Helping Those Kids

Have you ever had a room full of kids and wondered why their work varies so dramatically amongst them? Has there ever been that one kid that really struggles to perform at the level you want? Maybe has behavioral problems in class? Have you ever considered why that might be?

As a teacher, you need to consider other factors in a student’s life that could be impacting them outside of the classroom.


Image result for trauma sensitive classroom

You never know what could be going on a child’s life and need to remember that when they enter the classroom. There could be many factors that could make it more difficult for children to learn and could be distracting them. These could include:

  • divorced parents
  • witnessing domestic violence
  • substance abuse in the home
  • parental incarceration
  • mental illness in the home
  • death of a loved one
  • and the list could go on…

So what’s the point?

The point is that these children will be in your classroom and you need to be sensitive to the trauma they have faced.

What can I do?

There are a few easy steps to help those students that may be having a hard time.

“In times of crisis and conflict, effective communication is vital…Healthy communication is difficult to navigate with just our own defenses are triggers. Add in our students’ experiences of trauma, trust issues, and past letdowns, and the challenge is magnified significantly.” (Souers, 2016).

To help communicate with these students in the most effective and worthwhile way, try these steps: Image result for helping students trauma

  1. Listen
  2. Reassure
  3. Validate
  4. Respond
  5. Repair
  6. Resolve


Another specific strategy to try to help your students is by introducing the concept of the “upstairs brain” and “downstairs brain”. This refers to when a kid is doing okay and they are in their “upstairs” brain and allows for higher cognitive function, while sometimes someone might be in survival mode and not be able to access that higher functioning.

If a child can identify what brain they’re using that day or at that moment, it will be easier for both you and them to have a meaningful and productive interaction.


This Ted Talk discusses how being resilient in life has saved this man from the trauma of his childhood and important messages he has learned.


If you’re a teacher and you are not trying to foster resiliency in your students, you’re doing it all wrong.



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