Learning Through the Eyes of the Abused

     Domestic violence is a huge factor that many teachers have to think about on several occasions during their teaching career. Domestic violence can and most likely is when the males in the home are the abusers, but some female abusers are prevalent. Abuse can affect a child in many ways depending on the circumstances. A child may be a bystander when abuse happens to another person or that child may be the one who is being abused. Over 3 million children are at risk of exposure to parental violence each year (Carlson, 1984). Children from homes where domestic violence occurs are physically or sexually abused and/or seriously neglected. This is an important topic to cover with teachers because they are the people who spend the most time with students besides the parents. They can see the warning signs and help the child in their time of need. Teachers will most likely be disclosed to by an abused child and it is important for the teacher to know and understand how to handle that situation if and when the time comes.

      At the emerging conference I attended a session called C.A.R.E which was a session about being prepared when a student may disclose abuse to you. This session also looked at the warning signs when abuse may be happening and how it may affect the students learning. This is an important topic for teachers to address in their career and maybe even get the proper training to deal with situations that may arise. Dealing with students who have been having issues in their home can be a tricky thing to deal with but it is something that teachers will have to deal with. The relationship between teachers and students is the greatest thing outside of the home and the support teachers can give their students will play a tremendous impact on their learning.

     These issues tie in with the adaptive dimension and differentiation when thinking about how teachers can adapt their learning and their teaching setting in order to accommodate all students, including the ones who may need more support because their home life is struggling. Students who have been abused are also more susceptive to having learning disabilities that can be addressed as well. When we have talked about adaptive dimensions and modifications as well as differentiation, most of the time, we are told about learning styles and capabilities of the students. A lot of the time, we miss the factors that abuse victims may show in their learning as ways to adapt their learning.4

      As a future educator, I worry about how I will adapt my teaching in order to be sensitive to students who may show warning signs of abuse. I also question myself about how I will deal with situations when it arises. I would like to prepare myself to see the warning signs of my students who may be dealing with abuse in their home and I want to be prepared to deal with the situation. I would like to learn more about what I can do to help my students feel safe and know that they can approach me at any time with their problems, without singling out anyone. I want to learn to balance my attention to all my students but also understand how to address issues in the whole classroom so my students feel comfortable and trust me to hear them. I would also like to learn about a variety of resources that I can use; besides the C.A.R.E kit, in order to teach my students about abuse and how to get help.

     As stated above, 3 million children are at risk each year of some sort of domestic violence and/or abuse and these children will most likely pass through our classrooms and I feel like I need to be prepared for when it happens. I want to investigate the issues deeper and create a compilation of resources that I can teach myself with and prepare myself to help my students in any way possible.

 Carlson, B. E. (1984). Children’s observations of interpersonal violence. In A. R. Edwards (Ed.), Battered women and their families (pp. 147-167). New York: Springer.

Link to Red Cross Respect Ed program website

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