a blog for teachers who follow the Master Teacher
by Amy Young
Last week we explored the dialect of eating disorders. Today we are going to look at addictions. These are deep and complex subjects, but do not be overwhelmed. Our goal is simply awareness. The more aware you are, the more you will be able to help your students.
Traditionally, addiction has been associated with drugs and alcohol, and while both certainly can exist in your classroom, the truth is humans can become addicted to anything. Students can also become addicted to the Internet, pornography, shopping, gambling, and video games. While the Internet has enhanced our lives, one of the downsides is it has made “adult” addictions more easily accessible to students.
How do we know if a behavior is becoming an addiction? A famous psychologist in America, Dr. Phil McGraw gives 10 signs:
As you talk with your students look for signs that they feel unable to control a behavior and are participating more frequently and for longer time periods.
What is especially concerning about addiction in students is the ways it impacts their brains. Tragic elements are present if anyone gets involved in addictive behavior, but the brains of people under the age of 25 are still developing. Addictive behaviors, be they drinking alcohol, playing computer games, or needing to have a cell phone with them at all times are not just annoying, they are altering the brains of our students.
Practically speaking, what can you do?
1. Once a week walk around your classroom asking the Master Teacher to help you know each student, to see who might need help, and to open doors for discussions with students.
2. Look for warning signals. Ask yourself if you have any students who:
3. Talk to the counselors at your school and find out what you should do if you suspect a student of having an addiction. Also find out what sort of support and resources are available. It might surprise you what is available.
The Master Teacher gave a famous talk where He called many people blessed. If He were talking to you, I believe He’d say: Blessed are the teachers who notice their students and help them, for they are true teachers.
Amy’s first classroom was filled with two students who did not want to be there, seeing as they were her younger sisters. Thankfully, things have looked up for her when it comes to teaching! She’s taught junior highers all the way up to visiting scholars from China. She has masters in both TESL and counseling and sees strong connections between the two disciplines. She blogs at the Messy Middle.