Spring 2021 Dialogue

Welcome to our current dialogue.

We ask that you post an initial response to one or more of these questions from March 8th-12th. Then, please respond to at least two posts to generate dialogues across contexts and experience. The dialogue period will be from March 8th-26th.

Recommended readings

Dutro, E. (2017). Let’s start with heartbreak: The perilous potential of trauma in literacy. Language Arts94(5), 326.

Golden, N. (2020). The Importance of Narrative: Moving Towards Sociocultural Understandings of Trauma-Informed Praxis. Occasional Paper Series2020(43), 7.

Jones, S., & Spector, K. (2017). Becoming unstuck: Racism and misogyny as traumas diffused in the ordinary. Language Arts94(5), 302.

Simmons, D. (2020). If we aren’t addressing racism, we aren’t addressing trauma. ASCD In-Service.

Simmons, D. (2020). Confronting inequality/The Trauma we don’t see. ASCD In-Service.

Suggested Dialogue Questions

  • How did the authors define trauma? What did you learn about trauma-informed teaching practices in literacy classrooms and/or in schools? 

  • What is the intersection between trauma informed instruction and anti-racism?  In what ways does using trauma informed instruction help us to create anti-racist educational spaces for our students? 

  • What connections did you make to the articles, as a teacher and/or student? What questions do you have?

You are invited to respond to one or more of these questions. (To post, please log in using a Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress account.) Please feel free to share experiences, dilemmas, questions, or information about particular contexts of teaching and learning (e.g., where you student teach, teach, study, or participant observe) as you explore intersections between trauma-informed teaching and anti-racist teaching. You may also feel free to recommend or cite texts (e.g., articles, books, films) that may be of interest to others on a thread.

 

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  1. Let’s Start With Heartbreak – The Perilous Potential of Trauma in Literacy:
    Dutro (2017) defined trauma as hurt, loss, pain, despair, violence, or human suffering. Trauma experiences can serve as evidence of damage that requires healing and may remain bound tightly to the cognitive development of children. Trauma-informed reached is beneficial to those students who may have been labeled as a “bad kid” but are really just a victim of their environments or situations. All children have a background and that background should be considered in the classroom, especially with behaviors exhibited. Dutro (2017) explained that urban youth of color are twice as likely as soldiers returning from Iraq to suffer from PTSD. This is a fact that should be taken seriously. Teachers should be creating a space for students to understand and develop narratives about their own trauma as well as historical trauma in order to form multiple perspectives and have a clearer understanding of their entangled histories and the world (Dutro, 2017). Literacy classrooms should pay special attention to the writings of students. Children have stories, but not all stories need help from a separate source (Dutro, 2017). In fact, pushing help on some might create more harm than good. As teachers, we have to be concerned with what is trauma, for whom, and what it does in classrooms. We can do that by leading with our own difficult stories to show vulnerability. Showing our own vulnerability will create trust and allow students to feel safe telling their stories.

    Importance of Narrative: Moving Towards Sociocultural Understanding of Trauma-Informed Praxis:
    I really enjoyed this article and learning about a trauma-informed school. Trauma-informed schools are prepared for suicidal students, abused students, runaways, and many other narratives (Golden, 2020). These students were often considered the “bad kids” at their regular schools. Trauma-informed schools understand that every student has a deeper story and look at the why instead of just considering them a bad kid. Golden (2020) states that 40% of U.S. students experience trauma in some way! That is almost half of our children in America. As teachers, we must help regulate these kids’ emotions since their reaction to trauma differs. In a trauma-informed school, teachers strive to understand how their interactions with youth affect other systems. They must connect to the student’s experiences to broaden their understanding and develop relationships.

