Don’t fight, try Mediation with Mr. Love

FSSA Math teacher, Mr. Love is also the school's mediator.

FSSA Math teacher, Mr. Love is also the school’s mediator.

It’s entirely common and normal for high school students to bump heads once in a while. Whether the altercation is minor or major it’s important for the students to communicate and work through it and that’s what the job of a high school mediator. Mr. Love is a math teacher at Frank Sinatra School Of The Arts and surprisingly, the mediator of the school. Mr. Love has been a mediator for more than 20 years and began in 1994 when the NYC department of education asked for people to train to become mediators.

“I have always been interested in helping people get along,” Mr. Love states. “I have found that mediation has always worked. At one school I did over 100 mediations and none of the kids had issues with the same students again. It’s important for everyone to be able to tell their side, but also to realize that we have so much in common. It is because of these commonalities that we find common ground. From there we are able to forget our differences.”

One FSSA student that underwent a mediation with Mr. Love has also commented on how well the mediation worked. Some high school students may find a mediation pointless or silly because what’s the point of trying to talk it out with a teacher when you guys couldn’t get it right the first time? However, that’s not the case at all, as Mr. Love stated, once people come to a realization and understanding of why things happened the way that they did, they may benefit from it.

The student that went through a mediation stated: “I thought the mediation was really helpful. Just having someone to sit there and speak to both me and the other person individually, was good enough for everything to be lighter. I definitely benefited from it because now I feel like the person and I are both in a better place, I’m happy we can bump into each other without feeling awkward.”

Opening up to a teacher may seem difficult, especially when things with the person across from you are tense. You’re sitting across from someone you recently fought, whether it be orally or physically, and now you have to speak about your feelings, what might have driven you to where you are now. It’s a very important factor, having the students feel comfortable with speaking to the teacher about the situation at hand.

Another student that went through the mediation process stated, “Having Mr. Love as the teacher who assessed the mediation was very funny at first. I have a joking, goofing around type of bond with him so it was very awkward to just speak about personal issues but at the end, it really wasn’t that big of a deal and it felt like as if a friend was trying to help both me and the other person out, not a math teacher I find hilarious.”

Almost all students in Sinatra can agree that Mr. Love is funny, in his own way. Being a math teacher, a person who’s always witty and joking around, it’s a little shocking to know that he sits and listens to people’s problems and continues to help them resolve them.

Mr. Love thinks his math teaching skills have helped with the mediation  process.

“I think math does connect to mediation. Math is based upon rules of logic. Being logical shows you that hating is irrational and therefore a false premise,” Mr. Love said.

Meditations are beneficial, maybe not to all but definitely to some. Before rejecting it and thinking, “What’s the point?” one should consider it. Communication is key and high school students tend to confuse fighting and arguing with communicating. Nothing gets resolved with yelling and fists, but a true understanding of the person across from you and an understanding of yourself is what may benefit you from not bumping heads with the same person.

“Sometimes I like to ask kids, if they were traveling for a  month and saw someone from school they did not like in the street, would they say hello? Kids usually say yes. It’s what we have in common that brings us together,” Mr Love said..

Mr. Love is surely a reason as to why the mediation process goes  smoothly of course, students being comfortable with him helps, and it makes it easier for them to speak about their feelings; to be able to share their side of the story be understood and to understand.

– by Jayda Molina

In case you’re interested in the rules of a mediation here they are listed for you! 

  1. We agree to take turns speaking and not interrupt each other
  2. We agree to call each other by our first names, not “he” or “she”
  3. We agree to not blame, attack, or engage in put-downs and will ask questions of each other for the purposes of gaining clarity and understanding.
  4. We agree to stay away from establishing hard positions and express ourselves in terms of our personal needs and interests and the outcomes that we wish to realize. 
  5. We agree to listen respectfully and sincerely try t understand the other person’s needs and interests.
  6. We will not dwell on things that did not work in the past, but instead will focus of the future we would like to create. 
  7. We recognize that, even if we do not agree with it, each of us is entitled to our own perspective. 
  8. We agree to make a conscious, sincere effort to refrain from unproductive arguing, venting, or narration, and agree to use out time in meditation to work toward what we perceive to be our fairest and most constructive agreement possible.
  9. We will speak up if something is not working for us in mediation.
  10. We will request a break when we need to. 
  11. While in mediation, we will refrain from adversarial legal proceedings (except in the case of an emergency necessitating such action).
  12. We will point out if we feel the mediator not being impartial as to person and neutral as to result. 

If you believe that the rules above and a mediation may benefit you and another person, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for a mediation, sometimes it takes a third person, another fresh point of view to help out two or maybe more people that are already blinded by what they may see within their point of view. Mr. Love is here to help and guide students to mutual understandings and hopefully at the end, no tension at all