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Great teachers just give the kid a pencil

I just had to share this wonderful article which speaks to a very important quality of the best teaching that is often overlooked – compassion and care.

~ Dianne


Give The Kid A Pencil, by Chad Donohue, published at Teaching Tolerance

I recently taught a university course in Seattle for graduate students seeking master’s degrees in teaching. In one lesson, our focus was on creating a psychologically safe learning environment for students. It was an issue of managing students and supplies. I posed a question:

If a student shows up to class without a pencil, how should the teacher respond?

Small groups collaborated for a few minutes. Ultimately, they came up with plans involving taking something (a shoe?) from the student as collateral to remind the student about the importance of having supplies, notifying parents and even assigning classroom cleanup duty or lunch detention.

pencil heart“What about you, Prof?” they asked.

“I would give the kid a pencil,” I said.

“You mean the first time?” someone asked.

“Every time,” I said.

This evidently had not occurred to them. There must be some punishment, subtle humiliation or a response that makes the kid pay for the error, right? They were concerned that my action would reinforce and reward poor behavior, possibly even help develop bad habits.

What they failed to see is that the teacher is not the cause of the problem. Likely, the student has been doing this for years. The teacher can respond by criticizing the child in front of the class, reminding him that pencils are required at school, making her give up something as collateral or inflicting some punishment as a power move.

Or the instructor can simply provide the pencil and say, “There will always be a pencil here for you. Don’t ever worry about asking me for a pencil. I have hundreds of them.”

By eliminating the anxiety that comes when students worry about being called out or humiliated in front of their peers, teachers reduce the chance that students will skip class, give up, become defiant or develop mysterious “illnesses” that cause them to stay home….

Read more here:  Give The Kid A Pencil

February 22 – New Zealand With a Broken Wing

What will you do on February 22?

Many of you will remember the Feb22 fundraiser that ran last year on the first anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake, one of the biggest tragedies our country has ever seen.

The time from idea conception to the actual day was extremely short but in just one week $10,000 was raised.

This year we have a bit more time and are keen to spread the word as far and wide as possible, and hopefully make even more.

Feb 22The site is called and the idea is to get people pledging some kind of action (however big or small) to support Christchurch on the second anniversary of the day their city changed forever.

A way of remembering the ongoing struggle, paying respect to those who lost their lives and helping in a practical way at the same time.

Last year’s offerings ranged from whip-rounds at offices and coin trails at kindies through to collection boxes at all K-Mart shops and a percentage of the day’s takings at Al Brown’s well-loved restaurant Depot Eatery and Oyster Bar.

Some people donated set amounts, some a percentage of their business profit on the 22nd or even the whole week before.

One mum even donated 10c for every time her baby smiled!

Brown is on board again this year, pledging 10 percent of his day’s takings and is encouraging others in the hospitality industry to do the same.  “As I said last year, it’s like New Zealand is a bird with a broken wing, and to fly again as a whole country we need to fix that wing.

That still holds true two years on – Christchurch has a long way to go to recovery and we need to keep on helping.  I really hope to see other restaurants and businesses – not only in hospitality industry, but all sectors – getting on board.”

All funds raised will go to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal who continue to support in areas of sport and recreation, education, hardship and relief, environment, economic revitalisation, heritage and culture and spiritual and faith.

If you as an individual, or your business, is keen to get behind this initiative in any way, go to or email your pledge to

For more information, contact:

Alexia Santamaria
021 337772

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