    Becoming Unstuck: Racism and Misogyny as Traumas Diffused in the Ordinary:
    Jones and Spector (2017) describe their Playhouse as a safe place for kids to come after school. The community is mixed between black and brown students. The Playhouse is a trauma-informed facility that creates spaces for children to learn from each other without racism. These kids have all dealt with some form of trauma, based on the definitions we learned from Dutro (2017) and Golden (2020). The teacher lets the children figure out their emotions without stepping in too soon, in hopes of not creating more trauma. Had she intervened, Asher and Alexandra may not have had the opportunity to expand their ongoing understanding of racism, misogyny, and how to help each other respond. Asher and Alexandra were able to bridge a gap between the potential racism in their community by healing – which is explained as becoming unstuck (Jones & Spector, 2017). I was surprised to hear about Alexandra being weighed at school! As an adult, being called obese by a doctor during a yearly checkup is traumatic. I can’t imagine how that type of situation affects a child.

    If We Aren’t Addressing Racism, We Aren’t Addressing Trauma:
    Simmons (2020a) talks about how black students experience trauma when they hear about things happening to black people, whether related to their individual lives or not. Incidences like the George Floyd killing cause black people to feel inferior and inhumane. Because of this, teachers must acknowledge and address racism as a part of their trauma work. Teachers have to commit to being anti-racists. They have to talk about racism and create environments where students are able to share their feelings freely. Racism in America is a part of trauma for our youth.

    Confronting Inequity / The Trauma We Don’t See:
    Traumas of our childhood can stick with us for the rest of our lives if not addressed adequately. Simmons (2020b) describes living in an unsafe neighborhood as a child and is still healing from it as a successful adult. These are the traumas we don’t see! Trauma changes the biomarkers and brain structure in young people (Simmons, 2020b). This can result in violent behavior, suicidal tendencies, drug abuse health conditions, and lower productivity as adults. Though Simmons experienced trauma as a child, she does not exhibit any of the typical signs of trauma like others. We must recognize that trauma does not manifest the same in everyone.

    I can relate to this article in many ways. Even though I incurred trauma as a young student, most didn’t see it on the outside. I feel like my experiences will be helpful in the classroom when it comes to understanding students and their possible traumas in relation to how they react to situations. All of this points right back to one of the first things we learned during this class – creating relationships with our students is the most important step when starting the school year (Koch, 2019).

    References:

    Dutro, E. (2017). Let’s Start with Heartbreak – The Perilous Potential of Trauma in Literacy. Language Arts – Research and Policy, 94(5), 326–336. https://elearn.apsu.edu/d2l/le/content/8504643/viewContent/72353758/View

    Golden, N. (2020). The Importance of Narrative: Moving Towards Sociocultural Understandings of Trauma-Informed Praxis. Occasional Paper Series, 2020(43). Retrieved from https://educate.bankstreet.edu/occasional-paper-series/vol2020/iss43/7

    Jones, S., & Spector, K. (2017). Becoming Unstuck: Racism and Misogyny as Traumas Diffused in the Ordinary. Language Arts, 94(5), 302–312. https://about.jstor.org.termsKoch, J. (2019).

    Teach: Introduction to Education (4th ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc.

    Simmons, D. (2020a). Confronting Inequity / The Trauma We Don’t See. Educational Leadership, 77(8), 88–89. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may20/vol77/num08/The-Trauma-We-Don’t-See.aspx

    Simmons, D. (2020b, June 5). If we aren’t addressing racism, we aren’t addressing trauma. Educational Leadership. https://elearn.apsu.edu/d2l/le/content/8504643/viewContent/72353756/View

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  2. Hello! My name is Cassidy, and I am a student teacher in MA. I believe that the intersection between trauma-informed instruction and anti-racism has to do with the need for a safe space for students and the idea of upholding a “humanizing pedagogy” like the articles mention. In order to create an anti-racist educational space, teachers must create clear boundaries while forming an open/comfortable learning environment. By both making it clear about what is not condoned (mostly in regards to how we treat each other) while forming that bond with our students, not only does it create an anti-racist educational space, but it also gives that safe space for students. Both are about forming relationships to create that open space, which allows students to open up and possibly share anything that is negatively affecting them. By viewing trauma-informed instruction and creating an anti-racist classroom as using a humanizing pedagogy, we are grounding our classroom on relationships with others who may have faced similar hardships. We are learning from one another while informing/educating each other in both trauma-informed instruction and when creating an anti-racist learning environment.

