By Nico Strydom
The role of social workers in the school environment has changed significantly during the past few years.
Today children have many irons in the fire and are confronted with unique challenges that did not exist a few years ago. They are increasingly being exposed to trauma and social workers in the school environment have their hands full to try and help children with emotional, behavioural and social problems.
Nowadays children experience more stress in school due to mounds of homework, pressure to perform and bullies. This can result in a child starting to neglect his or her schoolwork and displaying misconduct. There are also other factors, such as parents going through a divorce, illness or death, poverty, abuse and a lack of security. Mental health problems may also become apparent.
Social workers in the school environment have the opportunity to build a relationship with a child and win his or her trust. Where there is trust, a child will be more willing to talk about his or her problems or things that worry them and the social worker can help them to work through it.
The social worker consequently also helps the child to acquire the appropriate skills to handle different situations. In serious cases the social worker should recommend the appropriate action.
Social workers in the school environment also serve as a link between children, teachers and families. They pass on essential information to teachers so that it results in a better understanding regarding a specific child’s circumstances and his or her ensuing behaviour.
A social worker who helps a child to surmount academic, social and emotional challenges not only ensures that the child stays in school and performs better, but also helps to develop successful and productive young adults.
Social workers want to feel and see that they make an impact on a child in need of help. In order to make this impact, a social worker must be prepared to go all the way with each child who needs their help and to the end do everything in their power to truly help that child.
The relationship that a child forges with a social worker and the lingering impact that he or she could have on the child’s formative years, gives the social worker a feeling of pride and satisfaction.
ProCare Therapy: http://blog.procaretherapy.com/working-in-schools/importance-social-workers-schools/
Social Work Today: https://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/SO19p8.shtml