Be on the Lookout for Students Who Play “The Choking Game”

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I have just read about a disturbing activity that may affect students in your school. It’s called the “choking game.” This game has killed at least 82 students in the USA and sent at least 72 Canadian kids to the hospital. In fact, a newly released survey has found that 79,000 students – just in the province of Ontario alone – play this dangerous game.

The survey, called the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health survey, was conducted in 2007 by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Involving Ontario students in grades seven to twelve, it found that seven per cent had played the choking game. There was no difference in participation level between girls and boys or among grade levels.

What is the choking game? Kids either choke themselves – or get someone to choke them – until they begin to pass out. This state of oxygen deprivation produces a temporary feeling of euphoria. The game has other names: the scarf game, space monkey, the pass-out game, blackout and five minutes to heaven.

However, it is easy to go too far with this game and a slight miscalculation can be deadly.

What signs may alert teachers to students who are playing the choking game? Bloodshot eyes, frequent headaches, marks on the neck, and the possession of strange items such as ropes, collars and dog leashes.

As Physical education teachers, you are in a position to prevent a tragedy. You can discuss this game and its dangers during health classes. And the T-shirts that students wear in class will expose marks on a student’s neck that is an indicator of game-play.

References:
1. The “Choking Game”, Psychological Distress and Bullying: Ontario teens continue to exhibit troubling behaviour. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, May 1, 2008.

2. “Almost 80,000 Students Play “choking game.” The Canadian Press, May 3, 2008.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]choking game,physical education,coaching,health,school,students[/tags]

Do Teachers Deserve All Their Holiday Time?

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It’s almost March break and teachers will soon be getting a long-deserved week of rest and recovery.

Now, there are those who claim that teachers are overpaid for the amount of time they work and the number of holidays they receive. I, of course, disagree. Teachers are in a highly stressful job – a job in which they’re on-stage, performing in front of an audience, throughout their entire working day.

How many actors, disc jockeys, weathermen, or talk-show hosts perform for six or more hours in a row? Few radio announcer’s shifts last longer than three to four hours…because it’s hard to stay “on” for longer than that.

Teachers must be “on” for an entire school day. Then stay after hours to coach or supervise extracurriculars. Then go home to mark papers, tests, and essays and prepare for the next day’s lessons. And spend weekends away from home taking other people’s children to tournaments and games.

In fact, most of a teacher’s vacation time is really just reimbursement for time worked outside of the classroom. Do teachers deserve their holidays? You betcha!

The alternative is a generation of burned out teachers – teachers who don’t have the energy to entertain, to motivate, to intrigue, to capture the attention of students. Bored students don’t learn as well. Bored students drop out of school.

Want to hear a real example of poor value for wages paid? How about the $240,000 paid to an advertising agency for creating Scotland’s new slogan. “Welcome to Scotland.” Where can I get THAT job?

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]teaching,holidays,teachers[/tags]