Over the past year or so, I've been grappling with a shift from a medical model of trauma (you know, where teachers see images of brain scans and learn how trauma is so damaging) to a systems and assets view of trauma. In the new view, centering the brain-based model is super harmful. Even so, I struggled to dislodge the "child is damaged" paradigm from my mind. One pivotal moment in my journey of understanding came when I posted a raw and honest confession on Instagram. Keep reading to learn what happened and how you can embrace discomfort and critical conversations too!
The role of teachers in trauma-informed networks can be elusive. In this post, I consider how knowing the resources in your community can help you find your place in a trauma-informed network. We’ll look at the work of Alex Shevrin Venet on building bridges to resources, discuss how I built bridges in a residential treatment setting by understanding the roles of others in the organization, and consider how that might translate to a public school setting.
In trauma-informed networks, teachers may be unsure of their role. Teachers may think they are being asked to act as counselors. That’s simply not the case. Instead, teachers should strive to find their limits in a trauma-informed network. One way is by defining clear boundaries in relation to a) helping students manage their trauma, b) expectations for students in your classroom, and c) appropriate teacher-student interactions.
Students, particularly those affected by trauma, thrive with consistency and clear expectations from teachers. What’s more, teachers who hold clear boundaries are more likely to feel confident in their ability to support the academic success of trauma-affected youth. Knowing your limits and what should be expected of you in your role as a trauma-informed teacher can start by defining your own boundaries. Not sure where the boundaries should be? Read on to find out!
My name is Erin E. Silcox. I'm working on my Ph.D. in Literacy Education, focusing on the intersection of trauma and literacy. I want to deepen our base of knowledge about trauma-informed practices in schools and help teachers apply findings right now.