Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Teachers struggle to prepare for needs of Syrian refugee children

Best practices, sustainable plans, connect services, make a difference.
Teachers do not choose their students. They are assigned a group of children and must create a classroom community from these individuals from varied backgrounds and experiences every school year.

Administrators are the ones who need to be educated.

Over my 25-year career (spanning JK to gr. 8), I have sheltered children who were victims of violence, who lived in foster care and/or group homes, who fled Vietnam, who ran into the hills to feel gunfire during The Gulf War, children whose mothers were drug addicts and were in the custody of fathers, children whose uncles were suicide bombers 'defending our people' as they said, there is no difference.

I had an opportunity to learn from children whose religion, culture and traditions were different from my own. It enriched my life.
  • You take them in, welcome them, accept them and assure them that they are safe now. 
  • You listen. 
  • You fight for their right to feel safe in the classroom community, in the school and in the larger community. 
  • You advocate for them. 
  •  You protect them from racism and/or bullying in your classroom community, and teach them how to handle such. 
  • You educate them on life in Canada; sometimes this includes their parents. 
  • You give them the tools to cope in their new world. 
  • You help them integrate into the school by appointing mentors. 
  •  You learn about their culture and traditions to better understand them. 
  • You help them find their joy. 
  •  You help them laugh and feel loved.
These children bring a wealth of experience to Canada. They are survivors. They are to be loved, not feared.

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