VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — "When you see these things unfold, you immediately think about what are the students thinking, what are their questions... do they know the historical context, do they know the reasons behind."
Such is the mind of an educator; events like Wednesday's break-in at the Capitol will eventually lead their minds to their students. This holds true for Virginia Wesleyan Assistant Political Science Professor Antia Schvenneka. Her goal: foster a comfortable environment suited to free discussion and expression, even if it oftentimes means keeping herself out of it.
"I'm very aware of the influence I could have on their opinion, not just shaping, but making them feel comfortable speaking up in class," says Schvenneka.
It's that same policy that Regent University Dean of School of Education Dr. Kurt Kreassig says primary education instructors should focus on in the wake of major events.
"Teachers must walk that tight rope of staying neutral," says Kreassig, a former teacher himself.
While staying neutral as students explore current events, Kreassig urges teachers to be anything but, when monitoring students' mental health.
"If there is an immediate change in behavior, if a student was vocal before and now is quiet and lethargic... pull them aside and have that conversation," says Kreassig.
No matter what is happening outside or inside the classroom, students come first for teachers across the country in the wake of a day like Wednesday.