The Thai Cave Rescue: Implications for Teacher Education?

Lynn ZimmermannBy Lynn Zimmerman
Associate Editor
Editor, Teacher Education

The plight and rescue of the 12 boys and their coach from the cave in Thailand shows us once again that being an educator requires more than the enjoyment of working with children and loving the subject you teach. When you look at what an educator might face when working with students, inside and outside the classroom, it becomes evident that teachers, coaches, and school administrators do much more than teach and are expected to play many roles that they may not anticipate and may not be prepared for.

Coach Ekkapol Chantawong with some of his young players.

They may have to comfort a child whose pet died. They have to report signs of child abuse. They have to keep track of their charges when on field trips. They may even have to protect their students from an active shooter on campus. Not every educator wants to fill all these roles. Not every educator can fill these roles. However, when you are the “adult in the room,” what choice do you have? Children’s parents expect and trust that their children will be safe with an educator. The soccer coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, was trusted by the parents of the children in his charge to do the right thing, to protect them until they could be rescued.

There will be many opinions expressed and many questions asked in the coming days about this incident. However, let’s focus on teacher training. How does a teacher training program prepare teachers to handle a variety of situations, including life-threatening ones? Or should they? How do you know the teacher candidates you are preparing could step up if called upon to do so? Should they be expected to? What other resources do teachers need to handle crises, large and small? Let us know what you think.

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