The beautiful thing about being a teacher is that you get to inspire children to grow up to become successful individuals. Most of their dreams are developed while they are in the classroom, talking with their friends and listening to your lessons. These students of yours look up to you for inspiration, which is why most of them may treat you as their second parents.
Being a pre-school teacher is not easy work. You need to become more sensitive to the needs of all your students. Your goal is not only to impart some knowledge to them but also to ensure that they feel happy and satisfied. As such, it is necessary for you to determine what is going on with their lives, especially when it comes to their families. Take note that some children may be suffering from child abuse and as a teacher, it is essential to deal with it the right way. Here are some steps to follow:
- Detect The Presence of Child Abuse Symptoms
Look for the signs of possible emotional, physical or verbal abuse. According to Eris Huemer, PsyD, “The easiest way to describe verbal abuse is verbal bullying that creates emotional pain and mental anguish in the person it’s being done to.” When it comes to emotional and verbal harm, the symptoms may not be easily visible unlike that of physical violence. The best thing that you could do is to pay attention to the child’s performance at school. If you can see someone uncooperative in your activities, then maybe he is having some trouble at home. At the same time, you may also want to check if that child has bruises or other physical indications that he has been abused.
- Approach The Child
There is no easy way to talk to an abused child. He may refuse to open up to you. According to Fran Walfish, PsyD, “Kids who’ve been abused may become mute, or refuse to speak.” Most of the time, he does not know how to react to the abuse that he is getting, especially if it comes from a parent. Because of this, it is essential that you find the perfect time to talk to the child. Do not approach him when he is surrounded by some of his friends, especially if they are having fun. Avoid embarrassing the young kid in front of his classmates or playmates.
- Make Him Feel Safe
Take note that this can be a painful moment for your students. Do not try to convince him to get over the situation because he cannot do it overnight. Abusive acts need to stop right away. What you have to do is to make him feel that he is safe. According to David Lawson, a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and licensed marriage and family therapist in Nacogdoches, Texas, “You’re trying to get them in a safe place if possible, or at least a predictable place.” Remind him that he can always count on you when the times get rough. Do not hesitate to offer possible ways wherein you can help. Try to get a daily update from the child by asking him about his emotions or thoughts.
Unfortunately, it is not recommended for you to talk to the parents right away. As much as possible, do not try to meddle with the family affairs of the child. However, if the situation has gotten worse, the best thing to do is to call the authorities. Report the abusive mother or father, so that the child can be saved. Just make sure to think of all the consequences of your actions before taking a step.