What do rules look like here?

We have loads of policies, rules and expectations around the behaviour of students, which are interesting to read coming from a hospital environment. I’m surprised to find the staff conduct policies are pretty similar. The school handbook is a lifesaver for new staff like me, as it outlines all the little quirks and important rules that might not be obvious.

As a newbie, each term feels like a new experience, and I keep learning more about the different stages of the academic year and what to expect from the school atmosphere and the students. However, discipline isn’t my favourite part of the school nurse’s job, and it doesn’t come naturally. I also struggle with the slight ‘respect divide’ between support staff and teachers, but I’m working on it.

Being responsible for the safety and wellbeing of students is a strange position to be in. Sometimes, when a student is having period cramps or just a bad day, it feels unfair to call them out for how their uniform looks, or because they are wearing jewelry. I’m trying to gain the students’ trust and respect, so I feel guilty picking them up on things like that. But I know that the rules are in place to provide boundaries, and that it is helpful for students to know they will be enforced.

I often turn to my boss for advice on how to handle these situations. She’s always supportive and happy to be the ‘big gun’ if I need her to be. It’s telling that in five months working here I’ve only just confiscated my first mobile phone. We’re lucky to have such well-behaved students, and confiscating the phone wasn’t as complicated as I thought it would be. There’s just a big book with a list of names and a phone box.

It’s interesting to think about the implications of students feeling unwell or upset and texting their parents before they tell a teacher. It can create confusion and make it difficult for the school to know what’s really going on for the student.

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