Before School Begins, Educate the Educators

Before School Begins, Educate the Educators

Posted by the T2 Public Affairs Office on August 27, 2017

Back-to-school season is an exciting time for kids. For many, it signals a fresh start — a new backpack, new clothes, new teachers, new friends, maybe even a new school. But the transition can also be difficult, particularly for students in military families.

This fall, many military kids will be going to a new school in a different state — or even country. The average military child moves six to nine times during his or her school-age years. And some students may also be coping with a parent’s deployment or combat injury. These relocations and situations can put a damper on all the back-to-school hype.

In a blog next month, we’ll discuss steps parents can take to help their children cope with the transition to a new school, a parent’s deployment, frequent moves and other military-related challenges. But you should also reach out to teachers and administrators at your child’s new school to make them aware of what military families like yours might be facing. There are many ways educators can support military children. But don’t assume the staff at your child’s school will know how. Talk to your child’s principal, teacher and guidance counselor. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools have a School Liaison Officer who can help identify barriers to academic success and come up with solutions. Be an advocate for your child and others in similar circumstances.

Where can you direct school personnel for educational resources? One excellent place is the Military Kids Connect website, hosted by the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2). The site’s educators track offers information for schools on how to support military children and understand the unique issues they face at home.

The educator portal includes:

  • Information on military culture. Topics include the deployment cycle and its emotional impact, as well as the strengths of military students.
  • Guidance on helping students cope with a parent’s deployment, injury or reintegration into the home. For example, children tend to react to a parent’s deployment in predictable ways; teachers can learn how to identify when a deployment is affecting classroom behavior.
  • Lesson plans on military life and world cultures that also can encourage support. For example, in one lesson, students learn how they can help a friend whose parent is deployed.
  • Videos of teachers and counselors offering advice on how to work with students from military families. Educators can watch the videos on their own or as part of in-service training.
  • Resource Guide with classroom activities, continuing education opportunities and networking sites for educators.

It’s up to parents to make sure teachers are aware that a military child will be in their classroom. Tell them about any special military-related circumstances at home. And set up a channel of communication so you can let teachers know about any issues that might come up. As one teacher in an MKC video said, “I let parents know I want to be informed if changes happen at home, so if I notice a change in the child in the classroom, I know why.”

Good educators want to be partners in your child’s development, and they should welcome your assistance. Don’t hesitate to take the first step.



 





 

 

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