Jun 27, 2017

More Tips to Create a Trauma Sensitive Classroom


This summer my school building is taking a deeper look into how trauma impacts learning and what we can do to support our students.  My last post was all about trauma.  Chapters 3-6 focus on our self-awareness.  These chapters remind us that in order to support the students and children around us, we need to take a look ourselves first.

Who Are You?
Kristin Souers says, "We are most likely to make mistakes or say things that we regret when we venture away from our sense of self."  How true this is.  When the pressure is really on (testing season, new policies, etc) or when a new student challenge arises, it is easy to "lose your cool" or react in a way that will be regretted.  I know that I have been there.  She goes on to explain the importance of knowing who you are and what you stand for.  Sticking to your true self will keep you grounded in the decisions that you make and how you deal with challenges.

I'll admit it.  I think I know who I am and what I stand for.  But I also know that I have never written it down and formulated a personal mission statement.  The author stresses the importance of this.  She poses some questions for us to ponder as we create mission statements.  I answered each one of them and discovered some key words or themes that I do not believe I would have originally placed in my mission statement; therefore, it proved to be a worthwhile activity for me.

I typed up the questions from Kristin Souers into a template so that I could edit, refine, and change my mission as I grow.  If you would like to try this activity, just click on the image below to download.

Mission Statement template for educators

Know Your Triggers

"Beware of Tornadoes."  I loved this heading within the chapter.  How true this is!  I'm sure we have all been sucked up into one a time or two.  Knowing our own triggers helps us to prevent twisters rather than just react to them.  And at the same time, we need to know our students.  What are their strengths? What are their fears? Knowing these answers can help us to be proactive rather than reactive when student challenges arise.  "If it's predictable, it's preventable."  This statement has great power.  What is predictable in your classroom?

Communication

Our words and our body movements has great power in a classroom.  The author reminds us that it can be difficult to not jump in and save a student when we have such empathy for the trauma that they have endured; however, it is imperative that we communicate our belief that they CAN do it.  Analyzing the way we speak to others is crucial.  Are we saying that they are capable or that they are not?  And Kristin points out, if we do communicate the later, how do we model a repair to that relationship with the student?  

Repair.  This was a huge take-away for me.  So many students may witness the fight, the blow-up, the anger.  But do they get to see the repair.  How is an explosion resolved?  How do you "clean up" after a tornado.  Personally, I have always felt that my own children need to witness my husband and I getting into an argument, but they also need to see how we resolve it.  If a student does not learn how to repair a relationship, then what message are they receiving?

So...do you have a mission statement in writing?  What are your thoughts on triggers and repair?

Em

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for bringing this back to the front of my mind. I will definitely use the template next week! Time for me to KNOW who I am and what I stand for.
    Alyce

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