“Behaviour management accounts for 80% of my work as a social work technician in a school environment. Sometimes there are problems with students consuming drugs or alcohol, bullying, conflicts, fights, anxiety... You have to stay on top of what's going on,” says Melly Rioux.1 Although it requires a lot of follow up, she loves her job. “I feel like I'm making a difference in the lives of students."
To gain the trust of young people, she must join them in their reality: “In my interventions, I connect with teens, I understand them, I listen to them, but I also have to enforce the rules of the school.”
Five necessary qualities
First of all, “open-mindedness and flexibility are essential, because we have to be everywhere to play our role well and be able to turn on a dime. We must also be empathetic, show respect and be able to listen,” she says.
Melly Rioux has developed an intervention protocol for bullying and violence for the secondary schools in Sept-Îles. As part of this project, she has worked with a multidisciplinary team of which she is very proud. “The protocol provides are tools to differentiate conflict from bullying. Teachers are raising awareness in their classrooms.” The social work technician has also trained young facilitators to give workshops in classrooms. "Prevention is designed for young people and taught by young people!” she says proudly.
1 Melly Rioux is a member of the Syndicat de l’enseignement de la région du Fer (SERF-CSQ)