a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It Worked

Me: Q, if you have a question about her book, you can go ahead and ask her.

Q:  I don’t have a question about the book.  I have a comment about No Name-Calling Week.

Me: Oh, okay.  What is it?

Q: It worked.

This moment made my day.  Our school has continued to celebrate No Name-Calling Week long after the actual week ended.  Every morning, on the announcements, a staff member or student has read a personal story of their experience with bullying/name-calling.   Each story inspires more stories.  And as Q, one of my tough guys, so eloquently put it: It worked.

We honestly never thought it would.  When our district decided to push No Name-Calling Week, our 8th grade team was leery of the response we would get from our students.  We have had ongoing issues with our 8th grade boys basketball team members especially who all have vicious nicknames for each other.  They claim they are “just playing” even though several of the boys have broken down in private over the names they are called. 

Yesterday, one of my students, a basketball player, read a piece during morning announcements.  Today his friend Q reported the results: It worked. 

Have you ever been bullied? Fata**, Fatty, Doughboy, I get called these names and many more at least six times a day. It’s mean and cruel to call people names. I hate it when people do, but it hurts the most when it’s your best friends saying it the most. Bullying happens a lot in school. When you enter middle school, it’s more than likely going to happen. So if you’re a bully or have been bullied, make a change in your middle school and stop it.
I used to bully because it made me feel like I fit in, because if I didn’t do what others did, then all of the attention would be drawn back to me. I regret all of the bullying I have done. I feel bad for the people I have bullied, I wish I could take it back and restart things, but I can’t.
Now I am trying to stop.
Bullying causes the people who are bullied to do terrible things, such as killing themselves. According to BullyingStatistics.com 4,400 people kill themselves a year because of bullying. If you bully, think about it. Those people would rather be dead than to take another day having to live with nasty and mean names that you call them.
Bullying hurts people and it doesn’t make you cool to make someone else feel bad. When you bully does it make you feel better about yourself? If your friends bully you, try and find a new group of friends that you can trust and hang out with. There are people out there who really want to be your friend and won’t bully you while they are.
Bullying isn’t right and it shouldn’t happen. For all you bullies, it isn’t too late to turn your life around and become a better person, just say no and stop bullying. You can be a better person and help people instead of making them feel worse about themselves.

The impact of these shared stories cannot be measured in test scores.  It will not show up on our school report card.  However, these are the moments that change lives. 

And that is good enough for me.


  1. It's just the best thing of all when you share these stories, Christy. It makes me sad that these things are happening every day to kids, but it is a true success when you write stories like this. Tell your student I might share with our middle schoolers-maybe it will help someone's life here in Colorado too, & then they'll tell a story & it'll move to another place. Pay it forward! Thanks so very much!

  2. You're right. The impact of their stories, and of this entire week in general, cannot be measured by standardized tests. Lives will be better as a result of experiences like this. I'm glad it's happening and that you're writing about it (since that might inspire other schools to follow suit).

  3. WOOHOO...congratulations to you and your team for taking the chance, even with reservations. This is awesome

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I just love it! This is huge, the fact that Q felt comfortable enough to share his story means that you have set up an environment that is nurturing & safe! KUDOS to you & your team. Keep it going & let us know how it continues! Good for you all!

  5. Two words pack such power, "It worked." this is a success story that should be told in the media. Congratulations to your teachers and students for taking this to heart and making a difference.

  6. How brave of those kids to share their stories! I'm so impressed with the work your team has done to make kids feel like they can be the solution, that they can reflect on their own use of 'name-calling.' It is so much more powerful than just lecturing kids on the evils of bullying. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  7. I too am so impressed by this post. What an impact that will be long lasting! Awesome slice :)

  8. Wow! I was so impressed with your original post about this, and this one is equally powerful! What a wonderful thing your school is doing for these kids!

  9. So huge and life changing for all involved. I plan to share this with our administrator. I agree with Elsie. This is a story that should be picked up in the media and shared.