Parents are the leading influence in a tween’s decision to drink—or not to drink—alcohol, but as teachers, we also play a critical role in the lives of our students. We guide their academic and social growth while empowering them to make smart decisions. One of the many important decisions facing our students now and, in the future, will be saying “NO” to underage drinking.
We can help students make these healthy decisions by serving as role models. The way we communicate with them, emphasize the importance of goal setting, model positivity, and create an environment of possibility will set the stage for smart decision making. Our encouraging words can help boost their confidence, empower them as leaders and help them feel comfortable standing up to their peers.
Our resources are designed to help you start conversations around the importance of saying “YES” to a healthy lifestyle, and our evidence-based and science-based lesson plans will aid you in developing a mindset for yourself and your classroom that sets everyone up for success.
The following tips may seem simple but should serve as a reminder of your power to influence and inspire students to make healthy decisions during the school year and beyond. To further push inspiration in the classroom our NEW educator infographic gives great tips to set the tone for an inspiring school-year.
Show Your Flaws
Just because we’re educators, doesn’t mean we’re perfect! Even though our students may be intimidated by us, there’s value in showing our own flaws and vulnerabilities. Letting our students know we’re human makes them more willing to open us to us. As we open up to them, they’ll open up to us in return, so we need to be open to constructive comments too. After all, the road to successful communication is a two-way street.
Show You Care by Knowing the Signs and Being Observant
Keeping a finger on the pulse of your students’ mental health is important. We notice if a student’s attitude or appearance differs from day to day or week to week, especially when combined with declining grades. Many educators can recognize signs of depression and substance abuse and misuse but those with a good student-teacher rapport will be better equipped to offer kids the assistance they need. If a student perceives you as a trusted role model invested in their success, they’re more inclined to accept your advice, suggestions to visit the school counselor or nurse, or other helpful resources that can get them back on track.
Keep an Ear to the Ground
Students talk and we listen. The things we overhear in the hallways, from other teachers, and as murmurings before and after class can help us know our students and the good and bad going on in their lives and the community. A student athlete who is showing signs of substance abuse might need a check in to be reminded of their personal, academic, and athletic goals, especially if they want to maintain academic eligibility to play their favorite sport. The information we hear can be used to remind students of their goals and inspire to stay on track to make healthy decisions.
Know What Resources are Available
Ask, Listen, Learn resources are available for free for parents and educators. Our seven lesson plans and videos are educational as well as entertaining and make a great addition to the classroom. Also, it’s important to know about the human resources in your area that are available to students and your community.
Working together, we can teach our students to say “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking during the school year and beyond.