I’m writing a Continued Professional Development Course (CPD) supporting parents, children & families, and the people who work with them around divorce.
Supporting pupils who are going through a divorce requires a thoughtful and sensitive approach.
Here are some tips and advice for teachers to navigate this situation:
Maintain an open line of communication with the pupil’s parents. Encourage them to share relevant information about the divorce process and any changes that may affect the child’s behaviour or emotional well-being.
Create a Safe Environment:
Foster a safe & supportive classroom environment where pupils feel comfortable expressing their feelings & concerns. Let them know that it’s okay to talk about their emotions.
Show empathy & understanding towards the pupil’s situation. Offer a listening ear & validate their feelings without judgment.
Routine and Consistency:
Consistency can provide a sense of stability during uncertain times. Stick to a predictable classroom routine to help the pupil feel secure.
Offer clear instructions & expectations, as well as a structured daily schedule. Predictability can help alleviate anxiety.
Offer Distraction & Engagement:
Engage the pupil in positive and enjoyable classroom activities to provide a distraction from their worries.
Respect the pupil’s privacy & avoid discussing their family situation in front of the class or with other students.
Empower Peer Support:
Encourage a culture of kindness & empathy among classmates. Teach pupils to be understanding & supportive of their peer who is going through a divorce.
Guidance Counsellor Involvement:
Collaborate with the school’s guidance counsellor to ensure that the pupil is receiving the emotional support they need.
Understand that the pupil’s emotional state may impact their ability to complete assignments & homework. Offer flexibility when possible & work with the pupil to accommodate their needs.
Provide opportunities for the pupil to express themselves creatively through art, writing, or other forms of self-expression.
Educate yourself about the potential effects of divorce on children’s behaviour and emotions. This knowledge will help you respond appropriately to any changes you observe.
Regularly check in with the pupil to see how they’re feeling and if they need any additional support.
Notify Other Teachers:
If the pupil has multiple teachers, consider communicating with them to ensure a consistent and supportive approach across classes.
If you notice significant changes in the student’s behaviour or well-being, consider involving the school counsellor or recommending external support resources.
Understand that the pupil’s emotional journey may have ups and downs. Be patient and continue offering your support.
Remember, your role as a teacher can have a significant positive impact on a pupil’s well-being during a challenging time like divorce.
By creating a caring and understanding classroom environment, you can contribute to the pupil’s emotional resilience and academic success.