With domestic violence so much in the news it’s a sobering thought to ponder the lives of those students who daily witness and experience aggressive and often violent behaviour from their carers.
These students can present in your classroom with severe behaviour disorders and hyper vigilance. Teachers need to display high levels of emotional intelligence when dealing with the families of these students. The danger times are around violent incidents which result in suspension and often expulsion.
The family will stick together at these times and the child will happily abandon the good relationship they might have with their teacher to stand with their parents against the school.
There’s are many dynamics at play here and one which is common in families that have high levels of domestic violence: Whilst the perpetrator is going after someone else (the poor teacher), they child is momentarily off the hook. These difficult encounters are becoming more common and teachers need to be mindful of how they meet with these families ensuring they are not alone. It really is a juggling act because we need to keep the lines of communication open to improve outcomes for the students but teachers need protecting too.
As we head into the last term of the 2015 school year it’s worth remembering that little planning and a good script can make all the difference to relationships within the school community.