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Sage Alliance Blog Post



An Educator’s Role When Tragedy Strikes

sa an educators role social and inner

A classroom is a child’s home away from home—they should feel safe there. When tragedy 
strikes, their world feels more unpredictable which causes anxiety on top of the grief that they 
are feeling. Although there is no textbook answer on what to say in the aftermath of traumatic 
events, here are some guidelines developed by the Child Mind Institute that may help you in the 
right direction. 

1. Recognize the Loss 

The loss may be felt most intensely in the classroom if the loss of life was that of a teacher or 
student, which can cause the students to feel very uncomfortable. It’s important to acknowledge 
the loss. 

2. Let Them Have Time to Talk 

Students are more likely to feel comfortable talking to an adult they know than a stranger such 
as a crisis expert. Listening to the kids’ thoughts, feelings, and concerns is the best thing that 
you can do for them in a time like this. 

3. Encourage Them to Ask Questions 

Have group discussions and encourage them to open-up about their questions and concerns. 

4. Respond to Safety Concerns 

It’s important to reassure the students of the safety measures taken by the school and their 
parents/guardians to make sure that they are protected. 

5. Get Back into a Routine 

Practicing the regular routines can be very comforting to the students. 

6. Memorialize the Loss 

To memorialize the loss, the students can write stories about their memories with that person, 
draw pictures, or any number of healthy ways to remember the loss of their friend. 

7. Be their Role Model 

The students are constantly learning and modeling your behavior, especially in times of tragedy. 

It is difficult to know exactly how to respond when tragedy strikes, but sometimes just being 
there for someone is enough. Be sure to teach your students resilience, compassion, and 
strength when they need it most. Although it seems impossible, “this too shall pass”. 

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