Joyce Dorado & Vicki Zakrzewski How to Help a Traumatized Child in the Classroom resonated with me greatly. In my personal life and in previous classes I have not been shy to express my dislike of children and of teaching them. HOWEVER! Children are innocent, and their job until they become adults is to [safely] experience life and find the path they wish to pursue. (and now the sad part) traumatic experiences in the developmental years of children are moments that will scar especially ones occurring at home, the place your suppose to be safe.
Dorado & Zakzewski speak on Complex Trauma [repeated & prolonged exposure to traumatic situations especially in care-giving situations] and make such an impactful analogy of a vinyl record with a scratch running deeper than its grooves. This analogy goes deeper than that paragraph delves. A scratch in record is essentially permanent. Like scars, whether mental or physical, they are ever present. The only difference is children can heal with proper resources and the guiding hand of others. Which leads into my favorite part of this article.
Strategies for teachers
I cant express how relieved I was when I saw this section. Many articles will bring an issue to light, make a call to action, and seldom give advice on how to do so, even on how to begin! But this one actually had advice on what to do! I love it! i wont go into complete detail on all of them, just the three I feel are the most most most most most important.
- Recognition: being able to recognize when a student will enter a “survival mode” fight or flight. Recognizing the signs of it is important to intervene before things get worse. This will also create a trust between educator and student.
- Praise publicly and criticize privately: The way I felt this section in the deepest core of my soul. I’ve had teachers call me out for poor work in middle and high school and the shame and embarrassment that surged through me was unholy. So nurturing these children and doing exactly what the title says.
- Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself.
how can educators ever begin to help students if they themselves haven’t healed from trauma. You cant save someone from drowning if your 6 feet underwater. Dorado & Zakzewski link an incredible article which speak on this more thoroughly.
The Body Keeps Score
Oh boy does it ever. The section given of this book elucidated the grasp trauma has on our memories. on page 177 it mentioned a case study of WWII soldiers recalling memories. The soldiers without them altered memories given in early statements while the ones who suffered PTSD did not. Trauma having such roots in our psyche that not even time can warp it. On the very next page it states “the more adrenalin you secrete, the more precise your memory will be” to a point. A breaking point.
Small Trauma Dump
I’ve dealt with loss, violence, betrayal, etc. and unfortunately (for me) I’m a very reserved person. I internalize a lot of things, keep them close to the chest. I always hold back on sharing personal strife, probably has something to do with my childhood. (Thanks Freud, somehow this is your fault. lets not delve too far into it. seems more like a conversation for therapy ) what got me out of this maelstrom in my high school years was High school English teacher Mrs.DiSarro. Her classroom door was always open to her students, we were free to borrow books from her Bookshelves. She even figured out I wanted to study English before I had told anyone, when I was helping my classmates with the interpretation of colors in the texts we were reading. One of her classrooms “Do Now” was to write about the daily prompt in a composition notebook and hand it in after class. It was my favorite part of the Part of my dreadful school days. I felt such an appreciation for her I even made a wooden bathroom pass for her classroom, [hope she still has it]. Just having an educator make a safe space for you to be in, to relax, to escape to heal.