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Metro Teacher Training Emphasizes Social Issues

Posted at 8:46 PM, Jul 19, 2016

Metro Nashville Public Schools held training for the district's 500 new teachers, talking about those intangible skills outside the textbook needed for helping students learn.

With just over two weeks before the first day of school, NewsChannel 5 got a behind-the-scenes look at the training grounds for new teachers and the new strategy they have been learning.

Metro's teacher academy was held for the district's 500 new teachers like Shoshannah Smith, who will teach 2nd grade.

"I just  really wanted to give back to the community I live in and I heard really good things about Metro Schools," Smith said.

The lesson plan Tuesday wasn't about building lessons - it was about how to do everything else.

"Many of our students have stressful or even traumatic situations that they're involved in," said Katie Cour, MNPS Director of Talent and Strategy. 

Officials said 70 percent of kids in Metro Schools live below the poverty line, and life outside of school will affects kids within school walls.

"They're not just dealing with poverty issues," one presenter said. "They're going to be dealing with grief and loss. They're going to be dealing with other home issues."

Teachers have to do so much more than teach. That's why part of their lesson plan is how to build stronger relationships with their students

"They need to be aware of the unique needs of each student so they can meet the student where they are before they even start the learning process," Cour said.

A poverty simulation put teachers in the shoes of parents, kids or new immigrants. They learned how to deal with hunger, violence, and the lack of regular items like a car.

"This was actually super helpful for me just to understand how to handle those situations and what those children are going through at home," Smith said.

Because teaching is about more than just school lessons.

"We don't just want to grow the kids academically, it's all about helping them become better people," said new MNPS 4th grade teacher Anson Amour.

The teachers know the life of a child is in their hands.

Teachers also learned how to sort through the vast system of social workers, truancy specialists and behavior analysts with the district. That way they know who to call when they need help.