The teaching profession is continually challenged by long hours, strict curriculum requirements, and adapting to a neverending era of disruptions. In a recent survey conducted by UCLA, the results included teachers who reported students fearing for their livelihood and their families, while others expressed derogatory and racist views, according to NPR.
This national representative survey sampled 1,535 teachers from schools with demographics that reflect those of U.S schools as a whole. In addition, the study was completed after President Donald Trump arrived at the White House. Also, researchers from the UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access followed-up with post interviews by telephone.
The analysis included a number of key findings. Secondly, it reflects today’s polarized environment. Seventy-nine percent of teachers reported students who expressed concerns for their well-being and their families. Moreover, topics related to worries included immigration (in connection to the travel ban), LGBTQ restrictions, repeal of the Affordable Care Act, etc.
Elsewhere, 51 percent of teachers reported that students experience high levels of stress and anxiety. Even more, 44 percent of teachers reported that the student’s concerns affected their learning.
At the same time, the phenomenon around fake news was also included in the mix. With regards to false news, 41 percent of teachers reported that students were more likely than in previous years to introduce unfounded claims in class discussions. These invalid and not fact-checked claims made by students came from social media sources like Facebook, and talk radio.
Teachers can facilitate the discussion about false news reports by tackling the problem head-on and include fact-checking techniques. The International Baccalaureate (IB), non-profit educational foundation, touches on how to approach this complicated subject matter.
“We fall for fake news stories more easily when it corresponds to our own worldview and corroborates our biases. By encouraging open-mindedness and critical thinking, IB teachers and the IB curriculum are well positioned to make students more aware of this vulnerability.”
The LA Times coincidentally corroborated that “Tensions between racial groups wasn’t new, many teachers acknowledged, but some said students recently had been standing up in class and using racial epithets in a way they’d never seen before.”
Educators have a wide array of hurdles within the profession. Now, the profession has three more challenges, conforming to the Washington Post.
“Educators have three challenges in the era of Trump: to immediately denounce the hate and intimidation, to steadfastly engage the facts, and to insistently protect the right to learn.”
There is no easy answer on how to tackle concerns from students living in an extraordinary time of change. The responsibility lies more than ever on education, and teachers must meet the challenge once again.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Thompson/AP Images]