What you do depends on your comfort level and the nature of your class: whether it’s more or less social, whether kids are more or less familiar with each other, what topics you usually cover in class, and what topics you have expertise in.
Here are some quick tips to open class if you are teaching older children, a topic related to government or civics, or have a classroom topic that deals with processing emotions:
- Leave a space at the beginning of class to ask how everyone is doing. This can be just a few minutes.
- Acknowledge that yesterday’s news and events may have been difficult for some people.
- Avoid inserting your own opinions.
- If there is a conversation, let it be student-led and act as a facilitator.
- If things get heavy, encourage learners to talk to their parents or other trusted adults in their lives about their feelings.
- Some kids will enjoy having a space to take a break from the news to focus on your class’s topic.
Further resources to read or share with others:
- When Bad Things Happen from Teaching Tolerance
- How to talk to your kids about the breach at the U.S. Capitol (this includes some great advice about the PEARLS of wisdom method)
- Responding to the Insurrection at the US Capitol from Facing History and Ourselves
- Peaceful Transitions from The Bill of Rights Institute (special thanks to teacher Jennifer Hughes for sharing)
To that end, don’t forget about yourself! Your mental and physical health is vital to your showing up as an educator. While we ask you to cancel classes with advance notice, if you’re feeling particularly rattled, take the space you need to be the best teacher you can be.
At Outschool, our goal is to stand for learners and support them. We’ll do this together, no matter what happens. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.