Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

School Assemblies.....Saying NO, but THEN WHAT?????

We had a school assembly this afternoon. It was something about "motivating" our students. There was some silly stuff, some play acting by the presenters and a message for the students to set high goals for themselves and to just say no to drugs and alcohol.

There wasn't much in there about HOW to set high goals for themselves, or what to do about those demon temptations drugs and alcohol other than refuse them. IMO, this does not help our young people, our students. They have heard about setting high goals for themselves, our homeroom classes often do little units about things needing to be done to be ready for college, about organizing your stuff, study skills, daily reminders that tutoring and computer lab is available after school, etc., etc. They have heard many times, at least in my classes and at some assemblies, that drugs and alcohol are bad for them and can lead them into a bad life.

I learned many years ago, back when I was a science teacher and attended a workshop about how to teach a "family life" unit which was a combo of STD education, family dynamics and human reproduction and development. Anyhow, we heard on a regular basis from Nancy Reagan to "JUST SAY NO." Many, many of our young people cannot just say NO to drugs, alcohol or sex. Why not? A variety of reasons, including peer pressure, the desire for acceptance, to be cool, to just check it out. But, many of our young people, fearing rejection, taunting, loneliness, etc., cannot just say NO because they don't have the life experiences to think through what might happen next. And they don't know what to do after saying NO.

Here are some things I share with my students, to try to give them some strategies for dealing with these situations: Say NO and leave. Yes just leave. Yes, it will be hard to do, you may be teased, taunted and called names. But really, are people who want you to do something you don't want to do, that you know is wrong, that you know might be very harmful and destructive to you, your friends ? I encourage them to have an arrangement with someone older, someone who they can call at any time, to come to them and give them a ride home. It can be a parent, sibling, cousin, aunt, uncle, someone who loves them enough that they will go out late at night or early in the morning or anytime to find you and safely get you home.

Sometimes we listen to some music about alcohol, drugs, crime ( Lynard Skynard- That Smell, Paul Revere and the Raiders- Kicks, Skid Row - 18 to Life, Offspring - Walla Walla.... we play the song and look at the lyrics, then discuss what the song is about.

I share with them one of the harder things about teaching, losing students or former students to drugs, alcohol or some other form of life ending events. I ask them to think about the people they know or are acquainted with who have issues with drugs and or alcohol and how that impacts the people around them. I ask them, Is that what you want in your life? Is that what you want for your children someday ?

Anyhow, I have a peeve about these "motivational" school assemblies. Yes guys and gals who perform these assemblies, you can tell our students don't do drugs, don't abuse alcohol. But you are not giving them strategies that they can use to help them say no. I also have a peeve about these assemblies being held before the whole student body; I really think such messages are more effective before a small, a much smaller group of young people. Young people who are not just a single face in the huge crowd, but young people who are visible in a smaller group setting.

Teachers don't have any say in these events at our school, but I just thought I'd get some of my thoughts down here in this blog.

Thanks for taking time from your busy day to read this rather long blog post I wrote.