Support Students by Supporting Teachers

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. It has been observed in the US since 1953, and became an official national holiday in 1980. The importance of teachers and their jobs is widely acknowledged. However, many professionals in the field have struggled to find support and resources. This inhibits their ability to provide the optimal learning environment for the children they teach. In recent years, the turnover rate for teachers has become increasingly problematic, as the state of public education has suffered. In turn, teachers suffer as well. This negative impact consequently affects children, as teachers function at levels far beyond instructional in the lives of many of their students.

Teachers are Vital Mandated Reporters

Because teachers interact with children on a consistent basis, they are critical mandated reporters for children suffering from maltreatment in their home life. Millions of children are referred to Child Protective Services every year. Professionals whose jobs require interaction with children on a regular basis report about 3/5 of the child maltreatment cases. Of these professionals, those in education (including teachers, counselors, and administrators), account for the highest number of reports, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. These statistics reinforce the importance of providing teachers with ongoing training and support in regards to identifying and approaching potential cases of child maltreatment. Statistics from the pandemic further reinforce the critical role of teachers in identifying child maltreatment. 


COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on countless aspects of society. Unfortunately, child maltreatment is not an exception. According to a study from the Journal of Human Resources, the number of reported instances of child maltreatment dropped when schools closed in 2020. However, the concerns regarding child maltreatment prevalence became higher. This is a result of children being forced to stay home and being cut off from access to educators. To further illustrate the toll of the pandemic, researchers noted that investigated reports for 5-year-old children is up to 10% higher for those enrolled in kindergarten than those who are not. The same researchers estimated that 5,500 to 8,000 reports of child maltreatment were missed due to the pandemic. While this data is devastating, it clarifies the importance of properly equipping teachers with tools to identify signs of maltreatment. It also clarifies the importance of children having access to these teachers. 

Teachers Need Help

Studies have shown that teachers make a difference in the success of students. However, in order to effectively make a positive impact, teachers need the resources and support required to do their job adequately. Unfortunately, many teachers do not feel they have adequate support and training on the subject of child maltreatment. The turnover rate for teachers has increased, with the stress and working conditions affecting retention. It is imperative for districts to address this issue, in order to provide a meaningful environment for both students and teachers. Providing support through professional development, and allowing teachers the space to be innovative are just a couple of ways administrators can help teachers. By helping and supporting teachers, we can in turn help and support the children they teach.


At STM Learning, we publish texts for educational purposes. To explore our library, visit our bookstore. We have several educators that contribute to our publications, and we want to take this moment to thank you for everything you do.

For more resources on how to support the educators in your life, visit the NEA.

This blog was written by STM Learning’s editorial staff for educational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific medical or legal advice. For expert information on the discussed subjects, please refer to STM Learning’s publications.


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