You are responsible, as a teacher, for reporting any suspicions of student trauma or maltreatment. Are you sure what to look for? Keep reading to learn how to pick up on some of the more subtle signs of trauma in your students.
A Word About the Signs of Trauma
As with any human behavior, the signs of trauma can be both obvious and subtle. Each individual's response to trauma is unique. Importantly, these "signs" may or may not actually mean that someone is experiencing or has experienced trauma. Regardless, knowing what to look for in your students can help you keep them safe.
Whether obvious or subtle, signs of trauma typically emerge from two basic sources. One is that students with histories of trauma typically have attachment issues. Another is the need of many trauma-affected students to feel in control of their situation. Lack of control in other parts of their lives may cause them to overcompensate in your classroom.
Subtle Signs of Trauma
With a life of hyper-vigilance, insecurity with food and possessions, and a lack of control, trauma-affected students may have outward signs of their adverse experiences. As a teacher, if you see students who are overly dependent or fixated on others, who seek attention in negative ways, or who struggle with issues related to material objects, consider researching what the next steps are by looking up your state's statutes related to reporting.
Here's the video that inspired this post.
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.