For every teacher, a new school year means new students, new opportunities, and new challenges. Countless factors go into teaching a group of students (major respect for the awesome teachers out there), but have you considered how much a child’s past can affect his or her learning experience?
While projects like bring a baby picture day and family trees might seem innocent enough, for adopted children these projects are a reminder of the time before they came to their forever family.
Every teacher we know wants to create an environment where each child blossoms, so we have some tips to help you do just that.
1) Use positive adoption language. Using terms like ‘real’ or ‘actual’ when referring to the biological parents is offensive. For more help on the proper language to use, ask the parents or an adoption agency in your home town. You can also check out our blog post about positive adoption language.
2) Get to know your kids. Send a questionnaire home with the kids asking the parents important questions. Ask for any background information that might prohibit your student’s learning. This way you will know if certain projects are best for the entire class. Also, by knowing the child’s background, you can watch for occasions that may be unsettling for the child, like being asked asked a personal question or being teased by other kids.
3) Have alternative projects ready. If you need to do a family tree project, offer substitutes for the children with non traditional families. For example, these children can do a roots and branches tree with the biological family as the roots and the adoptive family as the branches with the child as the trunk. The same tree can be done for children of divorce. Another great option is the about me box, where children put in pictures and things that show who they are as a person.
4) Invite adoptive parents and adoptees to speak with your class about adoption. The idea of adoption can be developed within the classroom from the perspective of people who have experienced it. You could also invited workers from a local adoption agency to speak with the class.
We hope these tips help you in your classroom. If you’re looking for a speaker for your class or group on adoption, please contact us at 662-842-6752. We’ll help you find someone in your area to share the story of adoption.