Friday Two Cents: Comic Strips: Being Prepared


Being a supply teacher and an artist, I sometimes have the opportunity to combine my passions.  Creating my comic strip entitled The Craziest Things is one of them.  The genesis of this comic strip came from the situations I have observed from the students.  I thought it would be great to create a comic strip based on those situations and thus The Craziest Things was born.  

This is my tenth year creating my comic strip and in that time I use many different themes to inspire me in creating it. Some include the differences in the generations or the use of technology in the classroom compared to their parents. Other times I use situations that inspire me from the real world and I then simply create a scene.  Yet the majority of my inspiration comes from real life situations that I experience with the students.  

This month centres on the return to school after the summer break. Yes that amazing time when you have to go back to the salt mines, I mean classroom and begin a fresh new year of learning and discovery.  

However with the start of the school year comes the realization that you need to resupply and get ready for any contingency.  As a supply teacher I have seen many different things that even to this day surprise me. Therefore I thought of a funny way to express a rising trend in the school system.  Instead of telling you about it I’ll let you read the comic for yourself.  

I hope you enjoy September’s The Craziest Things: Being Prepared.

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Friday Two Cents: One Man Who Plays Many Parts


‘All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,’
As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, William Shakespeare

For me this quote from Shakespeare’s Jaques in As You Like it rang true to me this week.   For many students, parents and teachers in Canada this week marks the beginning of the school year.  For me it is also the beginning of another year where I must suffer the lings and arrows of not having a permanent teaching position and be content with the occasional teaching I will be looking forward to.  I do enjoy supply teaching yet my heart yearns for the day when I can have my own class.  To go in everyday to a group of students and help them make sense of new and wondrous things.  To see their eyes light up when they have discovered something new.  To have they joy of hearing “Oh I get it!”  Or to see wonderful little people grow before my eyes. 

Yes it would be magnificent, yet I am comfortable and truly grateful to have the opportunity to work with the students even for a day or two as a supply teacher.  When I went into my first classes this week as a supply teacher that quote came to me. Especially the line ‘And one man in his time plays many parts,’(As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, William Shakespeare).  If you truly think about it, I am that one man who plays many parts.  In the past year alone I was asked to go into over 35 different classrooms and situations to help.  As an elementary teacher you have to teach many different subjects.  Language, math, science and social students yet I taught those and others including music, dance, drama, visual arts, physical education, health, kindergarten and library.  I have never shirked from a new task and it is quite fortunate that I have some experience in all these subjects.  

I actually relish the opportunity to teach a variety of subjects.  And so I will press on, ever vigilant in finding opportunities to teach eager young minds when ever the opportunity arises.  Always looking for the chance to have my own class.  But always grateful to go into another’s classroom and play what ever part they need me to be.  

For every day I am living those lines from that play.  For …

All the school’s a stage,
And all the teachers and students merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
Yet I am the one man who comes in, to play many parts.  

Playing many parts.

Friday Two Cents: Limits


The other day I was out enjoying my summer vacation on a patio when a familiar noise caught my attention.  It is of a child having a tantrum or fit in public.  Sadly, I say familiar because more and more I am seeing this type of behaviour in our society.  Yet this was not the worst of the offending behaviour.  The child was between the ages of 7 – 9 and they wanted something and was hurling abusive language at the parent.  This was a clear case of “parental abuse” and in public.

Parental abuse for those of you who do not know is defined by Cottrell (2001, p.3) as ‘any harmful act of a teenage child intended to gain power and control over a parent. The abuse can be physical, psychological, or financial.’ Yet I have seen studies that about 11% of abusers are under the age of 10 years of age.  What I witnessed was clearly parental abuse, by a minor and unfortunately these incidents are on the raise.  

From what I have read in studies experts say it may have something to do with the increase of rights to children in our society.  Even though the parent has the economic, social control in the relationship with the child, with increased children’s rights over the last twenty years, parents are feeling their parental rights are being removed (Holt, 2011). It would seem that with government regulations into children’s rights they appear to be entering into the family cultural make-up.  

Yet whatever the reasons by scholars and researchers, the fact is that there appears to be a shift in the decision making centre of the family. For many decades the decision-making was left to the parents.  What to eat, where to live or where to go on vacation.  But in resent years I have seen this authority move towards the children. 

