IF there’s one thing this teacher has learnt during her 20-plus years, it’s that de-escalating a classroom situation is absolutely vital to a good outcome for students.
This Central West high school teacher, who has asked not to be named, loves her work and the ability it provides her to make a real difference with the students she teaches.
But, her role educating young people comes with a dark side – students who are struggling often take their frustrations out on classmates, teachers and staff.
“Online bullying is a major issue,” she said.
“And, often, as soon as kids have issues they self-harm, it’s a really big issue.”
In recent times, she was cornered by a male student in her class.
“I could see him coming, but I got myself out of the situation,” she said.
“You feel threatened.
“You feel it afterwards, you feel it could have gotten out of control.”
Despite this, the teacher said it was a “rare situation” in her own teaching history and her training had played a very big part in keeping her and her students safe.
“We do training with violence and how to de-esculate the problem before it becomes bigger,” she said.
“You’re constantly using it all the time, some teachers do it better than others.
“Calm yourself down before you speak to them.”
This teachers said clear, calm communication with students was absolutely vital.
“You tell them how you’re feeling and they don’t always realise that they’re making you feel that way,” she said.
“You need to talk to them in a calm voice.”
As a parent herself, this teacher had advice for anyone with teenagers.
“Just keep talking to your kids, make sure you know where they are and what they’re doing,” she said.
“Maintaining that communication is so important.
“That time at dinner and breakfast is the most important time.”
With regards to the number of student welfare issues in the latest NSW Department of Education report, this teacher said “everything is reportable” these days.
“As soon as a kid tells you something you’ve got to report it, even though it could be an off-the-cuff comment and they don’t really mean it,” she said.