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I am at home giving my children a bath when I get the message, another colleague has called in sick, and I am needed tomorrow morning to help care for patients being treated for the coronavirus. I have already worked double-shifts for weeks on end. My job requires me to be around people infected with the virus, putting the health of myself and my family at risk. But I don’t think twice – I reply saying I will be there first thing tomorrow morning.

WHO AM I? I am the doctors and nurses working tirelessly in our hospitals right now. My normal workload has not changed. I still have patients ready to give birth, patients needing urgent surgery, patients undergoing chemotherapy. I cannot ignore their needs or the needs of my new patients with the virus; I have to do what it takes to somehow address everyone’s health requirements.

All around me everyone’s life has changed dramatically. Everyone is going home. Kids don’t have to go to school, students don’t have to go to university, most adults don’t have to go to work because it is considered too unsafe. However, for me – work continues. I am expected to show up to work tomorrow where people are rude to me and expect endless amounts of me and my colleagues, when we are already working as hard as we possibly can.

WHO AM I? I am the supermarket workers keeping shelves stacked for the Kiwis who are isolating at home. I am the supermarket delivery drivers, manoeuvring the New Zealand roads non-stop, ensuring these supermarkets have enough food. I am working as hard as I possibly can. I ask you to remain calm so I can do my job for the good of everyone.

Ever since the coronavirus began infiltrating New Zealand cities, my job has gotten a lot harder. I have had to significantly increase my workload to make sure that every nook and cranny is clean. Nobody wants to touch unclean surfaces themselves, but they expect me to have no problem with this – they say that it’s my job after all.

WHO AM I? I am the cleaners working tirelessly in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading. My job is more important than ever right now, and I treat it as so. However, I can’t help that hoping when this is all over, people will respect my role in society a bit more than they used to. I hope they recognise how vital my job is when it comes to protecting the health of the country.

I am passionate about my job, and I am good at it – really good. However, I know that the success I have had comes down to my ability to engage with my students. All of a sudden, I feel the need to prove to myself that I am just as good, if not more, when working from home. I am using technology I have no experience with, trying to engage with my students and help them learn, all through a screen.

WHO AM I? I am the teachers of Kiwi kids. I am anxious. How can I keep students motivated? How can I celebrate their success? Make them feel connected to each other? Education is supposed to continue – but I can’t put my usual methods to use. The one thing I know is that the only way this is going to work is if we worth with each other. Give each other time to figure it out and go easy on each other. We will learn how to do this just like we learn everything else – slowly but surely.

This term we have focused on a “Who Am I” theme, learning about awesome people who have accomplished notable things, and discussing what we can learn from them. We have focused on individuals in our society who we aspire to be like. However, with everything going on at the moment in NZ and all across the world, we can see from a new perspective what is truly remarkable right now. How roles in our society we might once have taken for granted are truly heroic. So today, we have focussed on some examples of the New Zealanders that we appreciate more than ever and can learn true life lessons from. However, there is another hero we need to look at: Everyone else.

Everyone has the opportunity to be a hero right now. Now is not the time to think that we are exempt from the rules, or to make little excuses about why we are the one exception. Now is the time to be strict with ourselves and with each other. STAY HOME and BE SAFE.

Stay home and be safe. Do it for yourself. Do it for your friends and family. Do it for the people making sacrifices for us right now. Do it for your nana and pops. Let’s do this Kiwi Kids.

Thinking Questions:

This week, I ask you to think of two more essential workers and discuss how their lives are being affected by coronavirus right now.

– I ask you to think of how their health is at risk, and what this means for their family.

– I ask you to think of what they are sacrificing right now.

– Finally, I ask you to think of how you can show your support for these people – whether that means right now or when this period has passed.

Stay safe, Hannah. X

Elizabeth II is the Queen of the United Kingdom and is also the monarch of 15 other countries, including us Kiwis in good old New Zealand. Elizabeth became Queen when her father, King George VI, died in 1952 and has now ruled longer than any other king or queen in the history of the United Kingdom.

Although Elizabeth is the queen of each country separately, she lives and spends most of her time in the United Kingdom. In all the other countries where she is Queen, a person has been chosen to represent her, who is known as the Governor-General. Elizabeth is the Queen and is interested in the running of her countries, but she doesn’t really tell the governments what to do.

While she has had a very high-stress life, being the Queen of England comes with some pretty great perks too… Elizabeth is the only person in the UK allowed to drive without a licence, and she still drives to this day, even at 93 years old! She also has two birthdays, which is pretty awesome.

Her actual birthday is on 21st April, but she gets an official birthday thrown in her honour on a Saturday in June – when the weather is better in England!

While the Queen is very important and may seem quite prim and proper, she enjoys lots of the same things that us non-Royals do too! She has many hobbies, including horse riding, pigeon racing, and football – she’s an Arsenal supporter! She enjoys walking her dogs, and it is well known that her absolute favourite breed of dog is Corgis as a little group of them are often seen trotting along beside her. 

