I am writing to give a great big THANK YOU! to all teachers. As we move into the Winter break, I'm so grateful to all of these incredible professionals. I think it's redundant at this point to talk about the craziness of 2020. But, my daughter's teachers, I'm so very impressed with the professionalism, flexibility, and efforts that I've seen from teachers this year.
As a Collaborative Divorce professional, I'm struck by how important teachers are to children when a family faces a divorce. Teachers are often a child's first line of defense when their family is disintegrating.
There is a great deal of information about how a divorce could impact a child's education. Much like any adverse childhood experience, divorce can have both immediate and long-term impacts. For example, divorce is related to emotional distraction, lower educational aspirations, grade repetition, and fewer post-secondary educational experiences. See, e.g., https://www.divorcemag.com/articles/8-ways-divorce-can-impact-a-childs-academic-pursuits. See also https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2817796/.
Ironically, though, especially for younger school-aged children, the school environment and the child's teacher are critical to helping children through a divorce for two primary reasons. First, the school provides a predictable structure for children. When going to school, generally, they know what their day is going to look like. This structure is crucial when the home lacks structure. Second, a skilled classroom teacher is going to recognize when a child is starting to struggle. The teacher may realize that a child is emotionally struggling before a parent – especially a distracted parent. The teacher may help identify resources for the family to help the child address emotional challenges.
Teachers exemplify the importance of building a strong support base for a child of divorce. I also firmly believe that the Collaborative Divorce Team is part of that base. The Divorce Coach will help the parents talk to each other about their child's struggles. And, if necessary, the team can include a Child Specialist. Together, all of the people in a child's life, the parents, the teacher, the specialist, can help a child get through the immediate divorce process and can help ensure a child's educational (and emotional) success into the future.
So, a heart-felt Thank You to our teachers and a Happy Holidays and New Year to all!