because of mr. terupt

 

mt

In a poignant convergence of the lives of seven fifth graders in a brand-new teacher’s classroom, Rob Buyea enables his readers to see themselves reflected in the pages.  While reading because of mr. terupt, I could not help but think about the fact that each of us is dealing with our own problems, heartache, and how- when we are kind and considerate of one another, when we work to build one another up instead of tearing each other down- we are all better off for it.

Mr. Terupt is the new teacher at Snow Hill School and while he certainly has a classroom full of strong, what could be considered stereotypical personalities, each of his students is as different from one another as any student or teacher would expect. The seven narrators of the story are as follows: the typical class clown, the queen bee, as some would call her, the mean girl ringleader as others might say, the shy, withdrawn girl, the genius, the new girl in town, the timid follower, and the slacker.  As the readers get further into the story, they realize several things. First, labels are just that, short phrase-like descriptions that do not even scratch the surface of who someone is. We have to get to know one another. We have to give each other a chance. Each person is engaged in his or her own battle.  Kindness wins. Love is the lesson to be learned here- not fractions, the Great Depression, or the five paragraph essay.

When Mr. Terupt is involved in a terrible accident, it’s clear that the ripples of love and kindness that emanate from him have a lasting impact on his students and their families. Who knows where his resounding influence will end.  He is the type of teacher that we all strive to be (and, of course, Mr. Terupt begins his teacher career like this).

Whether working on building empathy in your classroom or simply searching for an engaging story, this would make for an excellent read aloud for third through eighth grade.  It would also serve as a wonderful choice for a literature circle book. The quality discussions that can be had while reading this book are infinite.

Because of Mr. Terupt is a story of love, of forgiveness, of not giving up on one another no matter what. We are each a work in progress. We can wake up each day, determined to do better, to be better, than the day before.

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Cyberbullying

While attempting to locate sources for a diverse class full of many different majors, I came across Trisha Prabhu’s TedTalk. I found it to be informative, yes.  More importantly, I felt that it had an emotional draw.  I was invested from the beginning as I listened to her tell of children, yes children, who had killed themselves as a result of being victims of cyber-bullying.

I know that I’m teaching a “Technology in the Inclusive Classroom” course.  But, I couldn’t help but think that the same things could easily happen in a face-to-face bullying situation.  Trisha created a tool, the Rethink your Words tool, that allows parents and educators the opportunity to put one more safeguard in place for their children.  This tool forces users to think about their message, if it appears to be harmful.  Trisha found that in most instances, this moment to think was enough to change teens’ minds about posting.

I don’t think that all tools need to be digital. In fact, Christian’s Buddy Bench is another tool created by a student that allows for children to feel more accepted and the environment to be more inclusive. In my opinion, the most important thing is that we have conversations. That we encourage our children to think of others and to remember that we’re all in this together.