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    • Greetings to all who are passionate of Justice in Education that are taking part of this thread. My Name is Galen Cherry and I am a Graduate Research Assistant for the MAT program within the Erickson College of Education at Austin Peay State University In Clarksville Tennessee. I stand proud to be working on alongside my professor and consider it an honor to stand along side my piers to fight against the cruelty of racial injustice, and social inequality. What we have all come together for is the common sentiment we share, which is to gradually bring deterioration to the fabric of systemic inequity, which is founded upon the hideousness of colonization, and extended norms of in justice amongst people of color. I am Happy to say that this is a recent occurrence in my life and I feel as if I am born again with a new found purpose, fueled by the anger of others’ undeserved anguish. Of course I knew of the dismay, the violence, the inhumane nature of the whites towards those of color, however only until now, there have been newly discussed matters on policies, and now being a masters student, it has been dropped in my lap and now I will devote myself to it. Social Justice is now my determination and I will make it my goal to implement aspects of trauma-informed instruction within my curriculum as a teacher. I felt deeply connected to every article, as there needs to be more and more of these which state the happenings of cruelty, but there just needs to be less happenings for the love of God. Defeating racism and tearing down the structure of systemic injustice has to be taken with ferocity and seriousness. At all levels, those who plan on doing so should be committed for the rest of their lives, never retire from it until racism exists no more. There are those of us that say, racism will never die, it exists everywhere on the planet, and It is not just whites against people of color, its Northern Asians against Southern Asians, its the Palestinians and the Israelites, and the Turkish with the Iranians. These are all common talking points that can turn a discussion bad very quickly. It is important that those of us who are helping to fight against systemic racial inequality, are all educated and stand upon the grounds of Unity, with a passion for educating individuals that can grow up in a society that they will not have to suffer from the trauma in which they are put through, indirectly or directly. I wanted to take the time to let everyone of you know that I will support this matter through and through, and never put down the fight. Once Im glad to work with those who have found the importance in this and are now specialists, because mine is new found. Thankyou

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    • Hey Cassidy. My name is Kyle and I am a part of the teaching program at Cal State Long Beach. I was reading your post and I just want to say that I agree with you that there is an intersection between trauma informed instruction and anti-racism that someone as a teacher needs to be aware of when it comes to creating a safe learning environment for there students. I also find what was said about creating an open space for the students to be interesting as I feel that if a teacher is able to gain a student’s trust and create an environment where they feel safe then that teacher has succeeded in creating that open space for a student to open up or share any issues that are affecting them.

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    • Cassidy,
      I really enjoyed reading your post. You made some great points throughout. One thing that stuck out to me in which we share similar beliefs is that teachers must create boundaries that are clear, however, teachers must still form an open environment. These boundaries are extremely important when it comes to creating an anti racist space. It is critical for all students to feel important and comfortable in school. We as teachers have the opportunity to make this happen for students.

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    • Hi Cassidy, my name is Teddy. I am currently enrolled in a single-subject credential program at California State Long Beach for Physical Education. I am impressed with how you advocate your issue in regards to addressing trauma in students. I support your school of thought that there is a need to create a safe space for students to articulate their issues honestly and openly. A free space creates a comfortable environment for the traumatized individual to communicate their issues trauma. Educators should actively participate in developing policies against racism in learning institutions. Creating platforms for students of color to share feelings and atrocities will help devise policies that mitigate students’ trauma. As a passionate and advocate for equity in our learning institution, addressing institutionalized racial discrimination is imperative in creating serene and fair platforms where students can compete on a fairground regardless of their race. The creation of open platforms enables the learners to articulate their fears in regards to traumatizing situations.

