Dr. Hazel Giusto

Assistant Principal - High School, Alliance College Ready Public Schools

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What is the best way to deal with behavior that comes off improper or rude? Do we excuse people's behaviors because of their circumstances?

In the play "Tamer of Horses" by William Mastrosimone, Act 1/Scene 2, Georgiane, Ty's wife, argues that Hector, the runaway boy that they found in their barn, needs "a strap across his butt" for being a "wise-ass" while Ty contends that maybe Hector needs "somebody to treat him like a human being for no particular reason." As a high school, Alliance Gertz-Ressler engages all students, staff, parents, and community in 20 minutes per week where we all read the same piece of literature at the exact same time so that we may engage in thoughtful and meaningful conversations while making real-world connections beyond the classroom. We read only one section at a time per week so that we remain aligned. We would love to engage the broader community, including other educators and students who have either read this play, would like to join us in the paced-reading, or those who simply have thoughts on its real-world connections.

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    Apr 6 2014: Hazel, There are instances where zero tolerance is mandated. There are times where discretion is the better part of valor. There are times to fight and times to flee and fight another day.

    I have served in the military, aeronautical engineer, and worked in prisons and law enforcement .... I cannot express to strongly that we do not know what occurred just prior to our interaction with another person. Also the value of not taking everything personally.

    To answer your question one must be present and see the expressions, circumstances, environment, etc ... this is not a one fits all affair. As a supervisor in each of my careers I have seen the good, bad, and ugly ... it is important to know your staff and be capable to work with their strengths and weaknesses and convert the weaknesses into strengths. You will still have events that must be dealt with but fewer that those who do not learn to bend and continue to take things personally.

    As a school administrator you, I am sure, have parents who do not understand your limitations in what is occurring in the school system ... and wish to hold you accountable. STEM and Common Core are issues that are mandated by federal and state authorities by holding you hostage through funding. I am also frustrated that a subtraction that was once a two step problem is now a twenty three step problem and my grandkids tell me I do not understand subtraction ... and they are right I do not understand why the radical change. But to blame the teacher is not the answer. Voting to opt out is the correct approach.

    We live in a time where there must be blame .... so it is easy to take things personal and pass the buck.

    So here is my key: Get to know who your are and like that person .... no one can make you feel bad without your permission .... meet, accept, and work to resolve the issues. Those with bad behavior will become allies.

    Live your life with honor ...

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Apr 10 2014: Thank you, Bob for sharing your thoughts. I am one who truly believes in not taking things, personally, as hard as that may be sometimes. I also agree with you that we have to step out of our own zones sometimes and understand that there is context to every situation. I think it's good to acknowledge that with people that come off disrespectful, especially students, and once that has been made clear, past that, there shouldn't be tolerance for disrespect or rudeness, that's where I believe we should hold people accountable.

      Even with parents, I think we need to also hold them accountable for how they speak or present to us. I think far too often we forget that they are part of this world, too, where children and others learn from their examples.

      I am also in complete agreement that no one can make you feel bad without your permission-for a prolonged period of time that is, however we are governed by human emotions and reactions that are instinctual that no matter what the training we have or the nature of the insult, we will feel it. I think all we can do is learn from those instance and just ensure that we don't do it ourselves to others.
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        Apr 10 2014: I have met parents who without introduction begin their rant and I can come within three students every time of who the parents are. As the saying goes the apple does not fall far from the tree.

        I appreciate your reply. Thank you.

        I wish you well. Bob.
  • Apr 6 2014: "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others"- Confucius
    The golden rule should have answered that question for you Doctor Hazel Giusto but if it did not I will ask you directly:
    Dr. Hazel Giusto would you like "a strap across your butt" the next time your behavior is improper or rude???
    Have we forgotten that children are people? Just because it was done to us does not justify passing on bad behavior of any kind. In fact when we do that the end result is we pass on more bad behavior to of all people, our children (small helpless people who cannot defend themselves).

    Some very smart people had the following to say about that kind of behavior by so-called adults:
    “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction”- Schumacher
    "Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love"- Buddha
    "If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”- Einstein
    "Love is a better teacher than a sense of duty"- Einstein
    “The way to change others' minds is with affection, and not anger”- Dalai Lama

    And last if not lest...
    "Attraction is the best teacher"- Keith W Henline
    "Kindness is the best Currency"- Keith W Henline
    "Insanity is hurting for pleasure"- Keith W Henline

    So, do I practice what I preach, mostly, I have three lovely grown-up children that have never had a spanking or experienced any other kind of violence within our family. They are educated, healthy, successful and have traveled the world. It works just like they said it would. Myself I was beat for over twelve years and suffered physically and mentally most of my early life but that does not give me the right to pass it on.

