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Monday, July 29, 2013

From NEA's article: "Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools" by Cindy Long...
 RVG says:

Well, here we are– a year later with 783 comments and questions ( Kim's note: now 812 comments) and still NO answers. Many people have simply quit commenting and it’s no wonder. We ask: where is the union, why do principals keep getting away with this, why are certain people frequent targets, how do we stop this?? I am an older teacher and I have fought age discrimination and targeting for 5 years–I’m simply too expensive and opinionated. I’ve finally given up and am leaving the profession–my health has suffered too much. The principal that made life miserable for everyone–young and old–this year was promoted to get her out of administration! This is how it works. I am saddened to see a year’s worth of comments seemingly go nowhere. Has anyone ever gotten a response from the NEA??

Here's my response:  

RVG, I've heard from NEA.  It's encouraging. NEA is talking about this craziness of bullying administrators in our nation's schools and I am convinced it is due to our participation and comments on the "Bullying of Teachers Pervasive in Many Schools" article. I was interviewed by Cindy Long of the NEA for a recent article entitled: "NEA Provides Educators with Guidance on Preventing Workplace Bullying."

I am learning that true and meaningful shifts in philosophies--getting those "in charge" (superintendents and school boards and unions) to even see there is a problem and then admit to their own complicity--takes T-I-M-E.  We are getting there.  More "in charge" people are waking up to the sad reality of the ill effects of their having placed their "suck-up" buddies in positions of leadership in our schools.  It's really hard for them.  After all the rhetoric about "educational reform" and their commitment to "all children's success" admitting that many of their "highly effective" principals are only "highly effective" at sucking up to them and tormenting those working for them....well, it's painful.

Here's a sad realization I am having:  After so many years of "back scratching" and promoting of buddies and cronyism and the like, I don't think our districts' bosses have a clue as to what true leadership looks like!  They themselves are the promoted buddies of the past and so we who truly care are left with the remnants of years and years of "get-what-you-can-and-use-the-system" principals and then regional leaders and then district level leaders. That's that.

But you and I and more and more and more educators are finding our collective voices and, like the Who's on Horton's speck of dust, our voices are finally being heard by the kangaroos.

Do not, then, be discouraged.  Change, ever so slowly but nevertheless, is coming.

8:17 am edt          Comments

Monday, July 22, 2013

Let There Be Peace On Earth
My prayer about my abusive principal and a song from my childhood...

"Let There Be Peace on Earth....."

The Song:

"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.  Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God as our Father, brothers all are we.  Let me walk with my brother, in perfect harmony."

The Prayer:

"God, if my former abuser, his sycophants, and his protectors are going to continue to reside in my head--and it seems they are--then please, God, let them also reside in my heart. I am tired of suffering about them and others like them. I want to forgive them. I want to have peace."

The Song:

"Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now,  With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow: to take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally...  Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."

The Prayer:

"Dear God, I understand that if I can forgive them, I can forgive anyone. I understand that having peace in the world begins inside of me. I need your help. Thank you."

Your faithful servant, 


5:26 am edt          Comments

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ripped to Shreds
I am broken hearted. Ripped up.  Shredded.  Coming clean.  It is hard to just be honest. Man, I used to be like a tall majestic oak.  Lots of branches. Thick leaves.  I was the kind of tree in which birds built nests.  Their babies were born. Hell, I, myself, would bring the opened mouthed baby birds their worms. Under my canopy were so many, it wasn't a big deal.  Squirrels ate my acorns.  They'd pluck them from my branches and just sit right there on those very branches and eat them. After their acorn snacks, they'd scamper together through me; one chasing another.

I was standing proud, baby.  

The animals have all abandoned me now. There ain't nothin left for them. I've been shorn.  Buzz sawed. Pruned is the kindest thing God's done to me. I am all by myself.  I feel like putting on a beggar's sign that says: "Help me."  I'll hang it from the limb stump--that one right close to the bottom of my seared trunk.  I'd not expected this.

 I'd heard about God taking his torch to us.  I'd felt his torch fire before.  Deaths of loved ones--empty and charred pits needing to be filled--that's the biggest torch fire I'd had up until now.  Burned me pretty good.  Still, though, my hope buds came out and the pits were lined by my winged friends with feathers and nesting.  

This one is different.  I didn't expect God to come stomping up to me with his buzz saw.  Quick.  Quick.  He began slicing through me.  

"But, God," I want to say.  "God, please.  I did the right thing.  I turned away from this person's love.  I said 'no."  Why then are you chopping at me and torching me? I do not want to suffer like this!  Please, God."

God turns off the buzz saw. God looks at me.  Puts his arm around the charred remains of me.  "I love you. I know how painful this is for you. I see your heart. I see its bruises. It is through suffering such as this that you become more like me.

Wait, dear and precious you.  Wait. You will be truly majestic now. Trust me. You will see."
5:04 pm edt          Comments

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Recent comment from a student to the NEA's
Hinanni Moss says:
May 1, 2013 at 6:51 am

My school (a private school for grades 3-12) claims to encourage us to “take risks, learn from mistakes….[and] develop personal integrity….self reliance, tenacity of purpose, and commitment to others”(handbook). They assert, “We hope that these principles will guide students in their interactions with faculty and peers and help to inform them when faced with moral decisions.” We’re raised under this idea that if we see injustice, we should fight it. And yet those teachers who most exemplify that code are the very ones who are getting driven out.
I’ve always been close with my teachers (I guess I’m something of a teachers’ pet, though I’m a bit too much of a rebel for the term), so when, at a school I’ve attended for nearly a decade, I see them disappearing, scared, etc, I don’t take it lightly. This school means everything to me, and while I understand that it has no reason to be exempt from the ‘real world’ problems in teaching, I refuse to believe it impossible to have a school with at least a cordial teaching environment. So my friends (students and teachers alike) and I are pushing for a change. And if history is any indicator, I’d say together we have a fighting chance.
3:11 pm edt          Comments

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I am awed. Just when I'm feeling I've got it "all figured out,"(I don't even know I'm feeling this way--just going about "Muh Business", ya know), I am sideswiped by something visceral and personal and I am stopped cold and dead.  Neither of those words--cold nor dead--are at all accurate for the way I am really feeling. I feel good.

And I don't look like I am stopped cold and dead. I look like I am just going about "Muh Business." I am still pressure cleaning patios and feeding children and taking exercise walks. Still having lunch with friends. I am still writing about workplace and school bullying prevention, for that is my professional passion and when we live our passions, we bear fruit. I'm still making plans for bullying prevention seminars and trainings.  I am already--only three weeks into my summer vacation from being a public middle school counselor-- looking at my school wardrobe and planning how to augment those black pants and that purple scarf and either fix the soles of these beloved shoes or suck it up and pitch them.

I'm still fretful about my hair and when to dye it.  Timing is everything.  No roots to be seen at those seminars and trainings! "Now you know for sure...."

I look like I am living a regular "Kim" life. Inside, though, I am marveling and laughing and shaking my head as I contemplate life's absurdities....while pressure cleaning and exercising and cooking and writing....

My "sideswipe" is a wonderful thing. I am delighted. I am relieved that my "sideswipe"--at least this time--is not a death or a cancer or a loss of any kind. No abusive boss either. Nope.  Nada de eso.

It's this: I have found a long lost friend.
8:35 am edt          Comments

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Click here for my district's bullying and harassment policy. You will see I have made comments....