Last Saturday Lynne Traina and Jay Billy organized EdCamp Trauma-Informed Care. I was super interested in attending because I know little to nothing about this subject. To prepare myself and those who knew nothing about Trauma-Informed Care I asked Alex Shevrin Venet where I should start off if I wanted to learn. Alex sent me this link which was absolute gold! It had everything I needed to facilitate Trauma-Informed Care for Dummies! The conversations were fantastic!!
Specifically, this video by Jacob Ham is a fantastic way to learn and understand why it is so important that we understand what our students who are experiencing trauma brain is doing. This image really stuck out for me. The calf is only able to play so freely because it knows they are safe and secure with all the elephants protecting it.
The second session was facilitated by a parent in the district. The basic premise was how can parents establish relationships with the staff and advocate for their child without becoming shut out or looked at as a “problem parent”. We talked about how teachers have to balance the idea of not putting too much of themselves out there where a parent can use what they say or do against while simultaneously keeping their heart open to doing what is best for that child and their family. I know from personal experience that parents can turn on teachers and one day you are the best thing since the remote control and the next day you are the worst thing next to nuclear waste. Regardless of how many times I have been burnt I will still keep my heart and class open. It is not fair to the other parents that I bring the baggage from past experiences and lay it on them. Parents do have to understand though why teachers are guarded. Our livelihoods are important to us and our families as well. We can’t just start over in another district without financial and social repercussions. It is a balancing act for sure.
That session had lots of tears and a very open and honest conversations. One other idea that came up is the “bubble child”. These children aren’t classified and aren’t high flyers. They may end up slipping through the cracks if we are not careful. Amanda Fry also brought up a great point that I & RS can still help students that aren’t classified. This is something that both parents and teachers should keep in mind.
The final session I attended was titled, “Should Race Be an Aces Score?”. All day race and Trauma-Informed Care seemed separated. The question of the session was can white teachers use Trauma-Informed Care if they are not actively working to be anti-racist. While the conversation was slightly male-dominated it was still extraordinary. We discussed everything from how to right the system to what can we do tomorrow to change things. In short, you can not say you use Trauma-Informed Care if you are actively harming the students in your classroom. This means we need to understand the history of the country and that it was built and continues to operate within a racist system. Here is a great article that explains more about historical Trauma and its’ impact that is felt today.
The day was a major success for me. I knew nothing and left knowing more than nothing. Thanks to Jay Billy, Lynne Traina, and the Lawrence Township School District for hosting the conference. I have so much more to learn about Trauma-Informed Care and I am confident I have found the right people to learn with and from.
Thank-you for sharing. I just spent my weekend on the same topic. I think we as PE teachers are very fortunate that we can build relationships and create an environment where anyone can thrive. Our role in helping students who have experiences trauma succeed is monumental and I’m glad that we are being more aware together. I didn’t feel as if I learned anything knew but it was a streamlined approach to understanding some of our most difficult students.
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