wellness and achievement. The data is grim, particularly for LGBT students of color or from low-income backgrounds.
The problem is clear, but the solution is murky. One big step in the right direction, however, is talking about itâ€”more than once, and in a way thatâ€™s accessible and engaging to students. I know, I know, small task, right?
As a teacher, Iâ€™ve observed too many examples of bullying without having the tools needed to discuss and unpack this behavior with students. As my kiddosâ€™ teacher, nothing hurts more than to be at a loss when one student causes hurt to another.
TheÂ GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network)Â and its national partners are helping remedy this with No Name-Calling Week, running Jan. 20-24.
The campaign is inspired by James Howeâ€™s awesome bookÂ The MisfitsÂ (which, if you teach middle-schoolers, you definitely need in your reading library or classroom, STAT!). Howe tells the story of a group of self-proclaimed â€œmisfitsâ€ who start a No Name-Calling Day at their school. The campaignâ€™s title does a fine job explaining its goal.
TheÂ No Name-Calling Week websiteÂ offers a wealth of indispensable resources that run the K-12 gamut. There are enough activities, projects, writing assignments, and lesson plans to satisfy even the pickiest pedagogical needs.
Have an administration thatâ€™s subliminally or even overtly homophobic? No problem. One of the solid design components of No Name-Calling Week is its focus on the problem itself, and how to solve it. The lesson plans on the website are impactful, but also low-risk if the educational environment is less-than-desirable for LGBTQ students or staff.
Teach For Americaâ€™sÂ S.A.F.E. ClassroomsÂ site also has a variety of resources (created in collaboration with GLSEN andÂ The Trevor Project) that anyone can use in their work to make their classroom a safer space.
As an LGBT teacher who has struggled integrating anti-bullying curriculum into my classroom, I think my favorite part of the campaign is the sheer adaptability of its resources.
You can tie almost all of the assignments to state/Common Core standards, all while developing the moral and social development those standards donâ€™t touch.
One week a year certainly isnâ€™t going to end bullying as we know it in our schools. Yet this event acts as a good launching pad for further discussion, with the website offering sufficient resources for longer-term work.