GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — North Carolina A&T State University educators are working to prepare resilient teachers following the elementary school shooting that killed 21 people in Uvalde, Texas.
“How do you prepare for events as tragic as these?” asked Gerrelyn Patterson, who chairs the Department of Educator Preparation.
She explained educators plan to work with the counseling program to help teachers navigate trauma.
“We don’t pretend these things don’t impact us…and we provide our students with strategies to take care of themselves. I think the biggest piece is not going on as it’s business as usual,” Patterson said Friday.
When classes are in session, special meetings help create an open dialogue and sense of community among future teachers.
“Typically, we have ‘majors meetings,’ so just student meetings where we discuss topics that are of interest to us as educators but also things that may be happening in the world and how we might be filtering that information from a teaching perspective,” she said. “One of the things we pride ourselves on in the College of Education is making sure that we are preparing teachers for the full experience of what it means to be in the classroom. So when events happen like these, we call special sessions.”
Patterson said the university does not provide mass casualty or physical training as part of teachers’ curriculum.
“Most teachers would get that kind of preparation while they’re working in the schools with their clinical educator. So whatever training the teachers are getting in the schools, the preservice teachers would be participating in those as well,” she said.
Despite recent tragedy, she said future teachers are committed to their classrooms.
“The conversations I’m hearing now are, ‘We’re needed now more than ever, and that we are eliciting support from our communities now more than ever,” Patterson said.
The University of North Carolina Greensboro officials are working with Guilford County Schools on a plan to provide summer trauma training for administrators and staff.