How teachers can imbibe safety culture in schools

A school hallway

Being in loco parentis, teachers are vested with so much duties as regards their students. The safety of such children is also an integral part of such responsibilities.

Teachers can, therefore, live up to their duties with a few titbits given below.

Protect, listen to and value them

Teachers must always exemplify to their children that they are in safe hands.

Protect the child’s confidentiality, at the same time blow the whistle.

Children may seem to you like attention seekers. Nonetheless, be a good listener at all times.

On no account should there be shunning, bullying and discrimination. This helps the child develop a positive self-image.

Guarantee the child’s Security and never allow unauthorised entry into the class or access to the children.

Good class control

Lay down some rules and regulations at the beginning of each term, week, day or lesson. Such rules should even be pasted around as a reminder.

Reward the obedient ones even with applauds, praises, and other accepted means. Gifts are also good but should not be frequent.

Also, discourage and mildly punish the defaulters. In doing this, endure not to beat at all.

Class control achieved through whipping does not last. Canes only harden the child’s mind and should only be used as the last alternative.

Limit such physical interventions if necessary.

Be diligent

You owe them a legal duty of care and must do such industriously. Be there for all the children. Then again, pay special attention to some.

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Examples are special needs children and girls. They tend to be more emotional.

Keep records

Part of a teacher’s responsibilities is to keep records and reports so that even the slightest health, social and behavioural changes are easily spotted.

Such records as diary, medical records, and inventory helps keep track of who has done what.

A good teacher must also be very observant so that all illicit acts like bullying, stealing,

Be trustworthy and accessible to them

Don’t shy away. Break the culture of silence.

Some children find it difficult to confide in their teachers due to past experience with other teachers or you.

You should therefore reassure them and fulfil such assurances.

Let the child feel at home with you. Be the child’s best friend, but not in seclusion or the “other room”.

This is important since many cases of sexual molestation in the dailies that wouldn’t have come up if not for such meetings in privacy.

Lead by example

Be of high moral standard, obey school and customary rules. As their teacher, the children actively or passively imitate you.

Therefore, fill their tabula rasa with good virtues.

Imagine a teacher that litters the class and rebukes the children for doing same.

Share information and follow-up

Teacher should learn to grass up info about child’s health, safety and protection.

They should also ensure good rapport with the children’s parents, staff and the relevant voluntary and government organisations.

Moreover, they should be certain that a befitting action is taken in the event of abuse and that impartial protection and support provided to the individual who raises or reveals such.

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Let them play but avoid horseplay

As the popular saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, it is almost impossible to totally prevent kids from playing.

Recreation is an integral part of their physical and mental development.

Notwithstanding, rough games should be replaced with a host of games that help build a child’s intellect.

Similarly, their playground should be inspected regularly for hazardous items.

Children should learn to take turns and keep well away from the moving toys like swings and see-saw.

When there is a swimming facility, due diligence should be done to provide every swimmer with a life jacket and a standby staff to monitor.

Teach internet safety and practise it

Children should be warned of the dangers of the internet and how to use it to improve in their academics. Same applies to social media platforms specifically.

They should be dissuaded from frivolous and unethical sites that only but diminish their brain power.

These admonitions are however impracticable if they don’t see the role model in you, their teacher.

Don’t condone exploitation

Prevent sexual violation and all other ways people take advantage of the child.

All cases brought to the teacher’s notice should be taken seriously.

The hiking spate of teacher’s monetary extortion and sexual abuse should likewise abhorred considering that such violation cases are leading causes of juvenile suicide.

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Disabuse the child’s mind

Teachers should partake in dissuading students from extremism, intolerance, racism, and jingoism.

Enamour the children with good virtues like mutual respect, dialogue, love and peaceful coexistence.

Ensure good housekeeping

The class should always be tidy enough to maintain proper hygiene.

The floor should always be free from spills, litters and furniture properly arranged.

Such practices help minimise slip, fall and trip hazards. Similarly, such a classroom allows for easy escape in times of emergency.

Learn basic safety techniques and preach the gospel

A good teacher should be armed with basic first aid, safety and security tips.

Such skills should also be conveyed to children are not to be considered irrelevant to them.

One can conceive how lessons learnt at childhood sticks to their brain in the Arab saying: Atta’liim fissigar kannaqshi alal hajar (Teaching children is like carving on a rock).

These champs can even be the teachers’ “saviour” in an emergency.

Avoid indiscriminate access to hazardous materials

Teachers should safeguard their students by refraining them from unnecessary exposure to hazards.

Label every liquid/chemical substance in the laboratory. Keep them under lock.

Also, there should be an adult staff to supervise all lab activities.

In that vein, students should be prevented from touching electrical sockets and fixings even when there’s power outage. They are students, not NEPA officials.

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