As a support worker, I question my role in disciplining students. How firm can I be? I need to provide encouragement yet student behaviors are not the best. I see students once a week. These students come from unstable families. I meet with six students in friendship groups once a week for 30 minutes. We work on study skills and social skills. How can I be firm? Students are normally the ones who interrupt in the regular classroom. Students get into groups through parental request or student choice (with parental permission). The purpose of our services is to build recovery. We need to create an appropriate atmosphere in order to discuss sensitive issues. If the environment is too strict, the students are less willing to share.
Theories behind practice:
Impact on others:
It is never too late to share that behavior is inappropriate. Reflect on what went well, think about the process, and set new boundaries when starting new groups. Examine referral process. It should be a step-by-step process rather than a group that sounds like fun. Who needs to be in the group? Maybe review the special education process timeline: who is doing what? Further recommendations: announce groups in school newsletter; send letter to parents of group members telling them about the groups - maybe add responses from parents; develop a base line of when sessions meet and the number of sessions; develop checklist of group goals for teachers.
During the previous month, the participants were growing weary of the ten-step process and the focus on problems. Although we entertained the idea of looking at practices that worked well for us, the group decided to address the situation of one participant. This support worker has raised her issue before but the issue had not been selected; therefore, the group wanted to give attention to her situation this time. The discussion was extremely helpful in looking at the kinds of services offered to children going through difficult times at home and how these special services complement the work of the classroom teachers. The discussion helped to clarify expectations and the difficulties as perceived by the various constituents.