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ERIC Number: EJ909029
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-0018-1498
"I Had to Teach Hard": Traumatic Conditions and Teachers in Post-Katrina Classrooms
High School Journal, v94 n1 p28-39 Fall 2010
Before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005, one hundred and twenty one schools in the New Orleans Public Schools (NOPS) system were in the process of being transferred to the newly created, state run Recovery School District (RSD). On September 29, 2005, the New Orleans Parish School Board fired all 7500 employees, including every teacher. If the change in school leadership and the historical neglect that precipitated the changes were not enough, the disaster brought another layer of crises that would confront teachers as they tried to resume educating the returning students to the public schools. This research study examines the instructional practices of teachers following the disaster and explores the role written literacies played in their instructional adaptations. In this two-year study, the evidence revealed that a disaster event required teachers to make specific changes in disciplinary content and instructional practice. All the teachers acknowledged that teaching after Katrina's devastation brought unexpected challenges to the classroom. As one teacher stated, "I had to teach hard. I worked harder that semester than I have in my [whole] teaching career" (Personal Communication, August, 2006). Teachers found instruction after the disaster to be "hard"; teachers not only had to cope with their personal stresses but also had to manage unstable environmental conditions, changes in adolescent behavior, and school disciplinary changes that occurred during the recovery process. For the English Language Arts teachers, oral story telling and written narrative tasks became important tools for coping with the challenges. (Contains 1 footnote.)
University of North Carolina Press. 116 South Boundary Street, P.O. Box 2288, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2288. Tel: 800-848-6224; Tel: 919-966-7449; Fax: 919-962-2704; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana