My wife and I have a friend on Facebook (we actually have more than one but I want to talk about this one in particular). For the few years that we have known him we have read his very cryptic status updates and watched his life fall apart around him. Literally. We have struggled  to remain friends with him on FB because sometimes we would often shake our heads in bemusement as to what he was doing on the social networking site. When we saw him in real life he would be a totally different person and we couldn’t figure out why everything in his life was either destroyed or about to be. So we blocked him as a friend.

My wife every now and again would search him on FB to see what his status was like (I think she was trying to find out why he was the way he was) this would lead to more frustration as she could see his very destructive behaviour. Then one day we saw this:

Andy Scott

New posted added to my blog. Please be aware that this is confronting and detailed.

Our friend had created his own blog detailing his life struggle with his mental illness (Bipolar Disorder). To me it was like a missing jig saw puzzle. Regardless of the harshness of the subjects that he spoke about it gave me a detailed insight into the struggle that one faces living with a mental illness. If an adult is struggling this way then what is going on in the minds of our students. Better still how can we get students to portray these feelings and struggles to us so that we can provide them with the support that they need.
I must say that I can’t tell the emotional state of a student in my class unless it is completely obvious. I dont know if other teachers are like that and I dont think it is because I am ignorant its just that as teachers we are trained how to deliver content not be concerned with a students emotional state. Now I am realising I need to be to get students to learn to there full potential. If we as teachers can tap into our students mental state them maybe the support comes with this. How do we do this……????????
Andy’s blog is titled “The Two Of Me” which is the title of a book written by a famous Newcastle Knight Andrew Johns. We are rugby league mad here in Newcastle Australia. Despite all of his achievements at the highest level he struggled with Bipolar. Andy’s blog is a key into the minds of a person who struggles with Bipolar and if he can put his life out there for all to see so that we can be tollerant, supportive and empathetic then is it possible for our students to do the same? The boundaries are different because they are students but if I knew what I now know about Andy in the past I am sure that things would be different between myself, he and my wife. This I am sure could be said about students I have taught in the past that I wasn’t tollerant of possibly because they had a mental health condition. I have taught a lot of Aspergers students.
Is it possible to use the technology that we have available in our classrooms in this situations? Has anyone tried it? I am thinking about trying it to see if it works. (Change the system you get a different result) I’ll keep you posted how and if I do this.
Been majorly busy since last post (Aren’t we all) but I want to keep you updated that I have built a server to run my Opensim virtual world called Tychwolcom Island (A combination of the four streets surrounding our campus). So next post will be all about that.
Thank you for reading