They are there, all around us, colleagues who do not believe in your profession or your methods of delivery. They have that “get over it and move on” mentality, or “you are too young to have problems” thought process and even “school is for learning not your problems” mindset. In education we see it all the time. Staff who feel they are there to TEACH and students are there to LEARN and nothing should get in the way. Emotional problems need to be left home and not taken into the classroom, as if emotions were something you can turn on and off like a water tap. I think a lot of us have experienced this type of person at some point.
So, what do we do about it? How do we explain the importance of our job and how do we go about explaining how and why life situations effect our everyday functioning? From one day to the next I could have a variety of students stop by just to let something off their chest. A relative is sick, a parent lost a job, friendships fall apart, relationships end. Students are crying, panicking, worrying and getting angry and this is a normal part of life. Yes, I think sometimes they just need a place to go and talk for a few minutes, get some suggestions, vent a little. I also believe one’s ability to cope with life events will determine how they are able to handle situations, whether in or out of school. Either way, we all need to be there in a supportive manner.
However, what do you do when a teacher is annoyed that I pull a student out of class for a session? What do you do when staff members, and even parents, feel the issue is not serious and the child is exaggerating? These are hard questions to answer because there is no one answer. At the beginning of every year, during the first staff meeting, I discuss my role with the staff in the school. I talk about how personal lives can be difficult and kids feel any tension and stress that may be happening at home and at school. I also explain the young kids do not always have the skills they need to cope and it is my job to help in those areas. Basically, I do my best to help teacher understand that every aspect of a child’s life has an impact on their education.
Is there always going to be at least one adult who doesn’t get it? YES, I believe so. However, part of my job needs to be to work with the parents and staff so they can have a more positive understanding of my role in the educational lives of students, even in grade primary.
My belief is that you are better off allowing me to help a student (even if you don’t get it) rather than have everyone’s day affected negatively by their inability to cope with life’s ups and downs. Let me do my job and I will let you do yours.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA