Providing Our Students with Security

We all want security. Security in our homes. In our relationships. In our jobs. Security helps to ease stress and tension. If we desire security, as adults, how much more our children need it.

A secure classroom is more than locks on doors. It is the knowledge that they are safe from all harm. Ridicule. Embarrassment. Negative thoughts. Bullying. Ignorance. Children do desire (even though many don't realize it or admit it) a structured classroom. They are not looking for a friend. They are looking for an adult to guide, teach, and protect them.  

This doesn't mean that you can't joke and have a good time. I love to laugh.  It does mean being aware of what student needs are.  Not always easy. We aren't always able to successfully navigate through a roomful of students thoughts, emotions, and needs (after all, we are human).  The child who is always laughing and joking may be hiding deep pain. They may not like being the recipient of a joke. We may not realize this until after the fact, but it is not always too late. If we realize that a child feels insecure in our presence then we can take steps to remedy that. But keep in mind it isn't always fixable.

 I've been told that I am intimidating. I know I can be. I am confident, outspoken, and a female. That can make me intimidating to some. Those who get to know me realize that I wouldn't hurt an ant (notice I didn't say a fly). I have a tender heart full of compassion. We've all been told negative things about our personalities. Usually by  students that like to test the waters or their parents. You may hear things like, "You pick on me," "You don't like me," "My child feels like you don't like them," "My child feels like you are too strict." And the list goes on. The truth, in these situations, is that someone (child or parent) is reacting to a situation they don't feel comfortable in. They don't feel safe. Maybe they don't know how to function in a room where they are held accountable. Or maybe they don't know how to deal with so much structure. You can learn to cooperate and form a team. You can change the perception, if everyone is willing to invest the time. Unfortunately, not all parents or children want to solve problems. Some are not willing to change their first impression. But for all of those situations there are at least twice as many that can be resolved.

There are two keys to achieving this: Building relationships and communication.  Although many educational speakers want you to believe that building relationships is a new concept, it is actually as old as the concept of school. Teachers are all about building relationship with their students within an appropriate context.  Teachers need to watch, listen, and talk to their students to discover how they feel, think, and react. Simply asking how their week-end was or what is their favorite book will tell a teacher volumes. You begin to understand the student and their environment. Communication is important in any relationship. Clear communication. Clearly communicate to students and parents your expectations. Clearly let them know who you are.  If a problem occurs, act proactively, not reactively. Communicate quickly and clearly the problem and a suggested resolution.

When kids feel safe in our rooms and in our presence, everyone is a winner. Stress and tension are reduced. Lessons are more productive. Sound like a perfect world??? Maybe, but we can all take steps to improve our students' feelings of security.

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