“No, I can’t get up….” my classmate mumbled in a muffled voice, as she turned her face to avoid eating carpet. Another classmate leaned over her, restraining her arms, while a third classmate held back her legs. The rest of us bit our lips to refrain from giggling at this demonstration.
This was the scene in our practicum seminar a couple of weeks ago. In response to our stated hope of learning about deescalation and restraint techniques, a classmate volunteered to show us what she had learned after 5 years working at a school for children with behavioral and emotional disorders. The idea was not to attend a comprehensive training (we’ll have plenty of time for professional development down the road!) but to give us confidence in calming down angry students, and to know when and how restraints are properly applied, so that we may intervene if we observe them used inappropriately.
This class reminded me of the rich variety in the experiences we bring to the program as a class. As a cohort, we have taught pre-school, middle-school, and high-school, lived in several different countries, worked a number of years in clinical settings, taught special education, overcome physical illness and injury, and learned how to make wallets and clothing out of duct-tape. We learn from our professors and supervisors at our sites, but we also learn a great deal from each other. MSPP’s challenge moving forward is to best utilize the previous experiences of its students, and to incorporate that knowledge and understanding into every class.