Summer 2018

Mental Illness: A Holistic Approach

As an instructor, I realize there are many students with disabilities that I am unaware of. Some students may have an accommodation through Lansing Community College which would enable me to assist the students in various ways. However, I realize there will be students who choose not to disclose their disability or mental illness for several reasons. More so, as an instructor it is my goal to assess each of my students for various roadblocks or challenges that may impede their learning process. Also, it is my intention to encourage and motivate my students to do their very best at whatever endeavor they envision for themselves. During the spring semester of 2017, I had a student appeared very engaged in class and he seemed happy as he laughed often with fellow classmates. I find this fact troubling because as educators we are trained to look for warning signs, but in this case, there were none. So, how are we to know when our students are in trouble? If instructors strive to create a loving and caring classroom environment, students will feel compelled to reach out to us when they are in trouble, even if it is unbeknownst to us. It is important that instructors treat students as whole individuals who have a life outside of the classroom. I choose to take a holistic degraded him, declaring he would amount to nothing. The surprising concept behind this situation is the student approach when teaching and engaging with my students. Sometimes an occasional hug, or pat on the back, or even a word of encouragement may be the deciding factor between life and death when it comes to our students. In reference to mental illness, it is pivotal that we approach it as we would any other medical condition that requires treatment. It is important that we create a sanctuary space within the classroom in order for our students to feel comfortable and safe in order to learn the skills and techniques we are teaching.

Leslie Johnson
June 28, 2018