Blood sport for all- a backdrop to teaching

I was a Reception class teacher at the time of 9/11. The realisation the next morning of the extent to which some of my class had been affected is fresh in my memory as is the work we did to give them opportunities to talk and provide them with reassurance. Since then I have always stressed geographical distance when discussing distressing news items with children but that response is becoming increasingly ineffective because social media gives children a sense of immediacy in time and place. As the video of the appalling murder of two journalists spreads across the world, once again issues of appropriate reaction arise for parents, teachers, siblings and even communities. The need for thoughts and prayers for the victims is clear but we also need to consider the impact on us. Teachers returning to school will be working with young children who have witnessed a murder. The full spectrum from totally unaffected to deeply traumatised will be present in children and therefore the response needs to be sensitive and based on the relationships of key people (real not virtual) in children’s lives. As teachers develop their relationships with classes they take on the role of a key person in the lives of children. It has always been the case but as the world has changed, the demands keep increasing. Just as pornography is now the experience of every child rather than the 20% of a generation ago so now snuff movies are in the mainstream.  The impact on some children is devastating and it will be teachers and parents who pick up the pieces.  Teachers won’t receive any thanks or acknowledgement for this aspect of the job- to do so might require politicians to address some difficult and complex issues. 

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