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Opposition or Anxiety?

The Teachers’ Lounge

Our students come from a variety of living situations and backgrounds we educators may not be privy to. Extreme poverty, domestic violence, abuse, transiency and homelessness are very common in the lives of some students. Undoubtedly, these students step into the classroom wearing the residue of whatever is going on in their lives.

Mercele Keels, a researcher and professor at the University of Chicago, has studied trauma in students for more than 20 years. Keels shared that hyperactivity related to anxious energy and hypoactivity, students’ inability to work up the energy to engage in the classroom, is frequently treated as disciplinary issues as opposed to mental health issues. Teachers should not carry all the blame for mistaking classroom outbursts as oppositional behavior, but should work to forge effective schoolhome relationships with parents so communication flows effectively.

For all students to be successful, their emotional needs must be met along with their social and academic needs. The frenetic timelines that teachers are mandated to follow make it difficult for caring teachers to attend to the deeper needs of students that must be addressed before authentic learning can occur.

 

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