Educators’ personal resilience in the context of disasters triggered by natural hazards: The case of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI)

Jendayi Edmeade, Christine N. Buzinde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Teachers are key agents in fostering community resilience given their role as educators, their influence on children's development, and their emotional support of children exposed to natural hazards-induced psychosocial impacts. Teacher training does not include the skills necessary for fostering adaptive capacity or cultivating personal resilience necessary for maintaining pedagogical practices during and post natural hazards. This paper explores the adaptive strategies teachers employ to develop personal resilience. In-depth interviews are conducted with secondary school teachers, residing in a natural hazards-prone community, namely the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). The findings indicate that reliance on social networks and the espousal of a narrative of recovery were vital adaptive strategies deployed by teachers. Their personal resilience was contingent on engagement with members of their social circles and it was also strengthened by the positive attitudes they espoused. The accounts from participants augment knowledge on the lived experiences of teachers and move beyond transactional views of this group (i.e., essential workers who help youth at point of trauma) to holistic frames of them as social beings with psychosocial needs and with the capacity to contribute to community narratives of empowerment and resilience. Further research on this relatively nascent dimension of disaster research is needed so as to provide further insights that can help inform the creation of mitigation related outreach programs. The current study is specific to the USVI, however the methods deployed can be replicated in the other vulnerable locations to better understand the role of teachers in mitigation efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102571
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Volume66
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Disasters
  • Educators
  • Natural hazards
  • Positive affect
  • Social capital
  • USVI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research
  • Geology

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