The world is a heavy place right now. With wars raging in Ukraine, Israel, and multiple other places dotted across the globe, there is a lot to process. There is also a lot out there throughout the media to sift through, some facts being truthful and some unfortunately not.
How do we talk to our students about these heartbreaking events going on right now? Especially in a day and age where teachers can easily be attacked for what is said in the classroom.
Teach your students how to find factual sources. No need to lead them to specific news websites or bring up current events if it’s not on the schedule. But in almost every classroom, a lesson on how to find and cite factual sources is relevant. Help them to decipher the information on their own, if their parents allow.
Remind your students that they are safe. Allow them to use your classroom as a safe space emotionally and remind them of all the safety protocols around your school that keep it physically safe as well.
Just listen. Sometimes, human beings don’t need someone else to pass facts and opinions back and forth. Not everyone is out there looking for a debate. Sometimes, people just need a listening ear. No words are needed, just validating feelings and thoughts and turning into a listening ear.
Stick to facts. If the topic of wars, presidential elections, or something else comes up in your classroom, stick to the facts. There is a time and place for debate and opinions, but to stay on the safe side, the classroom is not this place. Stick to facts when students have worries or questions, and refer them to school counselors when and if needed.
We as humans need the time and space to process everything going on around us. It seems as if every day there is something new going on to add to our worry list. But as teachers, we can put on a strong face and support our students who have heavy hearts and are struggling during this time.
What other tips would you add to this list?