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National Bullying Prevention Month

Q & A with P.S. 91 teacher Khristine Raymond

P.S. 91 teacher Khristine Raymond shares the importance of creating a safe space for her music students.

What does National Bullying Prevention Month mean to you?

For me, National Bullying Prevention Month is a time to reflect on the practices I put into place in my classroom. It’s a time to create and refine music lessons that focus on empowering my students; allowing them to feel confident and strong. It’s a time to check in with my students and make sure that they are healthy and happy individuals.

 

Is bullying a problem at your school?

Bullying can be an issue at my school at times. The beauty of P.S. 91 is that there is a school culture that promotes social emotional learning. We prioritize the safety of each child by taking class time to explore their feelings and to have honest and open discussions. This in turn allows students to express themselves in a positive way without bringing other students down.

 

How important is it for you as a teacher to create a safe space for your students?

Safety is a top priority in my classroom. It’s something that we talk about from the very first day of music class. I explain that my classroom rules and procedures are all ways of keeping students safe. We also discuss how important it is to make students feel safe to express themselves. I do my best as their teacher to always stay true to myself and express myself openly in hopes that my students follow suit. Often times it works and it allows me to have a genuine bond with my students.

 

How does music play a role in helping your students?

Music allows my students to express themselves. It gives my students an outlet when they can’t quite articulate their feelings. Music has the power to change a mood, cause impromptu dance parties, or even make us so emotional that we cry. It’s important to talk about these things when they occur so that my students truly understand how powerful music is.