Earlier this week I read an opinion piece in the New Zealand Herald. In a nutshell, the writer was giving her opinion about young children being left in day care centres. She was very clear that it was her opinion and I respect anyone who has the courage of their convictions to put themselves out there and share those opinions publicly. I am also fairly sure that she was trolled but that is a whole other story.
The writer used emotive language to put her point across… being forced to spend most of her waking hours in a loud daycare centre among strangers, with grimy plastic toys to fight over and a cold equivalent of a prison-yard to play in; I wanted to tell her to make sure her daughter did not feel invisible, invalidated; ol’ yoga pants (her name for the mother).
As I said, I don’t have any issue because this is her opinion, but what I do take issue with, is when women, particularly mothers, feel the need to shame other women’s, particularly mothers’, choices. We may disagree with their choices, but to shame them for the decisions they make is, for me, a step too far. The writer even acknowledged this in her article…And even when we gain knowledge, so often it is used not to lead social change but to shame women. The irony is, that by using emotive language and a dismissive name for the mother, this is exactly what she did.
As you can see, my opinion piece on this matter is also very emotive. Being a parent is hard enough. I know that all parents sometimes experience guilt over the choices they have to make. Bad enough that we beat ourselves up, without having to deal with other people piling the guilt on.
In a perfect world we would all make different life choices to those we have to make in this imperfect world. Many women need to work just to make ends meet. Many women choose to work because they enjoy it. Enjoying work when you have children is not anything to be ashamed of, or feel guilty about. Many men need to work just to make ends meet and many men work because they enjoy it. There should be no gender bias, men can feel just as guilty over life choices as women do, but do men get shamed as much as women?
Shaming is such an ugly thing to do. At school, we quickly act if we hear a child shaming another child. Shaming does not ever end well. It doesn’t cause the person being shamed to change their behaviour or rethink their life choices. All it does is lessen the wellbeing of the person being shamed.
Before you make a derogatory, shaming judgment about something that you see that you don’t agree with, put yourself in that person’s shoes and ask yourself what else might be going on in the background for this person, that he or she needs to have made this choice. By all means disagree with their choices, that is your right, by all means talk or write about the issue. Bring the issue to others’ attention, but please think twice before shaming mothers.
Above all, if you hear your child shaming their brother or sister, or another child, please step in. If you hear other people shaming another person, don’t join in, but challenge them. Disagree, yes. Shame, no.
Pupil of the Week POW and Citizen of the Week COW
We are constantly reviewing what we do, just to make sure that we don’t get stuck in a rut. We celebrate an individual’s learning through Pupil of the Week and I have noticed more and more that the comments are about citizenship as much as learning so we have decided to add citizenship as something to be celebrated. The criteria we are using for both awards is as follows:
|Pupil of the Week
||Citizen of the Week
|· Achievement in a specific learning area eg maths, reading, writing, inquiry
· Achievement in an aspect of the arts
· Cultural achievement
· Perseverance with a challenging task
· Showing they are unafraid to take risks with their learning
· Showing resilience, especially if they have a personal challenge
· Is a collaborative / reflective learner
· Questions to find out more information
· Shows creativity with solving problems
· Demonstrates a positive mindset
· Shows initiative in their learning
|· A specific act that shows they are: caring or responsible or honest (VAS values)
· A selfless act
· Doing a random act of kindness
· Helping, either within or outside the classroom
· Showing empathy
· Someone who often supports other students
· Is a good friend
· Is a positive class member
· Listens to, and values, others’ opinions
· Takes care of the environment
· Goes above and beyond the call of duty
Parking in Nearby Streets
I really don’t like getting emails from our neighbours complaining about our parents parking illegally or inconsiderately. Imagine if you came home to find a car parked halfway across your driveway with no one in it. You’d be furious. Well that’s how our neighbours feel when it happens to them all the time. Please do not park across driveways, whether you are in the car or not. It is illegal, but worse, it puts our neighbours off the school and quite frankly we rely on our neighbours being watchful of the school after hours.
Oh dear, what a grumpy newsletter this week. Don’t shame, don’t park illegally, I sound like a school marm!