Remember this blog that I wrote this past week: GOT FIGHT?
Well 23 comments on blogger and 32 comments on Facebook, I realized two things:
1) There is not one "answer" to the things that I was wondering about in this blog.
2) I thought that opinions would be divided into those from an American perspective and those from a "rest of the world" perspective, but that was not the case at all.
OK, I realized 4 things..
3) I should have explained myself a bit better; sometimes I think I am being so clear because I write like I assume that all of you have had the same experiences as I have so SURELY no one will misunderstand me! :-)
4) Unless you have worked in the public school sector around teenagers on a daily basis, it is really hard to imagine many of the things about which I was writing.
I also need to clarify that the Texas high school where I was a principal was GREAT. The community where the school was located was GREAT. Most of the families that I worked with for the 6 years while I was there were GREAT. And the staff at my school was BEYOND GREAT. However, even with all this greatness, I still found myself breaking up fights or punishing kids for fighting on a regular basis...
And that issue is what caused me to wonder. WHY?
Why, even in a GREAT environment, bad things were happening; things that were INTERRUPTING the purpose and mission of a school.... you know, that thing we call learning. :-)
One of the things that I wish I had done as a principal was keep a running tally; not of the number of fights, but of the number of parent conferences I had (many of which included my campus police officer) in which I found myself explaining to a parent that punching someone back who punched you first is not, according to Texas law, SELF-DEFENSE. IT IS FIGHTING.
And underneath those tallies, I wish I had kept a running tally of how many parents (NOT just dads) said to me (and my campus police officer) something like this: "Well, I have always taught my son/daughter that if someone hits you, you stand up for yourself and hit 'em back."
No, I am not kidding.
So knowing all of these experiences I have had in my "BD life" (before Denmark), I wrote that blog on September 13 trying to figure out why my experiences are so different now. (And this time, Different is GOOD.)
Hence the blog.
However I was not any closer to an understanding about WHY after 23 blogger comments and 32 FB comments, so I decided to consult the experts....
No, not the behavorial psychologists and not the criminologists.
I asked my kids....the REAL experts, in my opinion.
I sent out some survey questions to my 2 classes of third-year students...the ones who I have been with since I began at Herning Gymnasium. They range in age from 18-20 and are in their last year of gymnasium. They come from ALL OVER the Herning area and have a huge variety of background experiences based on where they live and where they went to school before coming to HG. I gave them a link to my blog from September 13 and asked them to share their experiences related to fights at school and then also asked them about WHY they think their experiences are so different than those I wrote about.
The data is flowing in and like a good researcher, I am DISAGGREGATING it as we speak. Ok, my process is not quite that formal, but I am trying to put it all in some format that I can share with you because I think that, as usual, our kids have a lot to teach us.
Their perspectives may solidify some of yours and my theories, but they may also contradict things we believe to be true; however what I hope is that they cause us to stop, scratch our heads, and with a thoughtful look on our faces, say, "hmmmmm, there's something interesting in there....perhaps a lesson for me? for parents? for humanity?"
I don't know.. stranger things have happened..