By Jordan Upton
With 70% of children in foster care being of school age, what can teachers do to help?
There is a chance that teachers will not know if any of their students are in foster care or have been adopted, but there are general steps they can take to ensure the safety and happiness of each student in their classroom, regardless of their home life.
Normalize Foster Care and Adoption
Teachers can incorporate books and lessons that talk about foster care and adoption. Making students aware of different family arrangements and living situations can help any potential foster or adopted children feel more comfortable talking to their teachers, peers, and school administration.
Learn About Student Backgrounds
Learning about each student in the classroom can help teachers better meet each student’s individual needs. Many students who have been in foster care will experience learning difficulties from shuffling schools and missing too many days. Understanding the reasons behind each child’s difficulties can help teachers create better plans to engage these students.
Quickly building positive relationships with students can help them gain self-confidence and feel secure in your classroom. It will be helpful for students, especially those who have traumatic lives outside of school, to know that someone cares for them. Since teachers see their students five days a week, it is important for the students to have trust and respect for this important role model.
Become an Advocate
Some recommend that teachers become licensed foster parents to better understand what these students may be facing. Teachers who are licensed foster parents may be able to ease the transitions by fostering students from their school, so the students would not have to relocate and potentially fall behind. They could offer a sense of stability. If becoming a licensed foster parent is not possible, teachers could still advocate for training and education for all school personnel to be better equipped to deal with students in foster care and their specific needs.
5 Ways Teachers Can Help https://www.thornwell.org/5-ways-teachers-can-help-students-foster-care/
10 Ways Teachers Can Help http://redtri.com/10-ways-teachers-can-help-students-from-foster-care/slide/1