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  3. Hello! My name is Amanda and I am a student teacher in MA. When working in a room full of students, I think it is important to get to know them. If you learn their mannerisms, you can quickly figure out if they are having a good day or a bad day. Sometimes those bad days can be made worse by teachers who don’t seem to care. Students might not have anyone to talk to about their issues but if we show that we care and understand them, they may be more inclined to talk to you about things. Dena Simmons talked about the “overachievers” who put all their energy into school or work like she did. I think the best way to follow what she suggested in regards to developing anti-racist mindsets and pedagogies is to make clear expectations in your classroom. Look at your students as kids or teenagers, NOT their race. Create a safe space within the classroom where rules of conducting yourself are followed every single day. Don’t allow things to slide because it “happened just this once.”

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    • Hey Amanda. My name is Kyle and I am a part of the teaching program at Cal State Long Beach. I was reading your post and I just want to say that I agree with you that as at teacher one should get to know their students. By understanding them, you can then gain a better understanding of how they are feeling during a class, and that is something that is important as having a teacher that doesn’t just ignore them when they are troubled is something that I feel can help them, especially if they don’t need to say anything as they may feel like they shouldn’t bother others if they are having a bad day. Overall, what you have written here is something that I feel other teacher-hopefuls should consider when it comes to their students.

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    • Hi Amanda! My name is Lauren and I am enrolled in the teaching credential program at CSU Long Beach. I completely agree with you that we as teachers should get to know and connect with our students. I have many of the same beliefs as you that a classroom should be a safe space for students to be seen as an individual and not a race. I think it is very important for students to know that they have a place that they can feel comfortable and let their guard down where no one will judge them. I hope that all teachers in the future can have the same mindset as you do! Your students will be lucky to have you!

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    • Hi Amanda! Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am currently in the Teaching Credential Program in Long Beach, CA. It is great to hear from teachers in the field and to learn from your perspective. It is also amazing to hear that similar pedagogies are being used across the country. Understanding and illustrating that you care about your students is crucial to be an effective teacher. I also found the statement you made, “Look at your students as kids or teenagers, NOT their race,” to be a compelling message. ALL students can succeed and overachieve in our classrooms if we give them a safe space and the tools to do so.

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    • Amanda, I agree that when working with students it is important to get to know them. I do not have any prior experience teaching however I do have experience working in a small group setting with high school students. At first, I did not know the students well from there likes, dislikes, ect. However, after spending time with them I learned quite a bit about them and I was able to engage better with them over times. Creating safe places with students and getting to know them is something that takes time, but in the end it is important for students to have those spaces.

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    • Hi Amanda, my name is Susie and I am in the Single Subject Credential Program at CSU Long Beach. I enjoyed reading your post and I agree with you. We can quickly start noticing our students behaviors and when something is off or they need some space. It is important to not give them such a hard time, and give them that space and time that they need. It is vital to create a space where students feel comfortable and safe and as future teachers we should strive for that.

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  4. Hello! My name is Rikki Bowen and I am a Graduate student at Austin Peay State University, seeking my masters in Secondary Education. I believe anti-racism is a conscious and active effort to work against racial hatred and biases. The intersection between anti-racism and trauma informed instruction is building critical skills like self-awareness, empathy, and an openness to teamwork and cooperation to create a safe and supportive environment for our students to confront racism and the resulting trauma from it. As stated in Simmons (2020a), we must first identify the problem and then begin working to create a solution that does not retraumatize the student. In doing so, we need to help the students identify and analyze racial biases and help them to confront an issue when it arises. To create anti-racist educational spaces for our students, we must have that one-on-one connection with our students. This requires the work between counselors, teachers, parents, and other trusted adults to help guide students through short and long-term challenges.

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    • Hello Rikki. My name is Cristina and I am a CSU Long Beach Single Subject Teaching Credential student. I read your post and I agree with you that as educators, we must be consciously and actively anti-racist. We must work toward creating a classroom environment that is safe and welcoming to for our students. We must also take time to get to know our students so that we may be able to make connections with them and build trust. I also like how you mention that this is something that not only we, the teachers must strive for but school counselors and parents should as well to help our students. Thank you for your insight.

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    • Hi Rikki. My name is Lauren and I am in the teaching credential program at CSU Long Beach. I definitely agree and like the point you made that anti racism and trauma informed instruction builds critical skills like self awareness, empathy, etc. I believe those are crucial qualities to have as educators because we need to connect with our students and make them feel as though they have a comfortable space to share their experiences and worries. I also like that you pointed out that we need to work with the support systems in our students lives to help them face the challenges they will endure because I believe that is the best way for the students to thrive both in and out of the classroom. Good luck in your program!

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    • Hey, Rikki, I agree one of the things I want to do as a teacher is incorporate more group work into the classroom; there was a lot of individual work, which I liked, but I think adding more variety to the classroom environment would benefit everyone. Also, we should be very self-aware as educators and try and set an example for students to follow, I think modeling behavior can be beneficial for students.

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    • Hi Rikki my name is Manuel and I am a student at CSU Long Beach. I love when you see that we need to be self-aware, have empathy and to be open. In order to create an environment that is safe and productive we must try to understand where the students are coming from. It is vital for us as teachers to be conscious of the things we say and topics that may come up in class that might bring trauma back into the light for a particular student. I based my teaching philosophy on creating important connections with the students. I agree with you when you say that its important to create connections with students in order to create an anti racist educational space. By connecting with students, they begin to feel more comfortable and safe in your classroom. This will lead to important discussions in the class where the students feel comfortable sharing their inputs because of how well they connected with you as a teacher.

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    • Hello Rikki! My name is Crystal and I am in the CSU Long Beach teaching credential program. I resonate with your ideas on having the one-on-one connection with our students. As an English teacher, I aim to have a welcoming environment that teaches students on how we are all different, but we accept one another. I want my students to know their experiences matter and that their voices are heard. I plan to have lesson plans where it will bring diversity to the class and have my students analyze and identity racial biases, just like you mentioned. Lastly, I can see myself having daily check-ins with my students, being available for them during breaks and after school, and having weekly meetings to discuss about their goals, progress, or simply just being there for them as a human. My ultimate goal is to have a human connection with my students and for them to know that they can trust me. Like you said, I will work with the school and my colleagues to be the best teachers we can be for our students. Thank you for sharing you ideas with us!

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  5. Hello! My name is Emely Costa, and I am an undergraduate student at Framingham State University in Massachusetts. I am currently a student teaching in MA. As a Latina woman, I connected with many of the issues the articles brought up. During my primary, intermediate, and secondary school years, “I learned about white scholars, white inventors, white ideas, and white theories” (Simmons). People that looked like me were never described in the literature I read in school or the media. If we were, it was always done in a negative way, such as being in gangs or involved with drugs. Similar to what many minorities have to go through. It was not until my years in college I read books where I could connect with the characters because they had similar stories as I did; therefore, as a teacher, I strive to fight for more diversity within the curriculum. We need our students of color represented in important novels, and they need to recognize that their stories matter too.

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    • Hello Emely,

      I really identify with your response as being a Latina woman myself. Throughout my education, I can recall my learning being based on the dominant culture. It was not until I got to highschool and took Spanish courses that I was introduced to new material that connected to my own culture, and in college I took Chicano/a studies courses. I agree with you that as educators we should strive to provide our students with a diverse curriculum because it will give them the opportunity to make connections and also learn about the people around them. I also agree with you that representation matters in education and we need to ensure that every student can feel appreciated and recognized.

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    • Hello Emely, what a powerful testimony you have shared. I have looked into the response students have when the curriculum ties in with their cultural background, and I believe this is a good way to engage with all students. All students must understand that their stories matter, and it is up to teachers to make these changes.

