We’re in This Together


Nature Vs. Nurture

For a long time there has been the ongoing debate of nature versus nurture. It brings the questions of what naturally develops in a person and what develops as a result of the environment around them. I personally believe there is merit in both sides, but as an educator, what I have the opportunity to focus on the most is the nurture piece. I can make sure that the environment I set in my classroom is enriching and productive as students in my classroom learn and grow. I make sure that how I treat my students helps them know how to treat others. While I try to nurture students the best I can, there are a number of behaviors that I student brings into my classroom that are nurtured by experiences and environments outside of the school building.

“Their “nurture” has developed some unhealthy and nonproductive behaviors simply because they have needed to survive.”

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I know that there are very few situations that are easy throughout the foster and adoption process. A child has faced a lot of instability and broken trust. Many have experienced very unpleasant situations and suffer from the effects of trauma. Their “nurture” has developed some unhealthy and nonproductive behaviors simply because they have needed to survive. As a new family, you are learning how to recognize, adapt, and reteach some of those things. As your child’s teacher, I am experiencing those behaviors, unsure of the cause and unsure how to handle them.

Once again, this is where open discussion needs to come in between parents and teacher. Last week I shared about how teachers need to know a bit about the backstory of a foster or adopted child and the benefits that can bring. This week I go a step further. It is important to share the types of behaviors or struggles you child might show in the classroom.

One main reason for this is so the teacher can know what to expect. If I know what could possibly happen, I can prepare before it happens. Another reason for this is so that I can get your input on how to handle such behaviors. No one knows what your child needs better than you do. You know what can help escalated situations and what can cause them to get worse. I need your insight in to knowing what I can do to best help your child. As amazing as teachers are, there are many things we don’t know.

“None of us had any idea about what they year would bring, but we knew from the very beginning we were in it together.”

One year I had a student who exhibited behaviors resulting of trauma they had experienced growing up. The parents came in at the beginning of the year and gave us pieces of her backstory and what could possibly happen throughout the school year. None of us had any idea about what they year would bring, but we knew from the very beginning we were in it together. That was a very hard year for me and I learned a lot, but because of the ongoing dialogue between the parents and me, we were able to do the very best we could for that child. None of that would have happened without the relationship I was able to make with the parents. That was probably one of the best things I could have done to help this student.


Written by
She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Johnson University in Bible and Interdisciplinary Studies (Elementary Education K-6 and English as a Second Language K-12) in 2009. She went on to receive her Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Human Service Counseling: Marriage and Family in 2013. She has taught 4th grade in North Carolina and middle school English as a Second Language in Knoxville, TN. She passion is helping children and families become the very best they can possibly be. She believes deeply in the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”, and seeks to be a part of others’ village in order to help them reach their fullest potential. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and traveling to see her family.

What do you think?

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  1. It was so funny to read this today – someone just commented on how one of my adopted boys has my mannerisms – and it’s true…he DOES! He’s so my child. I think nature definitely has it’s place int he scheme of things but nurture is a pretty powerful thing, too. I am glad you linked up!

  2. It’s such an interesting discussion piece and something I think about often. I observe mannerisms, preferences, appearances…. It’s fun to notice these unique things about my kids. I love that my kids have these little bits of their birth family (nature) and these little bits of us (nurture) together to create some really awesome little people.

  3. I agree

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