Be the change you want to see

Jess Oaks
Posted 5/8/24


It takes a special type of person to work with the smallest of humans in a public-school setting and over the years, I am sure we have all known a few great teachers and we have …

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Be the change you want to see



It takes a special type of person to work with the smallest of humans in a public-school setting and over the years, I am sure we have all known a few great teachers and we have all known a few teachers who should have made different career choices. 

Children today are under far more pressure and stress than students were 20 years ago and finding a smiling face with a teaching certificate has become challenging for many school districts, not just ours in Goshen County. 

Teachers work long, hard hours and of course, so do the students.
I began working with children many years ago when I worked at Saint Joseph’s Children’s Home, and I feel some of the training I was required to take as an employee should be required for teachers and education personnel throughout the district in any public-school setting. 

Part of my training was learning how to work with youth in a crisis situation. 

When you hear the words, “crisis situation,” I just want you to think back to your years in high school, what events took place which were difficult for you to work through? 

The student’s events don’t need to be something big in your book however sometimes in the life of a teenager, what we see as something minor and unimportant, can become a crisis situation for them. Part of my training gave me the ability to recognize where the child’s emotional state currently was and of course, my training also gave me the skills to calm that crisis situation down.
Now, I am not saying that my training trumps anyone’s. I am not saying that our teachers are uneducated, I am just simply saying a little extra training on how to work with children who appear to be in a crisis situation would be helpful for all students. 

We have seen, over the years, violence erupting in our school systems. Students are killing students and teachers. 

Why not educate our educators on the ways to deescalate people in a crisis situation? 

Our school district currently accepts children with behavior problems however; I question the training school district employees receive to actually handle any problems related to those behavior problems. 

Don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to and deserves and education. But what do our children do when their peer is aggressively disruptive in class, putting them in danger?

Having children in this district for many years, I have heard many situations where students have become aggressive toward their peers and/or school authority figures during instructional hours. 

As the “public” we are not allowed to know many of the details surrounding “public school” however why should teachers need to wait for law enforcement or resource officers to step in in situations where youth has become dangerous? Why not train them how to keep our children safe, even if it is from other children?

There are so many different trainings our teachers need and a lot of them start with learning the nine basic social skills. 

I was raised by the Golden Rule; treat others as you wish to be treated and I feel we have lost that rule in our school system, and I am not talking about the students.

There isn’t a week that goes by I don’t hear a story from a student or parent complaining about how their child was treated in teachers, aids...adults. Why? 

We, as adults, complain about how a child speaks to us but that doesn’t ever allow us to talk down, curse, accuse, name-call and the list goes on to a child, but I hear reports often...too often. 

It’s pretty simple, role model the behavior you would like to see...if you don’t want a student to call you names, don’t call the student names.
If you don’t want the student to be disrespectful in your class, teach them respect by example. 

Part of showing respect is respecting the personal space of those around you. 

I may really like my co-worker’s hair, but I don’t invade her personal space to touch it because I respect her personal space. The same skill should be used in our school settings between teachers and students. When a person of authority invades student’s personal space without permission, even if the intention is harmless, we are teaching the student it is okay to accept unwanted touch from authority figures. 

I realize it is tough to be a teacher. But I also know it is just as tough to be a student. 

Be the change you want to see.