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    • Hello Emely, my name is Rikki Bowen and I am a graduate student at Austin Peay State University. I too understand the difficulties of being a minority and being stereotyped since I am half black. It was not until taking this graduate class that has assigned this homework assignment where I truly felt a connection to what I was learning. It’s eye opening that after 26 years of my life I felt like I was learning about everyone else and did not know where I fit in. Being half black and half white I feel most people dont see the struggle of having to always choose which side you are or held up to a standard that you have to act like one or the other. As a teacher we need to create content that connects with our students to make sure they never felt that way we did.

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    • Hello Emely! My name is Crystal and I am in the CSU Long Beach teaching credential program. I find what you said to be very powerful. When I was in high school, I cannot recall reading any stories or books from ethnic writers. Just like you said, when we learn about minority groups it was always shown in a negative light or how they are all born in poverty. We never get to see or hear about minority groups succeeding, they were always portrayed as farmers or labor and factory workers. These stereotypes can be very detrimental to someone’s life, especially a student’s. As an English teacher, I want to make sure I bring in stories that uplifts a culture, identity, or marginalized group. Having my students relate, learn, analyze, and identify with the stories is a strong goal of mine. Like you mentioned, our students experiences and voices should matter. I will fight for more diversity in the class to show my students they are accepted and wanted. Ultimately, all of my students should feel represented, welcomed, and appreciated. Thank you for sharing your ideas with all of us!

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  6. Hello all! My name is Kate, and I am a student teacher studying at Framingham State University in Massachusetts. I found Noah Golden’s take on the framing of trauma to be quite compelling. I agree that it is problematic when the problem of trauma is located in the student, rather than “grounded in environmental understandings of trauma, its cause, and its effects.” We, as educators, need to understand our positioning within a student’s broader experience, and the role we play in their environment.

    There are certainly steps all teachers can take to help ensure that we are filling a supportive role within the student’s ecology. Something as small as letting students take breaks can play a key role in helping to create a more supportive environment.

    There are things that are not within our immediate power to change, but I think that in addition to providing support within the classroom, teachers are uniquely positioned to be advocates for policies and laws that can greatly reduce environmental trauma. Within schools, we can advocate for widespread culturally relevant teaching, and we can take our knowledge of how issues like systemic racism affect students and use it to push for social change.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts!

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    • Hello Kate! Congrats on making it to the student teacher portion, I am 45 hours into my education program! I also chose Noah Golden’s writing to reflect on. I like how you brought in the high point of the writing, said your own side, and even game an example to use in the classroom! I agree that teachers are advocates for a lot of things. Great post, I feel like I can take a lot from it to use in the future.

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    • Hi Kate! Nice Work.
      I agree that as teachers, we must be aware of the role we play in our students’ environments. We as teachers, our classrooms, and schools should not be people/spaces that add on to our students’ traumatic experiences. To avoid this, we need to take the time to get to know all of our students. I believe that classrooms are political spaces, and it is our responsibility to be aware of the policies that will benefit our students and schools. As teachers, we should be strong advocates for social change.

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    • Hi Kate, I hope you are well. My name is Teddy, and I am currently enrolled in a single-subject credential program at California State Long Beach for Physical Education. I agree with your take on how best we can address trauma by creating policies in various learning institutions’ capacities. Policies that address the primary roof of trauma will prove effective in addressing trauma among students. Indeed, trauma affects their general well-being since tempers with their mental structure, limiting comprehension levels. Without clear policies, students undergoing unrecognized trauma suffer the most. The internally manifested trauma presents more implications on the affected persons, unlike those who open up their atrocities. Your comment provides an excellent advisory on how creating policies could help mitigate trauma strategically. Indeed trauma, precisely childhood trauma, could be impacting to individual. The unrecognized trauma is devastating; individual undergoing internally manifested trauma derail their morale and adversely affects their general productively. Thus, as teachers, it is imperative to create policies and laws within our capacities to revert trauma menace among students.

