Educators

Info for Educators Talking with Students

Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event
What Teachers Can Do to Help Their Students


What Teachers Can Do to Help Their Students

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  • In a school with many students affected by a hurricane, plan shorter lessons, go at a slower pace, give less homework than usual, and expect a decline in performance for a short time.
  • Identify students who had direct experience with the hurricane, particularly those who suffered losses or had to evacuate, as they are at increased risk for distress.
  • Monitor conversations you and your colleagues have about the hurricane, as you may share perceptions, feelings, and memories in ways that make children feel more anxious.
  • Encourage distressed students to meet with the school counselors.
  • Stay in touch with your students' parents and/or caregivers about academic performance and behavior. Suggest that your school review its crisis and emergency plans in order to better respond to future events.
  • For those schools heavily affected by a hurricane, consider a postdisaster mental health recovery program for students and school personnel. The NCTSN provides information on these programs and other material for educators in the Resources for School Personnel section of this website.


Info for Educators Themselves

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Teachers play an important role in helping their students recover. Simply returning to school promotes the welfare of children and families. Teachers should not neglect themselves as they work with children, adolescents, and families. Here are some self-care suggestions for teachers:

  • Take care of yourself emotionally. You and your family may have had a stressful experience and suffered losses like those of your students. To be able to support them, you must have support yourself.
  • Take care of yourself physically. Eat healthily, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and get proper medical care.
  • Communicate with others. Make sure that you and your fellow teachers schedule ongoing times to talk together and give each other support. Teachers might consider covering for each other, so that they can address important personal/family issues that arise.
  • Give yourself a break. Try not to overdo cleanup activities. To reduce injury, avoid lifting heavy items or working for extended periods.
  • Put off major decisions. Avoid making any life-altering decisions during this stressful, posthurricane period.
  • Take care of your own family. Even though you may be very committed to your students, you also need to spend time with and meet the needs of your own family members or friends.
  • If you have many hurricane-related responsibilities, talk with your school administrators about temporarily altering your work schedule.


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