A Phoenix Professor Tackles A Scary Subject With Facts And History

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – New information comes out of Ukraine every minute. Some teachers in the Valley believe it’s time to step in and teach students about war and counter any misinformation. The One Valley teacher we spoke to says she incorporates information about Ukraine into her curriculum. She says students come to class with questions and she felt it was her duty to address their concerns.

Katherine Thrailkill is a social studies teacher at Mountain View High School. She says her students have been fascinated by what is happening in Ukraine and want daily updates. “It actually sparked a lot of engagement in international relations,” Thrailkill said. “Even though I’m primarily a professor of American history, they were fascinated and wanted to learn more about the world.”

Thrailkill says she went about it in a factual way, showing her students a map and going through the history of the area. “I did it in a way where I asked my students if they had any questions and they all really wanted to know more. I think there is a fine line between fearmongering behavior as a teacher [and] actually just teaching the facts,” Thrailkill. “I think it’s important not to be alarmist and not stress children out or give them undue anxiety.”

It can be an overwhelming topic, but she says it’s important to let her students know that war is scary and that it’s okay to feel scared or sad. She says it is extremely important to talk about global issues because in some cases it affects us right here at home. “To deny them that knowledge of things that potentially affect our economy, gas prices, exports, those are things that I think it’s important for students to know, but I don’t think that means that you have to teach it in a way that causes undue anxiety or stress,” Thrailkill said. “I think pushing your agenda on students is different from listening to your students and informing them in a way they deserve.”

It is also important to address any misinformation or concerns that students may have seen online or on social media. “A few students asked me, ‘Am I going to be drafted? or ‘Should I be worried?’ or “Will we have a nuclear war?” and those are the things that I stopped very quickly. Not true. Our president didn’t say we’ll have boots on the court,” Thrailkill said. “Part of the teaching of any content, especially historical content, is that it is history. There are going to be negative things and we have to learn from them. but if we don’t teach it, how can we learn from it? And if it got to a point where they were mentally drained, or if I could tell it was hurting their emotional state at school, of course I would scale it down.

A psychiatrist also says it’s important to have these conversations with your children at home. “War may not affect children directly, but if they see anything on the news or hear about it, they should know that it is safe to talk to parents and guardians about what is happening to them. worried,” said Sutapa Dube. , said a child psychiatrist and associate professor at the University of Arizona. “The right moment is when a child expresses that he is worried. Now is the perfect time. I wouldn’t necessarily talk about it myself unless it’s something important to your family.

Dube says these conversations strengthen the family bond. She says that when parents are willing to have difficult conversations with children about scary things happening in the world, children feel safer to ask for help with future issues.

Jessica C. Bell