Tell me what to say to the children

Dear WeAreTeachers:
Every day, I hear my second graders talk about what they see in the news. Often it’s about violence. Between the Buffalo supermarket shooting and the Texas school shooting, I’m at a loss. They seem so disillusioned and almost numb to another mass shooting. I don’t feel too confident in facilitating difficult conversations, so I usually jump straight in to teach my content. Lately, I feel like I can do a better job of building relationships with my kids, and perhaps engaging with current events is one way to do it. What advice do you have for talking about difficult things? -Broken heart

Dear B.,

It is not supposed to be just like this. This past week, there have been more violent shootings in our country Teachers are tired, children deserve a safe place, and many of us feel disillusioned and heartbroken. With 27 school shootings in the United States alone in 2022, it’s hard to know how to handle our big feelings. From the Buffalo supermarket shooting to the Texas school shooting, most educators are wondering what to do and what to tell the kids.

People often say that it is better not to bring these tragedies to the fore unless the children bring it up first. However, I think it is important to check in, especially since anxiety and fear can be controlled. Acknowledge the heartbreak with great empathy. Let the kids know that they are not alone and that you are here to talk and listen. Then, try to follow the school schedule as much as possible. The National Association of School Psychologists suggests that we provide a sense of routine and normalcy as well as create a safe place to talk about what they know about tragedy and how they are feeling.

“High-profile violence, especially at school, can confuse and intimidate children who may be at risk or worried that their friends or loved ones are at risk. They will look to adults for information and guidance on how to respond. Parents and school staff can help children feel normal and secure and talk to them about their fears and help them feel safe. ”

Younger students may have bits and pieces of information and need to be reassured that teachers are working really hard to keep them safe. It is important to help children express different feelings together. We can be sad, we can be scared. Older students will probably have a stronger opinion about these recent tragedies. Listen carefully. Encourage your students to share their understanding of what happened. Ask the children to write down their ideas about what they think is happening in these heinous acts against humanity and how to make their school site and society a safer place. Be sure to share their ideas with the leadership team and follow up with the leadership to get students to respond.

We all show our pain in different ways so it is important to observe. As we work to regain mental and physical safety, it helps to remind students that watching the same news clip over and over again has a detrimental effect on their well-being. The recurrence of violent crime makes anxiety and worry skyrocket. People are ready to go beyond the gun control debate and want a change in policy that sends a loud and clear message that our children deserve better. In fact, as divisive as our country is, a recent poll found that 84% of all U.S. voters support a universal background check. We can no longer continue to be stunned, then we can express thoughts and prayers without action. We must do something different. The lives of our children depend on it.

American poet Amanda Gorman wrote in response to a recent shooting:
Schools for fear of death.
The truth is, an education under the desk,
Bent from the bullet;
That’s when we ask
Where our children
Will live
And how
And if

Dear WeAreTeachers:
It has been a beautiful and rough year. I am most proud of the connections I have made with my fourth graders We have community circle meetings every day and have really built trust over time. The kids have also shown a lot of progress, especially in writing. I’ve worked mostly well with my grade-level team, but the head teacher often shuts down my ideas. Also, when my principal visited, there was chaos with the kids. He gave me feedback on classroom management, but disciplinary issues increased and we had to suspend one of the students for a fight. My principal started a meeting with me, and I thought it was time to talk about what grade to take next year. I was shocked when he asked me to consider resigning. There was really no response. I feel quite low and like a bad teacher. How can I stay motivated for the last few weeks of school?
Low and disillusioned

Dear Dad,

You capture that life is full of moments of beauty and challenge at the same time. You’re in the throes of it, so let yourself feel all the different emotions that bubble up. Hopefully, you have someone you can trust and talk to. It’s a lot to carry on your own. Although your year did not live up to your expectations, please keep in mind the quality connections and progress you have made with the kids. That’s a big deal! Will bear those memories for you and your students. Let the words of the writer Maya Angelo wash over you: “I have learned that people will forget what you have said, people will forget what you have done, but people will never forget that you gave them feelings.”

I think it’s important to talk to your principal and communicate the desire for feedback. Your principal may not think that they need to respond legally to you. In my view, this is a professional thing. Leaders who care about the impact of teachers on students (even outside their own campus) help teachers become more aware and reflective. As teachers, we respond to help our students expand and learn. The message of growth mentality is present in all schools. This should also apply to adults. Let your principal know that you want to learn from this topic and their feedback can help.

Remember the end of the year is challenging for teachers. It is Especially Prolonged covid is difficult with the context and all the hardships that come with it. Teachers are tired. Really tired. Finishing a school year is harder under normal circumstances but it is even harder if you are asked to resign from your current reality. Teachers have to dig deep for inspiration at different times of the year and with different confluences of emerging situations. Motivation is such a personal thing. Stick-with-the-ness is hard to find, but you can do it. Try to find moments in the day that are enjoyable and meaningful to you. Above all, show it to your students as you finish the year. They deserve your best.

Dear WeAreTeachers:
This was my first year of teaching, and we were given a 10th grade honors class to teach. Previous teachers were known to be extremely strict that our honors group grades would be drastically reduced. Now that we’re finished, I’m starting to feel like I haven’t pushed my students hard enough. For example, I spotted a number of personal issues that affected their assignments. It makes me question my abilities as a teacher as a whole, and I don’t know how to overcome this fear. What are the next steps for me? – Fear of a pushover


My guess is that most teachers will remember their first year. The work is so dynamic and requires a lot of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual capital. We remember our wavering confidence, the risks we took, the mistakes we made, the encouragement, the resilience, the relationships with the kids, the struggles with classroom management and much more. Congratulations on your first year experience. Do you and your students have success? I bet if you take 10 minutes to write some ideas, you might be able to take a deep breath.

Try to abandon the binary approach of teaching as hard or pushover. Looks like you were flexible and supportive of your students. Kids are not motivated when they are overly depressed and their spirits are crushed. You can be tough And Kind of it is sometimes referred to as a “warm seeker”. Warm claimants are teachers who, in the words of scholar Lisa Delpit, “expect a lot from their students, explain to them their own talents and help them reach their potential in an orderly and structured environment.”

Interestingly, there is some information that says that teachers who help students gain more may not be considered their choice, and yet they were effective. Angela Duckworth shares some perspectives on how “being loved is not always the best”. “Don’t confuse popularity with efficiency,” he said. I still want my students to like me, and I think it’s possible to be helpful to a demanding teacher. But if I prioritize what students think of me at the moment, I can sacrifice their long-term education. “

As you transform into summer, fill your cup, find inspiration, reflect, be open, and then move on to a new year with a combination of high expectations and different levels of support. This combo is a sweet place that gives birth to a positive culture and deep learning.

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Dear WeAreTeachers:
I am a parent and first class teacher. Awakening to these different roles and responsibilities was a challenge, to say the least. This year, I missed quite a bit of school. I was out for 10 days with Kovid. My two young children needed care when they were sick. We always hear people say “family first” but when I take care of my family and myself, I feel self-conscious that my parents will think I am not prioritizing my work. During the pickup, one parent commented in front of many other families that he was surprised to see me here because I missed school so much. “Oh, you decided to come to work!” She even complained to the principal, saying that her child’s schooling experience had been negatively affected by my absence. How do you think I should handle it?

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