School-aged foster children are going to spend just as much time at school as they do at their foster homes. This puts teachers in a very unique position to support these children in special ways. Here are three ways that teachers can be a part of the foster child’s support system.
Prepare the Class
The modern classroom has all kinds of family situations already represented. It is probably not hard for children to understand the nature of foster care. Educating the class on foster care prior to the arrival of the foster child can help smooth the transition into the classroom. This level of understanding from the classmates can help the foster child feel more secure and welcomed in the new environment.
Be Understanding and Patient
Foster children can carry a lot of trauma and baggage with them into the classroom. It is crucial the teacher understands this and is understanding, patient, and consistent. Know that trust is not something easily earned between adults and foster children. The teacher needs to learn as much as possible about the child’s background and his or her unique situation. This can shed a lot of light on how the child acts in certain situations. Also, know that foster children can change schools quite often as they move homes. This can leave quite a number of gaps in their education. Assess where the child is academically and create a plan to help him or her perform the best way possible.
Be a role model and advocate for the foster child. Remember that most children have very few adult role models in their lives. This already puts them at a disadvantage. Being a teacher is especially unique because you see the child eight hours a day, five days a week. Use encouraging words and live a life worth respecting. And since the teacher spends so much time with the foster child, she is the perfect advocate for that child in social and academic settings.
Support the Foster Parents
Foster parents have a lot on their plates. Teachers can be a crucial part of the support team so desperately needed. Teachers can guide the parents in how to close the gaps in the child’s education. Offering out of class tutoring can also be a huge help for already overwhelmed parents. Finally, understand that the foster parents don’t have the whole picture of the child’s past. This can make discipline for in-class behavior issues difficult at home. Foster parents shouldn’t be held responsible for what goes on at school. In short, be as understanding, supportive, and encouraging as possible
Learn More About How Teachers Can Support the Foster Child
Do you want to learn more about your place in the foster care system? Please, don’t hesitate to contact us.