Sad, Miserable and Scared


cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo by Rupert Ganzer

When kids are miserable, scared or under stress they’re not ready to learn – full stop.

It doesn’t matter how amazing our lesson planning and implementation is, that kid wont learn.

One thing that worries and saddens me is hearing stories where our kids have made a cry for help and it falls on deaf ears.

If our focus is learning our first priority has to be to develop safe environments. This is not about “saving” kids, it’s about modelling kindness.

Whatever happens away from school, once a student walks through the gates they should feel they have someone who cares, someone willing to give support or be a champion for them. Someone who holds high expectations and believes they can achieve with persistence and effort.

Not every kid who comes into our classroom will need “us” to be all of these things for them, but I hope that the one who does won’t slip through the cracks.

More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

Charlie Chaplin, The Barbers Speech


  1. Dave Bircher

    Our first value of our school is “be kind.” Not just to your class or those near you, but to everyone in the school and community. We try to intervene as soon as possible to help kids. We have moved from a consequence based discipline to a more caring/problem solving approach. It works and hopefully we catch those kids well before they can slip through any crack.

    Thanks dor this post. It gives one a lot to think about.

    • rhonimcfarlane

      Hey Dave, that sounds like a really positive approach. I particularly like the move from consequence to problem solving. Even the best of us have “bad days” or make “bad choices” and working through why or how kids put/find themselves in bad situations sometimes needs more time to address than a detention or being kicked out of a class or even a forced apology, what do these really solve?
      Thanks for sharing your experience!

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