Resilient (adj): able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions

What do you think of when you hear the word “home“?

Your dog? Your parents? Your siblings? The smell of clean sheets? A homemade meal?

If this is the case, you are lucky. Not all children come from homes such as these, and we’re all going to have them in our classrooms. We, as teachers, need to create safe spaces for these children and make them “keep their heads in the game” at school. But how do we do this?

Resilience. The difference between these students being successful, and not.

In the book Fostering Resilient Learners by Kristin Souers and Pete Hall, we are brought into the lives of children with rough home lives, and learn how to create a trauma-sensitive classroom.

“…what happens outside school can have a profound effect on what happens in school,” (Souers, 2016).

So much is going on in a student’s life outside of school in today’s society. This is why it is so important to encourage our students to be resilient science learners.

How do we do this?

“We must validate and reconcile ourselves to our trauma history, yet we needn’t be governed by it,” (Souers, 2016).


  • Make sure your students understand that you are an important resource in their lives. You are there to help them, not to make their lives worse.
  • Understand that you can’t always relate to the trauma these students are living with, but will try your best to be there for them.
  • Realize that if students aren’t into a “learning mode” they simply won’t learn. Be sure the student realizes they are in a safe place when they are in your classroom.

  • Allow students to be openly expressive
  • Promote encouragement
  • Celebrate the positives
  • Stay calm and in control
  • Don’t publicly reprimand
    • Provide one-on-one feedback
  • Help students correct bad behaviors
  • Provide consistency
  • Ask how their day is going!

Here’s a short activity ideas to help students become more resilient learners:

  • Bring up the word “identity,” Make them feel like they BELONG there!!
    • Give each student the opportunity to share an “I am” statement with the class
      • “I am a daughter.” “I am brave.” “I am good at science.” etc.

Although the following video demonstrates a safe space for younger children, it could be modified to work with high schoolers:


High School Safe Space Ideas:

  • Provide calming music options
  • Provide a hands on element
  • Anything you think would provide students an outlet
  • Books/magazines

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