How can you know when a child needs help, but is too afraid to speak up? For one exceptional teacher, all it took was a simple classroom activity, says mommy blogger Glennon Doyle Melton in a now-viral Momastery post.
Here’s how it works: Each Friday afternoon, this unnamed teacher asks her class to write down on paper the names of four students whom they’d like to sit next to, and one “exceptional classroom citizen.” The students then hand their list to the teacher.
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So what’s the point of this exercise? The teacher isn’t arbitrarily shaking up seating arrangements — she’s actually trying to immediately identify which kids aren’t getting mentioned, which kids were mentioned in one week but not the next, or which kids can’t even think of any friends to write down. “She’s pinning down — right away — who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying,” wrote Melton, whose son, Chase, is one of the teacher’s students.
The teacher has used this method every week since the tragic Columbine shootings as a way to spot and fix problems in her students early on. “This brilliant woman watched Columbine knowing that ALL VIOLENCE BEGINS WITH DISCONNECTION,” Melton writes. “All outward violence begins as inner loneliness.” The post was shared more than 1 million times less than a day after it went up and has touched the hearts of many more. If you scan the comments section, you’ll find that other teachers and even entire schools want to try out this technique, too. It just might be the start of something big.