Get Inspiration From Teachers!
A powerful seminar for middle school teachers designed to build school community.
Since Sandy Hook, schools across America have experienced over 290 instances of in-school violence involving weapons predicated by alienated youth. In explaining the potential root causes of “alienation,” social scientists most frequently point to the following socio-cultural phenomena:
• Popular cultural mediums, such as violent film, television and video games;
• Social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Texting employed to taunt, bully and/or marginalize;
• Broken homes, in which parents might be absent, divorced or abusive; and
• Mental illness, such as depression, bipolar and other mood disorders.
Given that hard research shows that peer-to-peer bullying peaks in the sixth grade (and is still in force in the seventh and eighth), and that most in-school violence involving weapons is predicated by high-school-age youth, middle school teachers could play a unique and critical role in increasing the likelihood that our nation’s youth are seen, heard, engaged and connected.
The GIFT Program—Get Inspiration From Teachers!
In a half-day seminar, The GIFT Program trains middle school teachers to conduct a 90-minute seminar aimed at creating a safe environment in which students can share deeply about their gifts, their hopes and dreams, and their challenges.
Both the seminar for teachers and the 90-minute seminar for students are organized around the use of poetry—a Language Arts subject part of all middle-school curricula. In the training, teachers both experience the seminar and learn the program’s follow-up exercises, as well as have an opportunity to process everything they’ve learned. At least one critical by-product of this professional day is the teambuilding effect among your participating staff!
At the day’s conclusion, teachers receive a Get Inspiration From Teachers! t-shirt and bumper sticker, a volume of poetry for use in the classroom, and a certificate of completion.
The critical objectives of The GIFT Program are to see and hear all students, engage them in a meaningful way, provide a forum for self-expression, and make them feel genuinely connected to the school community.