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    • Hi Katie! I really enjoyed reading your post, and I agree that teachers should be advocating for change both inside and outside of the classroom. As teachers, we are uniquely positioned to see the educational, social, emotional, and felt needs of our students. By creating a supportive and communicative environment, we can build relationships that allow students to feel comfortable to be themselves or share if they feel so inclined. I also really resonated with his statement about the trauma not being the child.
      I teach at an elementary school in New Orleans and something I have seen popping up recently is teachers labeling students as their problem behaviors instead of just seeing the behaviors as a problem. This creates labels that are hard for children to shake and does not actually help whatever the root of the action is. Thank you for your post. 🙂

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  7. Hello! My name is Darla Maguire and I am a Graduate students at Framingham State University in MA. I enjoyed the Jones and Spector article very much for its reframing of trauma as being more than just a chaotic and uprooting moment. There is trauma that we all internalize and collect throughout our daily and “ordinary” lives. I enjoyed the speaker’s awareness of this trauma and of when resolutions needed to come from learned and memorized responses as opposed to when they needed to be based on intuitively assessing the moment. When someone says the N word or inflicts some other kind of trauma onto another– a trauma they might see as ordinary resulting in them not seeing the pain they might cause, we can probably think of a standard response. However, intuition might guide is in a more meaningful and healing way in the moment. That is exactly what happens with Alexandra in the article. Because of this, I think it is so important that educators all strive to be culturally responsive life-time learners. If intuition is key during moments of obvious trauma, which it objectively is, then we need to assess what we are influenced by and the sources where our intuitions come from. This is where I see a clear connection to anti-racist teaching. So much of teaching happens in the moment, and if our minds aren’t open and accepting than our in-the-moment decisions, behavior, and speech might be traumatic.

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    • Hey Darla, I’m Aidan, nice to meet you. This segment of our readings resonated with me, too. The authors make a significant point to think about and intervene on this ordinary moments, which we may neglect sometimes because of their “ordinariness.” Yet, I’d even argue that these ordinary moments of racism and sexism are more frequent and sometimes more clandestine in our everyday lives, which only makes it more necessary for us as educators to be aware of these sleights should they manifest in the classroom. And I totally agree that “so much teaching happens in the moment,” which speaks to the spontaneity and improvisational character that Jones and Spector emphasize. Overall, we just have to be very proactive in our listening and observance of our students so we can intervene at these teachable moments.

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  8. Hi folks. I’m an EdD student (folks should know what that is now with the first lady) in NYC/unceded Munsee Lenape land.

    The Dena Simmons piece spoke to me because I’ve attended plenty of “trauma-informed” trainings that were, I felt, actually kind of oppressive and stigmatizing. Instead of learning how to be more caring to those who have experienced trauma (which is a lot of people), most of the material served to pain such folks as basically fragile and broken, and it surely didn’t account for the actual trauma of racism itself and how that manifests. When it comes to racism, most people really still think that you have to be chased with a noose to be traumatized, leaving most of us who have experienced daily accumulations of such experiences seeming irrational for pointing out issues. As such, as Simmons points out, anti-racism cannot be merely incidental to trauma-informed training (along with other forms of oppression), but rather the centerpiece of it, instead of the color-evasive way most trauma-informed training is framed.

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    • Hello. Awesome! I am interested in knowing why you are going for EdD and not just a masters. I like how you compared your education to the one of our First Lady, congrats! I am from TN but have friends who ventured to NYC for college, seems fun.

      I did not choose the Simmons piece as my main focus, but loved that you did, and how new it is. I have never been to a trauma training, but think a really good one would be beneficial for anyone. I like how you went into your own thoughts about the writing. Great post!

