What can teachers do?
Young people are likely to spend more waking hours in the school environment around teachers than at home with their parents, making the school’s social environment a key factor influencing the development of young people.
Research has shown that a positive relationship with school, which creates a greater sense of community, attachment, and performance, is associated with reduced potential for drug abuse. As a teacher, you can help a student have a positive relationship with their school by:
- Setting clear rules and boundaries that are consistently enforced in a reasonable and measured manner;
- Keeping an open mind and asking students for their opinions;
- Giving praise and reward for students’ good behaviour, achievements and accomplishments;
- Modelling a sense of optimism and a positive view of learning;
- Encouraging constructive use of time and participation in extracurricular activities;
- Encouraging reading for pleasure outside of school hours;
- Being a good listener.
- Modelling appropriate alcohol use behaviours at school events. The availability of alcohol at school events may interfere with drug education and prevention efforts. Be considerate of your school’s liquor licensing policy and check if it is in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for alcohol-free events where children are present.
As a teacher, you can help by correcting common misperceptions that young people have about alcohol and other drugs. One of the most widely held misperceptions is the idea that it is common or normal to use drugs, when in fact the vast majority of young people have never tried an illegal drug..
When talking to young people about drug use, it is most useful to openly communicate the facts, without lecturing or exaggerating.