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.