Is a New Class Needed in all Teacher Education Preparatory Programs?

Mar 6, 2018 by

Photo by John Simitopoulos on Unsplash

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

While Columbine and Sandy Hook occurred many years ago, it seems that school shootings have increased rather than decreased, and the amount of stress, tension and anxiety in the schools has also increased. More and more parents are demanding that their children be safe in a secure environment. Teachers are concerned about their safety, and the safety of their students. Both students and teachers are upset about on-going “drills” to prepare all students and teachers in the event of some type of shooting or tragedy.

One comment that I hear from teachers who write and phone is that “schools should be a place of safety”. I do not think that any sane, rational, reasonable person would disagree with this statement. Yet children are apprehensive about coming to school, worried about a shooter, worried about these various drills and they obviously hear a lot about mentally ill individuals who have guns. Note I say mentally ill individuals who have guns. I do not say guns that are being held by people with mental illness.

Abraham Maslow was a famous psychologist many years ago who wrote about basic needs. Children need to have their basic needs met. They need water, food, clothing, and they need to feel safe. Most children probably feel safe in their homes- but I am not sure how many children feel very safe in their schools- be they elementary, middle school, or high school.

Perhaps it is time for teacher education programs to add another class to the curriculum. Students are often anxious, tense, nervous and upset when hearing about school shootings. The overarching concern is “ could this happen here”. Indeed, one of the teachers who died in the Florida shooting prepared his wife as to what to say if there was a shooting. He may have had some type of premonition, who knows.

However, teachers need to be able to respond to student fears, anxieties and concerns regarding school shootings. It is not known how well the average teacher is able to respond to student apprehensions and how well the average teacher can help students after a drill when they voice their fears and comment about their concerns.

Should all teacher training programs include perhaps even a one credit course addressing these issues? Or are all these national certification programs oblivious to the fears, tears and concerns of teachers and pupils? One can only wonder.

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