Another frequent comment I make to my students is, “We play, but we don’t play,” and they know what I mean by that. We goof around, we enjoy ourselves, we have a nice time, but we work hard learning. There is a limit to playing, a line they cannot cross.
As mentioned previously, I strive to create an environment that caters to their various needs for learning, as well as to create a safe and supportive learning environment. We have all heard this before, but it is worth reminding ourselves; if they feel safer emotionally, they will enjoy school. And if they are happy and feel supported, more learning will take place.
This type of environment also helps in lowering discipline problems. Discipline problems make for unsafe and unsupportive environments. Everything must be done to offer safety for the students, as well as for the staff.
Obviously, once in a while we have to call on law enforcement or on security officers for assistance. But good instructional practices, motivational techniques, and consistently enforced discipline policies are some of the pieces that help with safety for all.
Finally, develop relationships with security staff, case managers, medical and psychiatric staff, all the support staff, and with any other stake holders in your building and your community. Collaboration improves cooperation among everybody. When all parties have good relationships, information flows more freely. That helps everybody to assist the students. And in the long run, it also improves security.
*All names have been changed in order to protect the privacy of each individual.
Janice M. Chamberlin, a licensed prison educator in Indiana, is the author of Locked Up With Success. In her book, Ms. Chamberlin shares stories not only of the challenges she has faced, but also the triumphs she has seen in the prison classroom setting. She has successfully developed a system that can unlock potential even in the highest risk students.
Published Mar 2, 2012 by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA | Last Updated by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA on Oct 24, 2021 at 10:43 am