Queen Elizabeth has and continues to live, a pretty amazing life. No matter what people say about her, there is no denying that she has truly devoted herself to her job. On her 21st birthday, she said in a speech: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” How many of us can imagine making a promise at 21, and not breaking it even when we are in our nineties! To me, it’s pretty impressive.

There are endless life lessons we can learn from Elizabeth. She shows us that it is possible to truly dedicate ourselves to things we care about and to not let anything get in the way. Elizabeth puts her country above all else, sometimes even above her own best interests and the best interests of her family. She can show us that while sometimes decisions can be hard to make, it is important to look at the big picture and remind ourselves what our overall purpose is.

From her experience we can learn that you never know when you’re going to be thrust into a position of responsibility, so get ready for the top job. When Elizabeth was born, she was third in line for the throne. But by the time she was 25, she was Queen! To put that in perspective, her son Charles was first in line for the throne when he was born, and at 71 years old today, he still isn’t King! While Elizabeth didn’t have a whole lifetime to prepare for the role, she learnt quickly and was committed to being the best Queen she could be, doing a great job.

And of course, Queen Elizabeth shows us how to Keep Calm and Carry On… 

At schools all around New Zealand prizegiving is coming up to recognise and celebrate students who have worked hard and achieved highly. Most schools use these sorts of schemes to reward their “star pupils.” But there is often some form of unease among teachers and parents who argue awards can do more harm than good: that, if not managed carefully, they encourage unhealthy competition or an expectation of reward. So does this mean we should cancel prizegiving’s altogether? Absolutely not!

While I agree that there is a wrong way to do prizegiving, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a right way. It also doesn’t mean that students who have worked hard all year should not be acknowledged. Students are often very enthusiastic about awards they receive, not only does it make them feel proud of themselves, but it helps them to realise teachers really notice everybody.

I believe that awards inspire students to work to their highest potential. Giving out an award to students who have achieved something is a way to make students feel like they can achieve something if they work hard. This helps young people to learn early on that their actions can have an effect on how they will do in life and that the harder the work the more they will achieve.

It is also a mechanism to promote a little bit of healthy competition. With a goal for students to work towards students will be encouraged to complete their work to the highest standard possible, rather than just complete it to a passable standard. At the end of the day, competition is a factor in life that will show up time and time again in the workplace. School is a good place to learn how to treat competition in a healthy manner, without letting it take over your life! It seems like there is no better place to start being competitive than in your years at school.

Giving out awards at school encourages kids to not just get passing grades, but to strive to get the best possible grades they can. If you don’t get any more credit for getting amazing grades, what is the point for working hard? Would this leave kids thinking all they need to do is the bare minimum? Awards encourage kids to do their best and getting recognition will make them want to do just that little bit more.

An awards ceremony is a special day for many students receiving awards, and it gives an opportunity for the students to be recognized by their peers, teachers and family members that have supported them throughout the years. However, if you are going to award certificates, the key thing is to make sure they are inclusive. There is something in every child to recognise. Categories should be all-inclusive, covering every subject and after-school activity, from theatre to dance to speech and debate. This gives the opportunity for students to be recognized for things other than grades.

At the end of the day, prizegiving is just one day out of the whole year. It is designed for the school community to feel happiness for their peers, not jealousy. Are we really so scared to celebrate success?

Critical Thinking Questions:

  1. Can you think of any flaws with this opinion?
  2. What are some cons of prizegiving? Does it make students feel left out?
  3. Should prizegiving celebrate more than academic success?

Practical Thinking Questions:

  1. Ask your peers and/or your teacher what they think about prizegiving. Do they think it is a good idea.
  2. Has prizegiving motivated you to work harder? Why/why not?
  3. Explain how you think prizegiving should be run and what awards should be given.

The best way to deal with cyberbullying is by reporting it or talking about it.

What is cyberbullying?

Online bullying – or cyberbullying – is using technology like shared texts, emails, online posts, images, messages or videos to embarrass, threaten or harm someone. It can range from spreading rumours to encouraging violence. Unlike physical bullies, cyberbullies often choose to hide their identity. They can also bully from a distance and reach lots of people with just a few taps on a keypad, which can be very stressful for their targets.
Like all bullying, it’s not OK. No one has to put up with it and it can be stopped.

What can I do if I’m being cyberbullied at school?

It’s important to remember that – despite using technology – cyberbullying still depends on real people to spread and respond to it, so people are the key to shutting it down.  If you’re being cyberbullied, there are some practical things you (or your caregivers ) can do to stop it:

  • Tell someone what is happening and that you are upset by it – don’t suffer alone.
  • Check out your school’s policy on cyberbullying and see what they can do.
  • If you’d rather not talk to friends, family or school you can always contact  Netsafe , Kidsline, What’s Up, or Youthline for confidential support and advice on what to do or how to cope.
  • Change your phone number, block or unfriend bullies, and alter your online profile or privacy details so they’re more secure; most providers offer help with settings.
  • Collect evidence of the bullying: keep messages, take screen shots or photos, record dates and urls, or print emails.
  • Consider taking a short break from some or all social media; you have the right to be online, but sometimes a rest can help calm both emotional and media storms.
  • Report what’s happened to your internet or mobile provider – they may be able take down or block certain numbers and sites that break their code of conduct.
  • If what’s happening is really serious or scary, consider telling the Police.

