Sunday, April 23, 2017

Please Hear What I Am Not Saying

I first encountered this version of this poem when I was a freshman in college at Rochester Institute of Technology when Dr. David Wiesner was my first college psych professor. I have used it ever since. The original was by Charles Finn, and Dr. Wiesner adapted it. I was doing some other research and it came to mind and I wanted to share it again.


Please Hear What I Am Not Saying
an adaptation by Dr. David Wiesner
original by Charles C. Finn


Don't be fooled by me.
Don't be fooled by this mask that I wear.
For I wear a thousand masks and none of them are really me.
Masks that I'm too afraid to take off, fearing that you'll get to know me.

Pretending is an art that is second nature to me.
I'm pretending that I am in command and that I need no one.
That I'm cool and that my surface is so smooth and I cannot be shaken by anything.
I act as if I am in control, but please don't for one moment be fooled by my surface, that's only my mask.

Beneath this mask lies no smugness, no complacence.
Beneath this mask dwells the real me in confusion, loneliness, and fear.

But I don't dare tell you that.
I don't dare tell you that this is my mask.

I'm frightened by all the possibilities of my weaknesses being exposed.

I think about it all the time. Will I look like a fool?
That's why I work frantically to create this mask to hide behind in my relationship with people.
This nonchalant, sophisticated facade helps me pretend and shields me from the glance that knows me.
But such a glance is precisely my only salvation.
It's my only salvation if, however, the glance is followed by acceptance and love.
It's the only thing that can liberate me from myself, from my own self-built prison...from the barriers that I have so painstakingly created.
It is only that glance that will assure me of what I cannot assure in myself and, that is, that I am really worth something.

But I don't tell you this. I don't dare to. I'm afraid to.  I'm afraid that your glance will not be followed by acceptance and love.
I'm afraid that you'll think less of me...that you'll laugh and that your laugh would kill me.
I'm afraid that deep-down I am nothing. That I'm just no good and soon you're going to find out and you'll no longer love me...that you'll reject me.
So I play my game. My desperate, pretending game with the facades of assurance from without and that of a trembling little child from within.
And my life becomes a front.
And I idly chatter to you in suave tones about anything that really means nothing.
And yet I can never tell about the crying inside of me...of my greatest hurts...of my deepest fears...my concerns.
I can't tell you that because I am afraid.
So please listen carefully not to what I am saying, but to what I am not saying.
To what I'd like to be able to say. And for what my very own survival I need to say.

I dislike this hiding...honestly.
I dislike this phony, superficial game I'm playing.
I really would like to be genuine and spontaneous and me.
But you've got to help me.
You've got to hold out your hand.

You've got to hold out your hand even when it appears to you that it's the last thing I want from you, because I am going to share a secret with you about myself;
the moment I act like I need you the least is the moment I need you the most.

The moment I act like I need you the least is the moment I need you the most.

Don't be fooled by this mask. When you see anger in this mask, don't be fooled for one second...that's not anger, that's hurt.
The mask of anger is easier to show than the mask of hurt.
And if we make the error of looking at people's masks only to see anger on their face, we may end up in a confrontation only because we missed the point.

You have the power to wipe away this blank stare of the "breathing dead" beneath this mask.
It will not be easy for you.
Long felt hurts make my masks endure. The nearer you approach me the harder I may strike back.
Irrationally, I fight against the very thing that I cry out for - my identity.

You may wonder who I am. You shouldn't.
Don't be fooled by the face I wear.
I am someone you know very well.
I am every man and woman and child.
I am you.

--------------------------------

Remember this when dealing with your students.



A google doc link:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1enIhEqr7QxtWabBpIxHDm7oOpP2XPBV_u7ZrAYT4Kpg/edit?usp=sharing

Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Friday, April 21, 2017

13 Reasons Why: Being a Teen, Bullying, Rape, and Suicide


Hi, I am Chuck Schallhorn, alive and well, and with whatever device you are reading this on, please understand that this is my story, not yours.

13 Reasons Why




I've been teaching since 1987. In those 30 years, I have had students recommend many things: Dave Matthews (one student made me a tape). The Matrix (should have listened about that recommendation), and Spongebob (still cannot watch that one). Like a small child who shares something trivial with us and gives it as a well-intentioned gift, we cannot just give this lip-service and then ignore it. If we do, we ignore the chance to gain some real insights about what our students are experiencing right now.

More than 15 students asked me if I had seen the series, 13 Reasons Why. I had never had that level of response from anything outside of class before. I told them I would watch it and come back with my views. I intend to listen more than talk when I get to see them Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday.

With this post, I am talking to the adults. Spoiler alert if you have not watched the series. To be honest, I read some spoilers and it did not take away from my viewing of the series. I will say that I watched the show over my spring break and could watch no more than two episodes consecutively. To borrow from the show, you have to "be in the right 'headspace'" in order to watch the show. For me, it hit close to home. Perhaps that is why I view the series as important.

