I’ve always loved this quote from Maya Angelou. Over the past several years, there’s been a lot of opportunities for learning about better ways to interact with our students. In the summer of 2017, several of us had the chance to learn from Jim Sporleder about the idea of Trauma-Informed Care based on the work he did in his school in Washington. Many of us walked away with new ideas about how we work with kids. Others of us may have seen the movie “Paper Tigers” documenting his work with trauma-informed schools. Last year, several teachers read the book Lost at School by Ross W. Greene, and it gave us more to think about. Last semester several of our teachers attended a training on Restorative Practices at the Peace Learning Center. We are currently working on a plan to be able to provide this training to all of our teachers. At the beginning of this school year, we did a training on de-escalation techniques. For the past 2 years, I have worked as a member of our district wide Trauma-Informed Team, where we have talked about ways to expand this knowledge. All of this learning has taught us new strategies for how to handle difficult situations with kids.
Some of you have heard about the concepts of trauma-informed care, and many of us have tried to implement strategies that we’ve learned through our various experiences to better support our kids. That said, there is a question that I continue to hear from time to time: “How do I know if this kid has trauma?” My response, more and more, is “Many times we won’t know.” But then I also wonder, does it matter?
Between what we have learned about Trauma-Informed Care, through Lost at School, Restorative Practices, and so much more, I’m beginning to think of these strategies not so much as something we do with “those kids” but more as something that we do with ALL KIDS because we know they work for everyone!
Let’s start thinking of all of these various new strategies not so much as something that we do with some kids or with the kids that need it, rather, these are strategies that we can use to support all kids because they work for all kids! Trauma-Informed should become part of our tier 1 process that we use with every child every day.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources:
- Ross Greene (author of Lost at School) – Collaborative & Proactive Solutions
- Heather T. Forbes – Teaching Trauma in the Classroom
- International Institute for Restorative Practices – Restorative Practices in Schools
So I’m curious, what have been your experiences? Have you tried using more trama-informed practices in your classroom? Or have you begun instituting proactive circles (sometimes called community circles) as a part of your learning about restorative practices? What have you noticed with your students? What works? What are you still struggling with? Share your thoughts in the comments below!