The last year has brought us collective trauma in the forms of the COVID-19 pandemic and a sharp increase in civil unrest. As we return to in-person instruction, it’s imperative that we understand the impact of the last 12 months on young people and its effect on how we manage our classrooms.
Some students will be coming back to school bearing the burden of toxic stress due to abuse, 外伤或悲伤. According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, healthy development can be derailed by the excessive or prolonged activation of stress response systems in the body and brain, leaving damaging effects on learning, 行为, 和健康. Many families have experienced layoffs and furloughs, and a reduction in household income can manifest, 说ChildSavers, in ways that result in domestic violence, 药物滥用, 以及虐待和忽视儿童, which in turn can create absenteeism, 学习障碍, poor health and emotional scars.
With all that in mind, here are some research-based ways you can help your students:
Give simple and realistic answers about recent events. Clarify distortions and misconceptions to the best of your ability. Let children know they’re safe and you’re looking out for their well-being.
Some students have spent a great deal of time with a lack of structure. This may be something that spills over into a regimented classroom where social distancing will be required and certain acts of compliance with COVID-19 regulations must be enforced. The Schools Committee of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network says you may see some of these 行为s:
Many adolescents, if given support, will recover in a few weeks or months. 然而, 如果这些行为被放大, contact the parent or caregiver and reach out to the school counselor, 心理学家, 或者学校社工.
Some modifications in the way you interact with students can provide the support needed that will best accommodate the issue with a student.
The National Education Association offers some overall helpful reminders for teachers:
Teaching today is increasingly complex, and unexpected events cause us to rethink how we’re managing our classrooms. 联系其他老师. We’re constantly learning from each other about how to best provide stability and preparedness for our students and helping them function and thrive during a time of adversity and uncertainty.
Brown, PhD, is an associate professor of education at the University of Richmond.