If you watch this to "be entertained" you will be disappointed. It is an intense series that takes place through the eyes of Clay Jensen, a sophomore at the beginning of the story. We see everything through his eyes, through his interpretation of what he is listening to on a series of cassette tapes left behind by a friend/crush (Hannah Baker) of his who suicided.

During the series, he attempts to figure out what she says about the people who hurt her and how he can make it right in some way. The story plays out as a mystery of sorts--who did what? Who is each tape about? In my words, Clay is attempting an amateur psychological autopsy while being wracked with nightmares, fear, anger, guilt, jealousy, and more during the time he listens to the tapes. All the while we move through time while excerpts from the tapes take us back to various points in Hannah's life.

The series began as a popular book that was adapted into a teleplay that became a 13-episode television show in Netflix--the online video-on-demand service. Did we have that growing up? Could we stream shows right to our phones? Did we even have the internet? I did not.


Why is 13 Reasons Why important to kids? It speaks to their current experiences. It depicts the confusion, the intensity, the challenges of navigating today's digital social media driven world in a way that we never had to.

So many critics of this show lamenting that the show "didn't get suicide and depression right." You can read those criticisms at the links below along with many I am sure to have missed. 

The Articles

Here is a sampling of the articles critiquing the show:

This Is Why People Are Saying '13 Reasons Why' Is A Dangerous Show https://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/experts-warn-13-reasons-why-puts-teens-at-risk?utm_term=.xcMPVQwMQ via @JennaGuillaume

Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why is an irresponsible dramatisation of teenage suicide http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/tv-radio/2017/04/netflix-13-reasons-why-suicide-irresponsible

5 Conversations to Have with Your Teens After "13 Reasons Why" | Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/5-conversations-to-have-with-your-teens-after-13-reasons-why via @commonsense

This Is What's Missing From '13 Reasons Why' http://www.teenvogue.com/story/what-netflix-thirteen-reasons-missing-mental-health via @TeenVogue

Why I Wish I Didn't Watch '13 Reasons Why' https://themighty.com/2017/04/should-i-watch-13-reasons-why-review-suicide/

'13 Reasons Why' Gets Depression & Suicidal Thoughts All Wrong https://www.romper.com/p/13-reasons-why-gets-depression-suicidal-thoughts-all-wrong-51278

Why Hannah's Suicide Scene Was So Graphic On 13 Reasons Why http://www.refinery29.com/2017/04/149561/13-reasons-why-hannah-suicide-scene-realistic-not-glamorized?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=twitter_share via @refinery29


The '13 Reasons Why' Meme That Left Me in Tears https://themighty.com/2017/04/13-reasons-why-meme-suicide-not-a-joke/ via @TheMightySite

How to Support Someone With Depression http://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-to-support-someone-with-depression via @TeenVogue


Mental Health Organization Says 13 Reasons Why Is Dangerous For Those At Risk For Suicide http://www.refinery29.com/2017/04/150539/13-reasons-why-suicide-dangerous

Positive Views/Sources for Help

13 Reasons Why Talking Points
https://www.jedfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/13RW-Talking-Points-JED-SAVE-Netflix.pdf

Hannah Baker from '13 Reasons Why' Could Have Been Me
https://themighty.com/2017/04/13-reasons-why-hannah-baker-relatable/

9 million people consider suicide each year. Here are six ways to support someone in your life. http://www.upworthy.com/6-ways-to-help-a-friend-or-loved-one-who-may-be-suicidal?g=2

Everyone Is Talking About How '13 Reasons Why' Perfectly Tackles Rape and Suicide http://www.attn.com/stories/16393/13-reasons-why-tackles-rape-and-suicide?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=direct-share&utm_campaign=shares via @attn

"13 Reasons Why: Tips for Viewing & Discussing New Netflix Series" https://www.jedfoundation.org/13-reasons-why-talking-points/ via @jedfoundation

Mental health org and 'Stranger Things' star send warnings about '13 Reasons Why' http://mashable.com/2017/04/18/13-reasons-why-headspace-warning/#MoN02AgvG05k via @mashable



Why are we so pissed? It got suicide wrong in that suicide is not typically a "revenge fantasy" as one writer called it. The tapes are a device to move the story. If we discounted stories for using these devices, we would have none left. Nearly every story uses a trope or some plot device to move the story along. This one uses the tapes.

Yes, it gets depression wrong, but how many other movies and television shows get it right? Do we criticize them? Do we become righteously indignant when other do not? Or is it that it gets depression and suicide wrong and teens still like it? I do not have all the answers, only my viewpoint, my perspective. Perhaps it is my selective perception, but I do not recall this much outrage when other shows/movies get it wrong. Perhaps my recall is incomplete or mistaken. In any case, while I did not "love" the series, I related to much of it and was moved and impacted by it. 

