Bystander vs Upstander

My day in 2nd Grade and a post from @gcouros here  gave me a focus for a thought and a reflection. I subbed in 2nd Grade on Friday and the students were working with their teacher on their “CHARTER” (looking at the class culture they want for their group) and they were finishing up with “inclusion” after discussions on what “safe, friends, proud” would look like in their room. This seemed so much more student generated then the usual list of class rules! When they thought about what “safe” might mean, they came up with a terrific through line and I was so proud of these 2nd graders that I have know since kindergarten.  (This is the first kindergarten group after my retirement; but I have subbed in their classes these past two and half years). The students referenced “safe” as in playing, the physical space and helping. For whatever reason this led me to the idea of the Bystander vs Upstander  (on bullying but it sends a similar message: Do Something). The other teacher was very kind in letting me share my ideas with the group. We talked how many people might notice an “incident” be aware of it, but wait to see if someone would come and help (the bystander). Then we talked about the “upstander” being the person who takes action, who goes to help or seeks help and doesn’t wait for someone else. We hoped this would help the children see that they have the “agency” to be that person. And then I read this quote from @gcouros post, “Kids need more than a “few” teachers that make them feel they think the world of them.” I thought of Rita Pierson’s TedTalk “Every kid needs a champion here  Each of us needs to look at oursleves as the teacher who lets that kid know #youmatter We don’t wait for someone else to be “that champion,” we get to be the Upstander and through the years our students will have many, many Champions because all #KidsDeserveIt


Have you had a discussion with your students about Bystander vs Upstanders? Have you looked at yourself as that students’ Champion? 

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