The Perfect Student

What does the perfect elementary school student look like? This was a question posed by a new instructor during the teach back portion of a recent instructor workshop. He shared that this question was asked of him during his interview for his current position as an elementary school principal. The answers from the workshop group included that the student would be cooperative, excited about learning, would get along with their peers, etc. The new instructor then said that his answer during his interview was that the perfect elementary school student would have a well-balanced meal each night, live in a consistent and predictable home situation, have a consistent and reliable support network of family and friends that care about them, etc. 

It can be so easy for staff supporting individuals to focus on what they want to see behaviorally from a person served that they neglect to try to identify the underlying supports the person needs to achieve those behaviors. This is also true for staff and their ability to be successful. Supervisors and managers need to remember that if staff don’t have the supports they need that it will affect their ability to carry out their work responsibilities. 

This is why in The Mandt System program of de-escalation training, we teach that we should always look behind a person’s behavior not just at what they are doing to identify what antecedents or triggers may be present in the moment and what supports may be missing in the person’s life that may be limiting their ability to be successful and achieve their goals. This idea is key to a positive behavior support approach to supporting people. When people have their needs met and they feel safe it often leads to reductions in workplace conflict and helps at creating a safer workplacefor everyone in the organization. This can then help everyone be more productive and achieve their own goals and the goals of the organization.

Doug ZehrVogt – Mandt System Faculty

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