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Five o'clock

14 czerwca 2022

NR 29 (Czerwiec 2022)

Safety first!

When summer holiday comes, all parents think about how their children should spend it in an enjoyable and safe way. What is more, teachers are obliged to conduct an educational lesson on safety during vacations.

The Teacher’s Charter regulates the teacher’s didactic, upbringing and caring duties. There are many decrees of the Minister of Education and legal regulations emphasizing the caring mission of the school. It follows from them that the school is responsible for the safety of students during lessons and breaks between them. The teaching profession is a kind of a mission in which, in addition to professional competence and knowledge, the transmission of knowledge, values and responsibility for students play an important role. That is why every year before the vacations or Christmas break we conduct a lesson on how to spend this time in a safe way.

The issue of safety during free time concerns all age groups as children and teenagers may be exposed to different dangers. Both of these groups may underestimate potential risks. Children – because they are not yet aware of many of them, youth – because they often have a strong need to experiment and sense of “freedom” associated with adulthood. What is more, teenagers are also reluctant to admit that something bad could happen to them. They know that there are people out there who are harmed by drugs, accidents, fraud or violence, but they want to live in the belief that none of these problems apply to them. They often say that they are “too smart” for that, and “they certainly wouldn’t let that happen”. This attitude can make our task as teachers more difficult. We must be aware that “moral” lectures, which young people let in with one ear and out with the other, will not help. 

Instead of formulating a list of orders and bans or instructing young people, it is worth making them think about what dangers they may encounter, how to recognize and avoid them.


Of course, a lot depends on the age of our students. In the case of children, the risks associated with unsafe sexual behaviour or substance abuse are small. They are more likely to be involved in accidents and other health risks, getting lost or harmful actions of other people – both peers and malicious adults.

When addressing holiday dangers, we must do so in a thoughtful way. We need to give our pupils as much practical knowledge as possible without being intimidating or overdramatic. This can result in pupils either rejecting the message as implausible or, on the contrary, becoming anxious. Of course, we talk differently to children and teenagers. It doesn’t matter how old the pupil is, we should talk to them frankly, with respect and kindness. In this way we will convince our pupils that we really care about their welfare and do not control them with orders and bans.

Below I present a lesson plan on safe leisure activities for teenagers which I usually conduct before a longer break from school. The aim of the lesson is to make pupils aware of the dangers they might encounter during holiday and to discuss ways of avoiding them. As far as the working methods are concerned I have decided that group work is the most effective.

During the time set by the teacher (about 10 minutes) each group creates rules of safe behaviour in a given place or situation. Then, one student from each group reads aloud the results of their work. It is not difficult to predict that most of the students are aware of the dangers in the designated situations and will perform this task correctly. Some examples of rules and regulations that the students may come up with are as follows:

staying safe in the mountains: 

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