I am not saying that children cannot make decisions for themselves but why are we having the members of the family with the least amount of world experience and knowledge make crucial decisions.  As an example; I have seen student’s lunches comprised of only treats such as cookies, chocolate bars and chips.  This had nothing to do with socio-economic or cultural issues.   I once asked the parents about what they put into their lunch and their overwhelming response is, “They won’t eat anything else.  But at least they are eating something.” I tried to reassure them by saying that if you put healthy things in their lunch everyday eventually they will eat it.  Children will not starve themselves; eventually they will eat out of necessity/instinct.  Yet they continue to do what the child wants and not what is best for them.  When did being the responsible adult go out of fashion? 

A child is simply that, a child. By definition; https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/child

– A young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority

– A person who has little or no experience in a particular area

I think the issue has to do with parents who have forgotten to give their children a healthy dose of vitamin N, “NO”. You want to stay up late after your bedtime?  No. You need 8 – 10 hrs. of sleep to be ready for the day’s activities. You want to stay in all day and play video games. No.   Go out and play with your friends face to face build human relationships. You want French fries and cake instead of the veggies and fruit.  No.  You need healthy foods as your body is growing not empty calories and sugar.  Oh by the way childhood obesity is on the rise, I wonder why? 

I understand that parents want to be friends with their children and give them everything they did not have but there has to be limits. Perhaps this is what happened to the child I saw the other day.  They have not learnt any limits or consequences.  As an adult we all must live with limits to help us function in society.  Many of us learnt this at an early age.  But we also know that the older you get the harder it is to change.  Why not teach limits to the children at an early age so that once they have accepted the limits they can then do what Albert Einstein once said …

‘Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.’ Albert Einstein

Otherwise we are sending them out into the world with an ACME Dynamite kite without knowing their limits or consequences.  And we know what happened to the coyote when he got his ACME kits. 

Cottrell, B. (2001). Parent abuse: The abuse of parents by their teenage children. Ottawa: Family Violence Prevention Unit, Health Canada.Cottrell, B. & Monk, P. (2004). Adolescent to parent abuse. Journal of Family Issues, 25, 1072–1095.

Holt, A. (2011). From troublesome to criminal: School exclusion as the ‘tipping point’ in parents’ narratives of crime. In C. Hayden & D. Martin (Eds.) Crime, anti-social behaviour and schools. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Friday Two Cents: Dear Parents, STOP!


Entitlement – noun [mass noun]

  1. The fact of having a right to something
  2. The amount to which a person has a right
  3. The belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment

I have heard this word uttered in many instances by different people. Parents talking about children both young and grown, teachers about students, and the media about every generation from Gen. X, Y, Boomer Echo and Millennials.  Of course the current cohort of students are just the latest generation to be labeled with this sense of entitlement, yet many believe that in their case the label might be accurate.  Many see students acting like they deserve everything in life without working for it.  Or that whatever they want they have the right to get everything they want simply because they want it.  

Examples of these students/children are popping up in schools, playgrounds, malls and in the media showing that this may be the truth for a lot of them.  As an occasional teacher I have observed student behaviour for many years and I have to say that I do agree with this assessment. Yet the bigger question is not why are today’s youth showing a sense of entitlement but where are they learning it? For this, all you have to do is look no further than the parents.  However many, if not a majority of parents would say that they are not to blame, that it’s someone else’s fault.  That it must be something they learnt from school.  Sorry to bust your bubble parents but your child will learn more from you than they will ever from a teacher.  They started learning their behaviour from the moment they were born and looked at their first teacher.  You.  

I want it because I want it.

  I have found it baffling that parents under value their contribution to the education and moulding of their children. Many believe that their child will learn more from a teacher than from them. I have told many parents that my contribution to their child’s learning is a musicale one in the larger scheme of things. Many don’t believe me but then I explain it this way.

  ‘Your child will be in school for about 14 years (elementary, middle and high school). They are with me for one out of those 14 years. It’s not even a full year, 10 months. Furthermore its only five days a week, for about 6 hours a day. That’s assuming they start when they are four years old. Yet for the first four years of their life and the remaining 14 years, who are they with all the time? So I ask you, who do you think has a greater influence in teaching your child, me or you?’ Their stunned silence speaks volumes.

I know that some are listening but I saw a fantastic letter written by a parent to parents about this very subject and I would like to share it with you.  

A letter by Lisa Collum

If one parent can get it and I know it will take some time but hopefully more will read this and wakeup to the fact that their child is the way they are because of them.  Then maybe we will see a difference in how the youth act.  Only time will tell.  

Ailish Sinclair

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