Teachers as First Responders
What Teachers Do to Help Migrant Children and Their Families Deal with the Trauma They Experience
While there is much in the press about refugee and migrant children’s movements around the world and their status in the countries where they ultimately (or even temporarily) settle, how these children experience schooling and education is critical in mitigating the effects of the trauma they experience in their home countries, in the process of leaving their home communities or countries, in traveling to their new communities and countries and getting settled in those new communities and countries. This paper presents the stories of three teachers who work with migrant children in the United States Midwest. Interviews with these teachers show that they actively work to mitigate the trauma the migrant children have experienced by creating classrooms that welcome the children and their families, help them to have a sense of belonging in their schools and communities, and help the children develop feelings of confidence and competence, critical to overcoming toxic stress.
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