by The Murray Leadership Team – Alex, Nik, Kay, Diana, and Charlotte Wellen
The Murray Leadership Team has been invited to start a blog telling how life at Murray High School, the first Glasser Quality Public High School in the world, helps students and teachers become better, happier people.
I’m Ms. Wellen. I love my students so much. That is one of the best things about teaching in a school based on Dr. Glasser’s ideas. We are free, even encouraged, to share love with our students. We can tell them we care about them, and they understand that we want what’s best for them and would do anything we could think of to help them learn in the best way possible for each of them. They share their lives with me and we learn from one another every single day.
In our blog, we hope to share with you some specific examples of how our lives, and our happiness, are improving by what we’re learning at a Glasser Quality School.
First off, I’m Alex. I’m sixteen years old and I’ve been at Murray for three years. I decided to come to Murray instead of going to the big high school that my middle school fed into. That school was HUGE and believed in disconnecting habits. For instance, they would punish students if an assignment was late by taking off points. They also gave more homework than I could handle, which, even in middle school, was too much. I even failed algebra because of this homework issue, and I’m a very smart person.
For me, it has been a great decision to come to Murray. I have been able to learn everything I needed to learn, but without having the stress that came with all the work. This has been possible because the teachers allow us to complete assignments in class and they don’t assign homework. We believe that if you understand the work in class, why would you be doing more at home? And if you don’t understand it, HOW can you do it at home without help? We would call that busywork. That’s a waste of my time, which I could dedicate to other things, such as improving my health with physical activities or enjoying my free time.
I’m Nik. I’m a cowboy and I’ve never been accepted for this in previous schools. I was treated pretty horribly by other students whenever I told them I wanted to ride bulls. They thought I was crazy. I felt really bad when they did this. I didn’t want to go to school. I kept faking sick to get out of it, which didn’t really work. Considering all this, my academics didn’t suffer too much, but it was hard to get through the day without thinking down on myself because of what everyone else was saying. I actually decided to switch schools and go to the sister school of Murray, a middle school that was based on some of Murray’s ideas.
Once I shifted schools, socially, I was still struggling because it was hard to open up to people because I was afraid I’d be made fun of again. I have now learned not to really listen to what others have to say about me because every single person is different. In the past, I never really came out with how I felt. I assumed that people knew how I felt and didn’t care how they were hurting me. Now, I know that by doing what I was doing, by not coming out with my feelings, my peers and family never really knew exactly what was going on with me. There was a full other side to my story that they didn’t know.
Now, I go about any communication with another person, even a conflict, by telling them straight out how I feel about the situation and what I want. I’ve learned that if I withhold any information, feelings can get hurt and I’m not meeting my own needs either, by trying to give everyone what they want. As a result of this, my relationships have become really solid because we can work out every conflict we’ve ever had. This makes school a lot happier, because we know where we stand with each other.
This is Kay. I’m a senior at Murray. I’ve been very happy here because everyone is nice. They know the connecting behaviors, which helps us all make friends. I have autism, which makes it harder for me to pick up social cues and at Murray I can trust that everyone’s a nice person. The classes here are smaller and there is more one-on-one help from teachers and other students. I’m going to take what I learned here into the real world so I can make friends and hold a job.
I’m Diana. I never had a difficult time with getting along with other students. However, as middle school approached, people started picking on me, calling me names. Because of all this stress from being bullied, my grades began to fall and I felt worried. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to graduate. Luckily, I heard of another little middle school that was located within my bigger middle school. It was a charter school based on the ideas of Murray High School.
I decided to apply and was accepted! The principal, Ms. Kindler, and the director of the school, Ms. Fox, started working with me. They figured out that I was having a difficult time paying attention and that I had anxiety and ADHD. I no longer was being bullied at the charter school.
I decided to apply for Murray High School, even though my mother didn’t want me to go. They thought that going to an alternative school would be bad for me. I finally got tired of what others had to say about going to an alternative school. I’m very glad that I went to Murray. I definitely am still working to improve my attention, but I’ve met a lot of new people and my anxiety is getting better. Now, I definitely have hope that I will be able to graduate from high school and that I’ll get my citizenship and be able to become a nurse.