In Special Education, we work with children who have a wide range of abilities, mental health needs, and social-emotional challenges. It is rewarding and exhausting, but we manage to make it through and do our best.
However, one of the most common struggles is being able to manage a class while a student is in crisis.
Not only can a child in crisis pose a danger to themselves, but they can also pose a danger to other students and us as teachers. How can we manage a class and continue to teach and create a safe space when we have children who require more intervention?
It’s not easy, but here are some teacher-tested tips for teaching while managing the crisis situation and attending to the needs of all of your students.
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Continuing to Teach While a Child is in Crisis
Oftentimes, when a student is in crisis in the classroom and posing a threat to others, the classroom is cleared and other students are removed from the area. In those instances, these ideas might work well to continue teaching.
Having a set of ready-to-go folders with activities and work is a great way to give your students the practice they need while they are removed from the crisis situation. The folders can contain various practice activities or even a weekly packet of work.
When you or your para are leaving the classroom, grab the To-Go Folders and take them with you. Storing them in an easy-to-carry bag, pouch, or bin by the classroom door makes it easy to grab and go.
If you have easy access to iPads or tablets that your students can use, grab them as you leave the classroom. There are many different types of digital activities and apps that you can use to practice skills and engage your learners outside of the classroom.
As with the To-Go Folders, it might be a good idea to store them close to the classroom door so you can easily take them with you.
Games have great teaching potential and they are a great way to engage all of your students. Keep a large tote bag by the classroom door with decks of cards, simple games that you’ve printed and laminated, and fun games like Yahtzee that are easy to transport but have great math potential.
Realizing Your Limitations
While the three ideas above are great ways to get your students focused on learning rather than the situation in the classroom, the reality is that it is a struggle to continue to teach while dealing with a child in crisis.
Whether you have a para in the classroom or not, the challenge is real and can be exhausting both mentally and physically.
Do your best, but do not be afraid to advocate for more help or reach out for support. Your health and well-being are just as important as the child’s and if you are not in a good spot mentally, you will not be of any use to any of your students.
How do you continue to teach when dealing with a student in crisis? Share your ideas with us below! We’d love to know how you do it!