    "When one has not had a good father, one must create one"- Friedrich Nietzsche
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    Mar 28 2014: Teachers, what do you think?
  • Apr 10 2014: Out of topic: I logged in through my professional FB account, but it did not automatically upload my avatar:(

    Re the question, conversation, trust, conflict-resolution techniques. Hurt people hurt people --this I need to keep in mind. But I am human, and sometimes ( often) err. I will reflect on my nagging ways...

    Btw, at today's GAI, we learned that part of service learning involves PR and one tool they use is TED --training kids how to deliver TED-like talks. Inspiring!
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      Apr 10 2014: I'm sorry about your Avatar :( I hope you are able to upload it!

      It is an interesting observation you make about hurt people, I would have to agree with you and appreciation your reflectiveness. How do we break that cycle though? How do we respond? And if we respond in a neutral manner and still we encounter negativity, what then?

      As for GAI, I am totally up for developing both the TED-like talks and the campus environment where students are involved in raising animals. Very exciting!
  • Apr 8 2014: Hi Hazel, I think it should be clear that all actions have consequences. But it depends on our relationship with the one doing the action how we should react.
    Are we a by-stander or a teacher?

    Excusing actions for whatever reason does not help anyone. Especially when we are supposed to teach or raise someone.

    Any reaction should be based on love for the other. Our reaction should be based on what we think would be best for the other. If we couldn't care less, we would not react.
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      Apr 10 2014: Hi Adriaan,

      Thanks for your response! I think it's interesting that you say that it depends on the relationship, it makes me wonder about consistency across different realms of relationships. If I am a teacher and I have a certain set of consequences for a student and then I encounter the same kind of situation with a close friend, are you saying they shouldn't receive consequences, even if it's a different approach?

      I agree with you about love in reactions, however there are imes where I think not reacting is a good approach for people that are looking for reactions. What do you think?
      • Apr 11 2014: You seem to say the same thing as I, it seems. I am just saying that as a teacher there is an approach toward a student, but that also exists with a close friend but on a different level.
        I'd like to think we do respond differently for each because of age and development, because there is this 'connection.'
        We should be consistent on each level, but not between levels.

        That's why when I hear someone swear or use bad language on a bus, I do not react and say or do something. Would you?

        However, if that seems to be done just to get a reaction, I may very well respond (to show the other, or, right way) if I'm in a good mood :)
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    Apr 8 2014: join you, do you mean come to the school and read with you? don't schools have lots of security issues these days where they don't let outsiders onto campus?

    i tend to dislike corporal punishment. but I know the bible says "spare the rod and spoil the child." What is your opinion on the issue, Hazel?
  • Apr 5 2014: Rudeness (also called impudence or effrontery) is a display of disrespect by not complying with the social norms or etiquette of a group or culture. These laws have been established as the essential boundaries of normally accepted behavior. To be unable or unwilling to align one's behavior with these laws known to the general population of what is socially acceptable is to be rude. (from Wiki).

    I think honesty if the best policy in this instance if the person wants to, or is trying to be part of a group. If we do not tell them when something bothers us, they may not know it is unacceptable and we are hurt or made unhappy by the behavior.

    In instances where a person does not want to be part of the group and is being rude out of meanness or spite, then the right action is to walk away and exclude them from the group until they decide to behave appropriately.

    That being said, an equally unacceptable behavior is someone that is the perpetual victim of rudeness (as they define it), trying to control the actions of others to be in a social order most pleasing to them. The norm determines the rudeness or not of behaviors. It is also important that norms may vary by culture, location, social group, religion, political system, or other similar sub-divisions of humanity.

    Another important distinction is the distinction between rudeness and misbehavior. Misbehavior in this instance is relative to laws or rules associated with a group (like a team), a place (like a school), or in a location (like a foreign country). There is no tolerance for misbehavior.
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    Apr 3 2014: What is the best way to deal with behavior that comes off improper or rude? The best way is not to take another person's rudeness personally, if you can.

    Do we excuse people's behaviors because of their circumstances? Personally, I can only tolerate bad behavior to a certain extent. Generally, each situation may be different.

    Have I been rude, obnoxious, arrogant, or unpleasant? Oh yes, especially during my younger days. Looking back, I regretted the moments when I was not at my best behavior. There were even times when I did not know not until much later or someone else pointed my rudeness to me. To all the folks out there whom I have offended, I'm truly sorry.

    I also learned a lot about kindness, love, and loyalty from Luke, that cute little "boy" in the picture.

    Thanks for putting this topic up for discussion, Dr. Giusto.