Perhaps the show scares us because it deals with topics that scare the crap out of most adults. Many of us, like the counselor, Mr. Porter, despite training, are still afraid to deal head-on with sensitive topics and experiences. Perhaps we are more comfortable reading about them rather than listening to someone express their own pain. Perhaps the show scares us because it reminds us of how easy it is to miss the signs of someone in distress. Perhaps it is because we have our own issues and challenges and we do not feel as though we can take on someone else's. Perhaps we want to ignore a wake-up call.

Karen: My Personal Connection to Suicide


Perhaps the reason the show resonated with me is that I was Clay 30+ years ago during my freshman year in college. I had a friend, Karen, who was in my freshman seminar class called "Artists in Fact and Fiction." I got to know Karen a bit. Enough so she put my contact information in her address book. My story with Karen occurred when we attended a Sunday evening art show opening on campus. After the show, I walked her back to her dorm. We talked outside for about an hour (no boys after 8 pm).

She told me of how she had gone home that weekend to see her family. She found out her parents were split and her father was living in a messy apartment (devastating to her as she was a "daddy's girl" who put her father on a pedestal. She had come from an idyllic suburban existence where she was a straight-A student, the "counselor" to her friends, and a model. She graduated high school in 1982 and went to Valparaiso University to earn her degree. She discovered quickly that her emotions were not the same as when she was at home. In retrospect, I realize that she was suffering from depression at a time when drug therapies were not common. She sought out at least two counselors on campus. Neither seemed to help. Her grades were lower than her expectations. She was having trouble accepting the idea that she had to go to others for help when she used to be the "rock" for others. She hated asking for help. After listening to her, and not knowing much if anything about psychology or depression at the time, I asked her, "You're not thinking of killing yourself are you?"

Quickly, I stammered that she should ignore my stupid question. I was out of line and never should have asked it. Our conversation ended shortly after that.

On Tuesday, Karen was not in class. That night, while I was at work, I received a call from her resident advisor asking me if I had seen her. I had not. For ten days she was missing. We put out flyers in our small college town. We had some limited media coverage (not like we can see today). We came together as campus groups and searched fields and woods near campus. The police detectives interviewed those of us who knew her and were in her address book. She concluded that Karen was having trouble with the stresses of school and was off partying somewhere. We knew better. We knew something was wrong but lacked the ability to know what it was.

Ten days after she disappeared, a police officer in a helicopter saw some bright colored fabric in a field next to a church parking lot. When officers on the ground investigated, they found Karen's decomposing body. Weeks later, after the funeral, which I was unable to attend, the administration got the autopsy and police reports. The Dean of Women was kind enough to tell me personally and give me a copy of a letter to her friends. Karen had taken over 150 over-the-counter medications the morning of that Tuesday. After somehow ingesting all of those pills, she began walking. At some point, the chemicals got to her and she passed out in that field and overdosed. She died alone.

That incident was an impetus to my becoming a teacher of psychology. Those series of events marked a turning point in my life where I could not sit by and watch kids in pain without trying to help in some way. Suicide prevention became an underlying aspect of who I was/am, not just something I went through once.

Conclusions

Please understand that it is harder being a teenager today than before the advent of cell phones and social media and digital cameras. We had it hard. Today's kids have it more difficult than we did. It is just as easy to make one mistake, but we could hide it since it could go only as far as the people we hurt--and how much they verbally shared it

As adults, we need to judge less and be more open to the idea that our kids have experiences that may seem trivial to us. We need to listen more. We need to understand that what we went through is not what kids today are going through. They need help navigating. It is our responsibility to help them when we can.

Watch the show if you are able. If not, be able to tell your kids why you are not able. Share with them your experiences with people you've known who have been depressed, considered or completed suicide. I know the challenges of personal sharing. Keep it professional. Admit that it might hit too close to home and that you do not want to view that kind of show. Just be honest with them. If they choose to open up and share, know how to refer your kids to the professionals who can help them most effectively. If you do not know how to do this, please contact your local campus counselors, your administration, or local city/county mental health agencies for guidance.

I am not a certified mental health expert. My views come from thirty years teaching, 29 years teaching psychology,  professional training sessions in suicide prevention, graduate coursework in teenage depression and suicide, and a graduate degree in education with an emphasis in school counseling. 


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What kind of a job can you get with a Psychology degree?

Do you know any high school psychology students who plan on majoring in psychology in college? If so, they may have heard some version of this question: What kind of a job can you get with a psych degree?

This APA article analyzes the question carefully and thoroughly, in my opinion. I like the comparison of skills and learning outcomes, and the final section about the most common jobs and their potential connections to undergraduate psychology training is potentially useful. Thanks APA!

