Becoming a Trauma-Informed Teacher
Becoming a trauma-informed teacher involves developing an understanding of trauma and its effects on students and using this knowledge to create a safe and supportive learning environment that promotes healing and resilience.
Here are some steps to becoming a trauma-informed teacher:
- Learn about Trauma: Educate yourself about the impact of trauma on students’ physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Understand the signs and symptoms of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and how they can affect behavior, learning, and relationships.
- Create a Safe and Supportive Classroom: Foster a positive and inclusive classroom environment that supports students’ emotional and social needs. Create routines and structures that provide consistency and predictability while using positive behavior strategies that promote self- regulation and coping skills.
- Build Relationships: Develop positive relationships with your students by creating a safe and trusting environment, showing empathy and respect, and providing opportunities for students to connect with one another and with you. Greeting students by name, listening to their concerns, and validating their feelings are simple ways to build trust with your students.
- Implement Trauma-Informed Practices: Use instructional practices that are sensitive to the needs of students who have experienced trauma, such as giving students a voice and providing choices, breaking tasks into smaller steps, using visual aids to support learning, and implementing restorative circles.
- Collaborate with Other Professionals: Work with other professionals (i.e., educators, school counselors, social workers, and psychologists) to support students who have experienced trauma. Collaborate with families and community members to help provide healing and support. Consider joining a trauma-informed school community or network to share ideas and learn from others.
- Practice Self-Care: Recognize the impact of trauma on your own well-being and practice self- care to maintain your own physical, emotional, and mental health. This can include engaging in self-care activities such as exercise, mindfulness, and seeking support from colleagues, friends, and family.
By implementing trauma-informed practices, building trusting relationships, and taking care of yourself, you can become a trauma-informed teacher who creates a safe and supportive learning environment for all students.
Below are additional resources on trauma-informed practices: