An Interview with Nate Jackson, OUSD Teacher of the Year!

Four years ago, we couldn’t have predicted the end of schoolyard bullying with the end of schoolyards. We didn’t expect a 21st century American president to become the living example of shameless, careless, righteous, unstoppable bullying behaviors.

Nate Jackson, who this year was named OUSD’s Teacher of the Year, is now the District’s Physical Education specialist. In this 2016 interview with me (author Kristen Caven), we shared our thoughts and insights on bullying—what it is and isn’t, how it happens on the playground, how P.E. can help.

When I asked Nate what was different now, he said, “Things haven’t changed much when it comes to bullying. I feel like it’s the opposite, now; everyone has to be even more careful because student self esteem is so fragile. We as teachers have to make extra sure that they, and adults, are connected with at school.” He continues, “It’s hard to make friends and connect though zoom. It’s hard for kids to read the emotions of others, and express how they’re feeling on Zoom.”

Technology creates new problems. “While some students have the technologies and family support, as well as a quiet place to learn, others are finding themselves the head of household while their parents are working.” But even these problems seem small compared to the bigger issues. “There’s sooooo much more going on that puts education on the back burner. We’re trying to understanding what really matters… education or survival?”

I think what he’s saying is get out there and vote. Vote against bullies and short-term thinking. Vote for our national well-being.