Lighting The Way For Workplace-Bound Psychology Baccalaureates



posted by Rob McEntarffer

Friday, April 7, 2017

APA/TOPSS Clark Workshop-Important Update

This update is from Emily Leary-Chesnes from the APA. She explains the problem and encourages teachers to re-apply.
The deadline to apply has been extended to April 22, 2017


We regret sharing that applications for the APA/Clark Workshop, that were submitted before April 6, 2017, were not captured in the system due to a database error. The online system has been corrected and we have extended the workshop application deadline to April 22, 2017. If you applied to the workshop before April 6th, please resubmit your application here: http://apacustomout.apa.org/ClarkWorkShop/default.aspx.

If you have any questions please email Yvonne Hill at yhill@apa.org. Again, we sincerely regret this error and we look forward to receiving your application. All interested high school psychology teachers are encouraged to apply to participate in the workshop; details are provided below:

APA/Clark University Workshop for High School Teachers The 13th annual APA/Clark University Workshop for High School Teachers will be held June 28-30, 2017, at Clark University in Worcester, MA. The workshop will be open to 25 teachers.

The 2017 workshop presenters will include Clark University psychology faculty, Nancy Diehl, PhD, of Hong Kong International School and Southside Family Health Centre (Hong Kong), and Joseph Swope, PhD, of Northwest High School (Germantown, Md.). APA President Antonio Puente, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, will deliver a keynote address titled "125 Years of Teaching of Psychology: Where does high school psychology fit in?"

Housing in the Clark campus dorms and materials will be provided for all participants. There is no registration fee. Participants will receive travel stipends of $150. For teachers in need of extra travel support, a limited number of travel scholarships of $250 will be available.

The deadline to apply has been extended to April 22, 2017.

This workshop is sponsored by the American Psychological Foundation, Clark University and APA, with generous support from Lee Gurel, PhD. For more information or to apply, please visit http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/topss/clark-university-workshop.aspx.

posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Does anyone use Brain Rules?

I'm very late to this party, but has anyone read "Brian Rules" by Medina? I got to hear him at a conference and so far, I'm impressed.

In my opinion (backed up by some evidence), SO much of what we read under the category of "this is how brain research applies to education" is overgeneralized, inaccurate advice. I worry nervous every time I read an article or see a book about "brain based learning." Medina worries about this too - in fact, during the presentation, he "named names" of authors with popular books who mis-apply brain research in his opinion.

If anyone uses this book in psych, or just wants to chat about it, please holler at me (either via email or in the comments).



posted by Rob McEntarffer

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

APA Top 20 Principles Badges--New Program

For those of you not familiar, for several years, the American Psychological Association has had a series of principles that are most important in education. What is new is that the APA Center for Psychology in Schools and Education (CPSE) is recognizing schools that successfully promote the 20 principles with a "badging" program. The program allows schools to demonstrate programs that illustrate one or more domains of the Top 20 principles and then can "Badge" their website.


http://www.apa.org/ed/schools/teaching-learning/top-twenty-badges.aspx
Schools apply online with a written statement and specific samples of evidence showing how their chosen “Top 20” Badge category and its respective set of principles are reflected in their classrooms school-wide. In order to assist applicants, examples of successful use of evidence are provided in the application. All complete submissions are evaluated by members of the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education, and in addition to a badge, participating schools receive written feedback from the coalition, including suggestions for improvement.

These "Top 20 Principles" can be found here and are in the graphic below.

The principles focus on several domains:
1) thinking and learning
2) motivation
3) social-emotional learning
4) classroom management
5) assessment

In short, this is an excellent way to bring psychology not just to your classes, but to your entire school. To check out the process and to learn more to convince your principals to participate, click here.















posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Monday, April 3, 2017

St. Louis Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools

Spring 2017 STLTOPSS Workshop
St. Louis Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools
Partially funded by a generous grant from the APA High School Psychology Teacher Network Grant

Wednesday April 19th , 2017
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Where: Education Plus – (formerly Cooperating School Districts)
1460 Craig Rd
 St Louis, MO 63146
Leadership Room

Bring your Own: Side Dish or Dessert and Best Practices to Share!
Sandwiches and Mostaccioli from Psghetti’s
Share your teaching techniques with your peers
Develop collegial relationships with fellow psychology teachers.

Agenda:
Sharing of Best Practices
Book Club
Vision for next school year
Guest Speaker- Dr. Katie Wilson- Child Psychiatrist

Registration: Please email Jennifer Flores or Melody Barger if you would like to attend

Jennifer Flores – Jennifer.Flores@fhsdschools.org 

Melody Barger – mbarger@parkwayschools.net 



posted by Rob McEntarffer