Students are in a crisis. Over the past several months, their schools have suddenly closed, cutting them off from their teachers, peers, and school support systems. In addition to COVID-19, students have had increased exposure to the extent of racism and racial injustice in our society and the associated unrest it has elicited. And now that the school year is over, many students are unsure of what the summer or next school year will hold.
No two students or families have been affected by the COVID-19 era in the same way, but all need the support of the important adults around them, including teachers. Now more than ever, teachers are an important part of facilitating student learning, well-being, and growth.
Whether teaching summer school remotely or teaching next school year remotely, in person, or in a hybrid model, teachers can continue supporting students through these crises. Teachers can also play an important role in identifying students who may need to meet with school mental health professionals.
How might children exposed to crisis behave?
Across a multitude of situations, students may respond to the crises that they have experienced by showing abrupt changes in personal hygiene, sleep routines, weight, school performance, mood, disruptive behavior, and/or participation in activities.
Pre-K and kindergarten students may appear sleepy, withdraw from friends and typical routines, display a reluctance to attend school or participate in activities, or cling to parents or caregivers once they arrive. In addition, a teacher may observe a regression in a student’s behavior in the form of thumb-sucking, incontinence, or separation anxiety.
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