Congratulations, you have now completed the Tuesday Tips for Teachers series focused on trauma-informed practice and resilience.
We want to close by saying thank you. Many young people come to school in the K-12 system carrying heavy burdens. Some are facing an unexpected loss. Some of your students observed or experienced a serious, traumatic event. Some of your students are dealing with poverty and are worried about meeting basic needs. Some of your students are facing a serious health problem or are struggling with a mental health concern. While not all students present with a history of trauma, many are dealing with things at home or in their personal lives about which we as professionals are unaware.
The experience of trauma can impact a child’s capacity for learning. They may struggle to focus in the classroom. Some will have a hard time developing positive relationships with their peers. Some are quick to anger or cry easily because their emotions are so close to the surface. Others will appear disengaged as they try to cope through avoidance. Regardless of the outcome, these behaviors can be difficult to understand and manage in the classroom.
Having a trauma-informed approach to teaching means we understand that there are causes to these behaviors that may be outside of our control. It means we respond to the behavior without a sense of judgement. And, we do all of this from a position of hope. Although trauma can lead to unhealthy behaviors, we also know that children have the capacity for adaptation and growth. Neuroplasticity suggests new brain pathways can be formed and resilience reminds us that young people can overcome the challenges they face.
Your job as a teacher can be incredibly difficult. At the same time, it is invaluable. You are creating classrooms that are safe and nurturing. By doing this, you are providing the opportunity for growth and learning that your students so desperately need. You are often the first step in a child’s story of resilience.
Thank you for taking responsibility for cultivating the process of resilience in the next generation.
What you do matters!