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TXTS 4 Teachers

Filtering by Category: Classroom Culture

Responding to Tragedy

Ginger Topize

Hurricanes, shootings, fires, abuse, hunger... Whether first hand or second hand, bad things affect our precious youth every day.

While we would all love to protect our kids (our own and our students) from tragedy, we simply do not have that power. But what you do as the adult in charge can lessen the emotional impact and offer great support. Your actions are a game changer.

How Teachers And Schools Can Help When Bad Stuff Happens, posted on NPR Ed in November 2017, supports educators with practical advice. Anya Kamenetz shares that "The National Survey of Children's Health consistently finds that nearly half of American children experience at least one adversity such as physical abuse or food insecurity, and 1 in 5 experience at least two." 

She offers these reminders or starting points:

  • Address community issues sensitively from the beginning.

  • Remember that fear comes from a lack of control, a safe environment is crucial.

  • Be aware of acting out behaviors or withdrawal. Keep family/counselor apprised.

  • CARE for Teachers teaches "mindfulness: calming the body and mind through breathing and movement, and using insights from psychology to better regulate your emotions."

  • Give choices to acting out rather than punishment.

You do so much everyday to help children, and they are better because of you! If you are experiencing trauma yourself, get support. You must take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Find a support group near you ranging from grief to PTSD to adolescent support.

5 Things To Do The First Few Weeks Of School

Laurie King

You are back in front of the classroom and ready to rock the new school year! You most certainly have gone over your classroom procedures. But if things aren't clicking along as you had hoped, it's not too late to set yourself up for the best year ever. Legendary teachers, Linda Kardamis and Viki Davis, chatted about this very thing on the Cool Cat Teacher podcast. Here are some takeaways: 

1. Spend more time on procedures than you think you should. You don't teach division, grammar, or the scientific method once and move on. The same goes for procedures. If your students don't master your procedures in the first few weeks of school, it sets the tone for the rest of the year.

2. Task analyze every procedure. We can't take for granted that students know how to successfully complete a procedure. "Pass your papers to the front of the room," can be done many ways. Be specific and teach each step.

3. Don't let the little things go. Note the student actions you find yourself redirecting over and over. Those are areas where a procedure may need to be taught.

4. Be a mentor, not a buddy. It's important that students like you. However, students can like you without you being their friend. Students like mentors that are "both kind and firm, personable but not a pushover, understanding, kind, compassionate, and who deal with issues."

5. Prep for procedure violations. A lot of emphasis is put on prepping for lessons. But we must also be prepared for when kids break a procedure. Think about it ahead of time. "What will I do when a student runs through the classroom when the bell rings?" Being prepared keeps us from under or over reacting.

Adapted from, "5 Mistakes Teachers Make the First Week of School With Linda Kardamis." - The 10-Minute Teacher Podcast, by Viki Davis

Follow Linda Kardamins @LindaKardamis

Follow Viki Davis @coolcatteacher