Our week at BBS is quickly coming to an end and I feel as if though we just got here. Today, after having breakfast, we traveled back into the heart of the city to BBS. Once again, Tim worked with the school nurse and the administrative staff and I worked with the students and teachers in the classroom. I had three different classes today, 9th – 11th grade. Once again, they went well with good discussion and dialogue. In every single one of my presentations, I had students stick around after class to ask me a few more questions I wasn’t able to get to during the period. One of the teachers thanked me after class for coming and explained that many of the students are very curious about this subject, but they don’t have a safe place to talk about it. She was very grateful they were getting this opportunity.
After we finished our day at BBS, the school took us to a restaurant along the coast for lunch where I thought the food would never end. I was just getting ready to stop eating when they brought out the main course, still followed later by desert, and then coffee. It was a true Lebanese meal. We sat and ate for about 3 hours while talking about family, education, the school, politics, etc.
However, even though the food was wonderful, my favorite part of the day came between my classroom presentations at BBS. I was asked to make a presentation to part of the faculty at the school during their 45 minute morning break. I briefly described the presentations I had been making with the students since I had not had the privilege to be in their classrooms and then I spoke generally about prevention. I mostly spoke with them about our research in risk and protective factors. Many of you teachers may know this as risky behavior indicators and the 40 developmental assets. As I began my presentation, I was encouraged to see the amount of care and dedication they have towards their students. One of the teachers went to school at BBS and after finishing college, she returned to BBS where she has taught for the past 30 years. When I spoke about the different risk factors, teachers began to express their concern for some of their students who have some of the indicators I discussed present in their life. The care and love they have for their students is very evident. I let them know that our job in prevention is to help outweigh the risk factors with protective factors and reminded them that they are already doing a big part of that work. As I began to go through the protective factors they were able to see how they were already implementing some of them into their classroom and began thinking of new ways to implement some of the others. Unfortunately, we ran out of time so I wasn’t able to finish my entire presentation, but neither of us wanted it to end and stayed a few minutes afterwards continuing to discuss some of their questions. I am grateful for the caring teachers in my life who helped to provide protective factors for me and I’m grateful for the dedicated and caring teachers at BBS who are making sure that their students are encouraged, receive the tools they need to succeed, and above all feel loved.