What can I do to protect myself online?

  • Choose carefully with whom you share your mobile and online details and any messages or posts: one US study found 17% of all so-called “private” emails/texts were shared – often with more than one person.
  • Set your privacy settings to protect what can be shared on social networks like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat; organisations like Netsafe and Sticks ‘n Stones also have great advice on how to do this and how to report things like bullying.
  • Never give anyone else your passwords/logins.
  • Don’t retaliate or respond to internet bullies and trolls – they might use it against you or as an excuse to continue; they’ll lose interest if they aren’t getting a response.
  • Never join in cyberbullying – what goes around often comes around.

References


Women and Children’s Health Network, 4 May 2017. “Cyberbullying – Bullying From a Distance”.  Retrieved from: http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&np=288&id=2704  2 November 2017.
Netsafe, 2 October 2015. “How to Use Privacy Settings on Social Networks”. Retrieved from: https://www.netsafe.org.nz/privacy-settings-on-social-networks/ 2 November 2017.
Netsafe, 23 December 2016. “Online Bullying Help for Young People”. Retrieved from: https://www.netsafe.org.nz/reporting-young-people/ 2 November 2017.
Sticks ‘n Stones, n.d. “Dealing  with Bullying”. http://www.sticksnstones.co.nz/youth/dealing-with-bullying/ 1 November 2017.

Useful  links

Facebook https://www.netsafe.org.nz/adjusting-your-privacy-settings-on-facebook/

Kidsline http://www.kidsline.org.nz/Home_312.aspx

Netsafe https://www.netsafe.org.nz/aboutnetsafe/  

Office of the eSafety[HO8]  Commisioner https://www.esafety.gov.au/complaints-and-reporting/cyberbullying-complaints/social-media-services-safety-centres

Snapchat https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/a/privacy-settings

Sticks ‘n Stones http://www.sticksnstones.co.nz/our-project/

Twitter https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169886

What’s Up? http://www.whatsup.co.nz/

Youthline https://www.youthline.co.nz/contact-us/

Upstander versus Bystander , Life Education Factsheet.


Empathy is the ability to understand how another is feeling and even share in that feeling.

Why is it important to have empathy?

Empathy is the key to making and keeping connections with people. It’s about linking two or more minds by recognising and respecting others’ feelings and attitudes. It’s likely to increase helping behaviours like sharing, comforting or showing concern. It can stop us from embarrassing ourselves – or others. Think how a three-legged race goes much better when you and your partner can sense and communicate how to move and which way to turn.

What does it look, sound or feel like when someone has empathy?

Someone showing empathy might be said to “put themselves in another person’s shoes”, “be in tune with them”, or “get inside their skin”. Empathy can take many forms. Sometimes we just feel it; sometimes we act on it. Here are some examples[H1] :

A toddler tries to comfort someone who is crying by offering them a favourite toy.

A pre-schooler sees a picture of her mother laughing or smiling and says “Mum is happy”.

We squish over to make room on a bench so someone doesn’t feel left out.

We feel happy when our friend wins a prize.

We understand how upset someone who is being bullied  might feel, so we don’t join in.

We don’t say loudly “Look – that lady is SO FAT” if we see a very large person on the street.

We know why our little sister is both nervous and excited about starting school.

We don’t make a loud noise when we know someone is tired or upset.

We understand why someone did something bad … or had to do it in a certain way.

A counsellor senses when a client’s ready to talk about a hard topic, and when they’re not.

We understand the feelings of a person in a song, book or film – even if we don’t like them.

Someone says “I know how you feel … I understand your frustration…” and really means it.

We smile or wave at someone … even if we don’t know them.

It’s easier –but not essential – to empathise if you’ve had a similar experience. Reading, different social contacts, or just taking time to think and talk about others helps us develop empathy. Empathetic people are often great negotiators, advisers, and listeners who show tact, compassion, kindness, consideration and good manners.

Can you think of some other examples of showing or feeling empathy?
In which jobs or situations might having empathy be particularly important
?

References

California Department of Education, 26 September 2016. “Foundation: Empathy”. Retrieved from: https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/itf09socemofdemp.asp 8 November 2017.

The Brain from Top to Bottom, Mc Gill University, nd. “Sharing Other People’s Pain”. Retrieved from: http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_03/d_03_s/d_03_s_dou/d_03_s_dou.html  8 November 2017.

Is there a difference between empathy and sympathy?

They’re pretty similar and not all dictionaries or psychologists agree on how to define them. Sympathy most commonly means showing sadness or pity for someone because we know something bad has happened to them (like feeling sorry for flood victims) and/or wanting  to help them. It’s the tiny difference between being ‘with’ them in their feelings (pathos) as opposed to ‘in’ them.. In everday speech the difference is small and often lost. What’s important is that they’re both great emotions for us to use with people.

Can you think of some jobs or situations where empathy might be particularly important?