M. Daniel, D. Harwell, B. Green-burn

The University of West Alabama (UNITED STATES)
A single case study was conducted to describe the experiences and needs of teachers who received into their classroom one or more students displaced by a critical incident, Hurricane Katrina. Using a focus group and 10 interviews with typology analysis, this study examined how teachers perceived their ability to meet the needs of displaced students and collected recommendations for better preparation for such situations. For triangulation purposes, a quantitative survey was implemented. For the survey, a random sample was drawn from a single district population of elementary teachers who had in class at least one student displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Results of the survey (66% response rate) indicated no differences based on grade level taught or teacher educational level. However, teachers with fewer than five years of experience showed significantly less teacher self-efficacy. Typology analysis evidenced that most of the teachers were confident and emotionally stable but knew little about the district crisis management plan. Typology analysis also indicated teacher perception of student crisis reactions: detachment, ineffective coping, poor academic performance, and behavioral issues. The findings contain implications for social change in that they demonstrated need for a plan to assist teachers in meeting the needs of critical incident students and a need to provide teachers with appropriate professional development.