What to Do When Your Classroom Feels Unsafe
Going back to school is an exciting and scary experience every September for students of all ages. It is exciting to come back to the classroom, see old friends, and meet new people. But it is especially scary in the middle of a pandemic. On top of concerns about making friends, dealing with bullies, and news stories about school shootings and other violence, you must also take proper measures due to COVID-19. If you find yourself feeling unsafe in the classroom, it is important to talk to your teacher about it. There are different ways to go about this and different things you can say to make your classroom a safer place.
Teachers are not just responsible for your education, but also your emotional and physical well-being inside the classroom. It is important that your teacher works hard to make you feel able to approach them and tell them something is wrong. If that is difficult for you, then reach out to your parents or other teachers and staff at your school that you are comfortable with. Let them know how you are feeling about your classroom and what exactly is making you worried. Those adults can then communicate those issues with your teacher in order to make the changes you need.
When you feel ready to speak to your teacher, do some homework beforehand. Take a look at the policies your school has on classroom safety for bullying, COVID-19, etc. Are there certain rules that your teacher is not following? Or are there things they could be doing beyond those policies? If so, then you are probably not the only one feeling unsafe. It might be easier to approach your teacher with some friends or fellow students who are feeling the same way. You can help make your classroom safer for everyone in it.
If you are feeling unsafe, it will probably take more than one talk to fix it. Make a plan with your teacher on how to change the classroom and be ready to talk to them multiple times. Start with simple suggestions that can be done quickly. Maybe your teacher can set up website filters to block out sites students should not be visiting. Or perhaps they can start including a quiet time in the schedule to allow everyone to calm down and process what has happened that day. It could be as simple as moving desks further apart or rearranging the classroom to allow for better social distancing. Let your parents know what your teacher is doing in response to your talks and see what they have to add. Remember that it is okay to tell your teacher that you disagree with something they are doing. It is important that you and everyone at your school feels safe in order to be healthy and to learn.
Being a student is hard work. So is being a teacher. It is important that teachers and students work together to make the classroom a fun and safe place of learning. Each room in a school is filled with young, growing minds, and the way they are taught will have a big impact on them and the world’s future. If you are feeling unsafe in your classroom for any reason, reach out to a trusting adult or your parents about the issue. Work together to figure out ways you can work on making it better. Making yourself feel safe will help make your school a better place.
Curtello, Amy. “How Teachers Can Help Students Feel Safet at School.” James Stanfield. https://stanfield.com/how-teachers-can-make-students-feel-safe-school/
Education World. “Creating a Safe Classroom Environment.” https://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/creating-safe-classroom-environment-climate.shtml
Perry, Bruce D. “Creating an Emotionally Safe Classroom.” Scholastic. https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/creating-emotionally-safe-classroom/
Tholen, Celeste. “6 Ways You Can Help Your Kids Stay Safe at School.” SafeWise. https://www.safewise.com/blog/what-parents-can-do-to-make-sure-kids-are-safe-at-school/