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TXTS 4 Teachers

Supporting Students Experiencing Trauma

Kimberly St Clair

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Educators have noticed an increase in children who have difficulty concentrating, following directions, or working with others. Often, these children end up frustrated and act out. We are beginning to understand that many students who struggle in school are children who have either previously or currently are experiencing trauma.

Teachers can make all the difference when it comes to children impacted by trauma. To do so, teachers should be mindful of a few concepts. First, don’t take children’s behavior personally. They really are not trying to push your buttons; they are most likely distracted and worried about their situation at home. Second, do not minimize a child’s experience. When attempting to comfort a child about a current situation, a teacher may unintentionally project this single event “isn’t that bad” and miss the fact that most children of trauma are experiencing chronic, ongoing stressors.

Here are some simple strategies to support students experiencing trauma:

  1. Establish daily classroom routines to provide structure and predictability.

  2. Encourage children to set and achieve goals that allow them to feel success and a sense of control.

  3. Build in regular brain breaks throughout the day to help students recharge and stay focused on tasks.

To read more about trauma-informed strategies, please click this link.