We all like to say, “you never know what someone could be going through” when referring to our own family or friends. Have you ever applied that thought to your classroom? To the student who doesn’t seem to be focused? Or the student that’s late to class every day? Or the student who seems to not even care?
It is our responsibility to make sure we check up on students to know what is going on inside and outside of the school walls that could be affecting their learning. Students could be or could have been experiencing things that are considered traumatic.
What is trauma?
Trauma in students can stem from:
- Substance abuse in the house
- Parental separation or divorce
- Mental illness in the home
- Witnessing domestic violence
- Suicidal household member
- Death of a parent or loved one
- Parental incarceration
- Experience of abuse or neglect
Any of these kinds of things could be affecting how a child is behaving in school and can distract them from their learning.
What can teachers do?
“These children aren’t seeking attention. They are looking for a safe and trustworthy relationship.” (Souers, 2016)
All students respond differently to trauma. It is our jobs to support and create a relationship with the student and go the extra mile.
What we can do to create those relationships and help your students:
- Get to know your students; learn about their interests, their family, anything you think may be important in how you teach and interact with the students
- Listen to your students, even if they don’t have much to say, listen to everything they do.
- Create a judgement-free zone where students can be 100% themselves
- Try not to say things like “I understand what you’re going through” because more than likely, you do not and shouldn’t belittle your students
- Provide students with resources to things you think might help them in school and/or at home.
- Remain calm, cool and collected at all times
- Work with students one-on-one if they are falling behind or need extra help
- Ultimately just be there for your students, simply asking how they are doing should suffice!
Our goal as teachers is to foster resilience in all our students!
In this TedTalk, Charles Hunt talks about resilience can be built from trauma:
“To be the change we wish to see in the world, we need to be aware of our awareness, to hold within this place of knowing our own unfolding sense of being awake.” – Dan Siegel
Creating solid relationships with your students can be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding parts of teaching. To foster resilience in your classroom, connect with your students and allow for them to be themselves! @AnnMacKenzie #EDT432 #resilientlearners #scienceteaching
— Ms. Kopack (@k_kopack_sci) April 24, 2019