This informative article should be a resource that all teachers should read. It defines crisis response, a crisis response plan, provides identifiers of individuals that may have suffered a traumatic event, and explains what teachers can do in reaction to these events.
The article addresses a crisis as a change in the individual’s environment. Whatever the severity, it is likely that they see it as drastic if they are showing signs of regression. It is important to have a crisis response plan in order to react accordingly to the benefit of students. As an observer and teacher we must be open to the idea not only that trauma or crisis has already occurred, but that it is likely to occur at some point.
This article provides a point-form outline of potential behaviours that could mean they are suffering from some form of trauma. These include “regression in behaviour, increase fear and anxiety, decreased academic performance and concentration.” (Teacher Guidelines for Crisis Response, p. 97) It then goes further to describe what each of these mean. Where the article shows limitations in this section is the severity of each of these traits. These can be seen in students and adults in some degree at different times of the day/week. It would be beneficial to know how to differentiate the “normal” levels of these types of behaviours to those that need attention.
The article displays certain behaviours that are cause for attention in relation to age grouping. This would be an ideal reference for teachers to have handy at all times, and maybe seek attention when several of these behaviours are present. Furthermore, it identifies behaviour that would mean students should be referred to a higher level of care or attention such as counselling and individual assessment. As teachers, we may want to provide the best level of care for the students and that often means directing them to professionals. We are not experts in this field, but we should be aware of the signs of trauma and crisis.
What can teachers do?
This article explains the steps teachers can take in order to handle a crisis situation. Some key elements include discussing with other staff the course of events and to conduct oneself according to the permissions given by principals. It is important to assess ones self and to understand that teachers are role models. Teachers need to be facilitators and enable the discussion of feelings, and that the course of events can take time to digest. (Teacher Guidelines for Crisis Response, p. 100)
These tools are valuable for all teachers to protect themselves and their students. The lengthy reading provides insight to the details behind the important facts, yet it would not be a document to refer to in the event of a high-stress crisis. A redacted version of policies and procedures would be better in that case.