RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS

TEACHERS  PLAY AN IMPORTANT  ROLE

IN HELPING STUDENTS  COPE WITH A MAJOR DISASTER

"BY THE WAY, I AM FEELING REALLY STRESSED MYSELF!"

"I REALIZE THAT MY STUDENTS ARE VERY STRESSED BECAUSE OF THE DISASTER. WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP THEM?"

3 STEPS TO HELPING STUDENTS

DURING A DISASTER

STEP 1  MANAGE YOUR STRESS

BY BEING CALM YOU WILL HELP YOUR STUDENTS TO BE CALM

Watch this 7 minute video in which Dr. Valerie Hill Jackson explains how teachers benefit from the new teacher care movement.

Watch this 3 minute video in which Teachers of the Year describe how they lower their stress.

Here is a 3 minute video on one effective way to lower stress.

Deep breathing is an easy relaxation technique that can be practiced anywhere by anyone. Benefits include improved mental health, lung function, and blood pressure. Watch this video as Drs. Neda Gould and Dana DiRenzo walk you through this useful exercise.

This Greater Good Science Center website contains many evidence-based exercises that teachers can do to lower their stress.

This free book contains 10 practical stress reduction exercises that educators can use to lower their stress.

STEP  2  USE A TRAUMA-INFORMED TEACHING APPROACH

THIS APPROACH TO TEACHING HELPS CALM STUDENTS SO THAT THEY CAN LEARN MORE EFFECTIVELY

Here is a 4 minute video on why Trauma-Informed Teaching is important for educators.

On pages 12-14 of this article you will find 2 case studies illustrating how you can use a trauma-informed teaching approach to help your students.

Dr. Meredith Fox, a passionate educator with 17 years of experience in public education, explains the importance of educators re-thinking how we relate to and build relationships with students who have social-emotional needs, as well as connect with students who may have experienced trauma in their lives. 

If your students are stressed, here is a simple but effective way to help them become calmer by using Deep Breathing. It takes only 4 minutes to do.  At the beginning of your class, play the tape for your students and have them practice  Deep Breathing. Or demonstrate Deep Breathing yourself! 

In this powerful short film, watch and hear from elementary school students learning to use mindfulness to navigate complex feelings.

STEP 3  PROMOTE  PARENT  ENGAGEMENT

THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO DO THIS. HERE'S ONE:

ONCE A MONTH, SEND PARENTS A POSITIVE MESSAGE ABOUT THEIR CHILD

    During a disaster, when parents feel supported it strengthens families, and children benefit.

"One recent study, conducted by the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory in 2002, analyzed several different pieces of existing research on parent involvement in education. Results of the study, released in a report titled “A New Wave of Evidence,” found that students whose parents are actively involved in their education are more likely to attend school regularly, adapt well to school, take advanced classes and excel academically.These students also tend to have better social skills, and they are more likely to graduate from high school and attend post-secondary school."

Watch this 4 minute video on how teachers can promote parent engagement.

When teachers bring parents in to see what their children are learning, they strengthen the home-school connection and help the adults build skills, too.

Here are some studies describing how teachers have played an important role during disasters.

Excerpt:

"There is growing evidence that children are vulnerable to poor psychological outcomes following exposure to a range of potentially traumatic events. Teachers are in a unique and well-placed position to provide vital support to children following potentially traumatic events and to also provide a vital role in helping to identify children who may be experiencing ongoing psychosocial difficulties."

Excerpt:

"This study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting the efficacy of school-based universal approaches in helping children in regions touched by war, terror and disaster and suggests the need to adopt a two-stage approach toward dealing with trauma-exposed students, namely, starting with a universal intervention followed by targeted specialized interventions for those still suffering from posttraumatic distress."

Excerpt:

"The overall results of this study have lent convincing support to the predictions of calligraphy treatment in improving and changing the common post-traumatic hyperarousal symptoms in a sample of trauma-exposed children."

Excerpt:

"Some recommendations are provided on ways to support teachers’ important roles in disaster recovery, including targeting evidence-based guidance and teaching resources to schools enrolling displaced children, dispelling disaster rumors through schools and facilitating peer mentoring among teachers. An overarching lesson is that communities would benefit from teachers being better equipped to provide emotional support and responsive disaster education to children after disasters."

Excerpt:

"The teacher based, resilience-focused intervention is a universal, cost-effective approach to enhance the preparedness of communities of children to mass trauma and to prevent the development of PTSD after exposure."

Excerpt:

"Early post‐disaster intervention addressing children and their educational milieu provides children with significant symptomatic reduction, allowing the mobilization of adaptive coping, thereby enhancing their overall functioning as observed in school."

Excerpt:

"Teachers can be instrumental in supporting children's recovery after trauma, but some work suggests that elementary school teachers are uncertain about their role and about what to do to assist children effectively after their students have been exposed to traumatic stressors. ....A multiple regression analysis showed that teachers' total scores depended on amount of teaching experience, attendance at trauma‐focused training, and the number of traumatized children they had worked with. The model explained 4% of the variance, a small effect. Because traumatic exposure in children is rather common, the findings point to a need to better understand what influences teachers' difficulties and develop trauma‐informed practice in elementary schools."

Excerpt:

"Exposure to war is associated with psychological disturbances, but ongoing communication between adolescents and teachers may contribute to adolescents' resilience. This study
examined the extent and nature of teacher - student communication on Social Network Sites (SNS) during the 2014 Israel-Gaza war....We conclude that SNS communication between teachers and students may provide students with easy access to human connections and emotional support, which is likely to contribute to adolescents' resilience in times of war."

Contact

For further information about Disastershock or joining the Disastershock Global Response Team, please email us:   

Dr. Brian Gerrard gerrardb@usfca.edu | Dr. Sue Linville Shaffer drsueshaffer@gmail.com.

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