TULSA, Okla. — Union teachers are getting ready for the first week of school.
In addition to setting up classrooms, for the first time they're also prepared to address social and emotional needs on campus.
"Just the way you approach students, try to make that connection, make them feel safe, make sure they know your classroom is a place where they can thrive and that they are going to be loved in our classrooms and that goes a long way," 7th grade geography teacher Brendan Jarvis said.
Teachers tell 2 Works for you at Union, many students who walk through the door are facing trauma at home, and that can impact their work in the classroom.
"I think it's very important that the district is shifting in this direction because we are seeing more and more students that are coming in and struggling with a host of different things but the core issue is that mental health aspect," 7th grade geography teacher Titus Schmitt said.
It's Schmitt's first time with his own class. The geography teacher said he feels better equipped after learning about things like trauma.
"Kids, when they come into your classroom, the way that they react to you isn't always a direct result from the way you treated them or what you're teaching them. It's usually just a result of their home life," Schmitt said.
Educators said now instead of asking questions like "what's wrong with you" they'll instead re-frame with "what happened to you." The goal is to make students comfortable and build trust.
"Your basic needs need to be met first before you can really excel. That's something our schools are focusing on now more and more and it's crucial," Jarvis said.
Teachers said the conversation about mental health in schools is a growing topic in districts across Green Country.
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