Developing a safe and constructive environment is the responsibility of all members of staff and professionals dealing with children. As outlined by the department of education in ‘Keeping children safe in education’ teachers are one of many who hold the responsibility of keeping the wellbeing of all students at the forefront of their practice. This document puts emphasis on the collaborative effort that these professionals must take on to ensure an efficient and anticipatory approach to creating a safe space for students. As the document ‘Working together to safeguard children’, also from the department of education, mentions, Children seek out stability, respect, consistency, collaboration and a certain amount of individuality from the adults that they come in contact with.
This brings me to the first potential obstacle that teachers face in promoting the safety and wellbeing of their students. We are all human and we all have our own personal story going on and potential baggage. We can get so caught up in our own personal dramas and problems that we can blind ourselves from seeing the potential threats and dangers the children in our care are facing. In a way it is our job to leave our own personal baggage at the door and be completely present both within and out of the classroom when dealing with all students. I am not suggesting that teachers should have no personal life and cut all ties with everyone in their life, for fear that something could come up that would be distracting. Teachers need to develop techniques to be able to let go of things. Whether this is by discussing the issues with a colleague or professional, or meditating before the start of class, it is up to the individual. A clear frame of mind is key to being able to keep a ‘child-centered’ approach, which does not allow for the needs and desires of adults to come before those of the child, as stated in ‘working together to safeguard children.’
Additionally communicating appropriately to the right professionals about concerns and practices revolving around child safety and wellbeing is paramount to an effective program. As mentioned in ‘working together to safeguard children’ nobody has all of the information necessary to make a constructive or accurate prognosis of any situation. It is easy to jump to conclusions and make rash decisions based off of very little information. It is also easy to fall into the category of being complacent, and believing that somebody else will notice and take charge. One must remember that it is not a professional individuals duty to take on full responsibility of wellbeing and safeguarding though still being key factor. Any information, when it comes to keeping children safe is important. This can tie back to keeping your baggage at the door. When we let our emotions or personal histories get in the way we can potentially overact and loose site of the needs and interests of the child in question.
When it comes to appropriate communication and having a proactive mindset in ones approach, early development of professional relationships with other staff members is incredibly beneficial. Asking questions about what other members of staff potentially know about a situation can also give a teacher a clearer picture of a situation. It is also vital to create a relationship built on trust and respect with all children to ensure that their desires and mindset are at the forefront of any decisions made on their behalf. This is also key in keeping their trust to ensure that your relationship with them is not hampered and you are able to keep safeguarding them.