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    • Hi! It’s nice to meet you, I’m from Southern California/Tongva land. I completely agree that a lot of trainings and informational meetings about trauma perpetuate a narrative that the victims are unable to defend themselves or need protection, as well as oversimplifying racism by portraying it as overt, calculated acts such as joining a white supremacy rally or defacing a synagogue or mosque. Of course, these larger actions are definitely indicative or racism, but there are also smaller yet just as harmful actions that can occur in day-to-day life such as microagressions, tone policing, or exclusion — all of which can inflict trauma upon those who are on the receiving end of them. Your analysis of Simmons’ articles are important because right now, a lot of trauma-informed training does not quite understanding the types of trauma that can occur from racism.

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  9. Hello! I’m Vanessa, and I am a CSU Long Beach teaching credential student (singe subject – social studies). I found these sets of articles to be very interesting in how trauma manifests in the classroom and how we as future educators can be aware of it. I feel my perspective on this subject is twofold: one, as a future educator who will have students who experience racism and other traumas; and two, as a person of color myself who has experienced prejudice, racism, and (I suspect) generational trauma. As an Asian-American in the United States, these recent months with the Covid-19 pandemic have been exhibits of how deep racism is entrenched in our society. I was also adopted by a Jewish-American family, so there’s a lot of my own family history that could be interpreted as influenced by trauma.

    What I particularly thought was interesting was in Simmons article, where she notes she wants to expose young Black students to examples of “Black love, Black excellence, and Black joy” (Simmons). Topics like the Harlem Renaissance, George Washington Carver, or the multitude of other examples of powerful Black leaders, scientists, or artistic and political movements are often left behind in today’s curriculum, leaving Black students to learn only about slavery, segregation, and other ways in which Black people were dehumanized in our society. Simmons continued that not learning these important contributions of Black people, while repeatedly being taught negatives and seeing current-day news of killings and violence, causes more trauma: “through curricular content that perpetuates narratives of inferiority and excludes their lives and full histories” (Simmons). I found a similar example in my own schooling; as a high school student the only thing I learned about Jewish people was the Holocaust, which was already a traumatic event in my family history and since my classes never taught anything else about Jewish people, it was how all of my non-Jewish peers saw Jewish history.

    As a future educator and person of color I want to help dismantle the ways our curriculum can dehumanize and re traumatize people. I think listening to those of other races, cultures, and religions is very important — as well as challenging “the very institutions and systems that benefit from it,” even if it “means it comes with a host of risks” (Simmons).

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  10. Hi, my name is Arcadia and I am pursuing my Art Teaching Credential at California State University, Long Beach. Throughout the articles, trauma is defined as a personal experience that is processed, digested, and reacted to individually. It is afflicted in bits and pieces, engrained in racism and biases, and absorbed through the stories of others.
    I believe that trauma informed teaching practices encompass the importance of leading with asset framing instead of a deficit framing- getting to know our students through their unique strengths and interests. By getting to know our students we are able provide each individual with the resources they need to succeed. Dena Simmons also points out that this includes understanding ourselves- how we discuss and react to trauma and racism- and how this will affect our teaching and our students.

    The article by Jones & Spector shone a new light on positive outcomes when following intuition and allowing an open and safe environment to encourage processing and healing. The final sentence of this article really stuck with me as I continue to learn about how to create a safe educational space for students to grow; “Embracing uncertainty, encouraging improvisation, and practicing restraint when crises emerge can position educators and researchers to do the kind of emergent listening… the kind of listening that tunes us into bodily literacies as we witness and partake in new becomings with ethical spaces that offer both suffering and healing simultaneously.” (2017)

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  11. Hello, my name is Brianna, and I am pursuing a M.Ed. with a specialization in secondary English at Framingham State University. In her article, Simmons stated, “By modeling our healing behaviors and practices, we can support students in recognizing their gifts and possibilities,” and I like how she described how some students mask their trauma, which may not register to the adults in their lives. It’s often assumed that if a young person is doing well in school, that they do not have any trauma, but Simmons explains how that is not true. It’s important to address this in the classroom.

    Simmons also described how she had to look for books or history written or about BIPOC authors until she was in high school, and when she did find BIPOC authors, it was on her own. Simmons states how educators “must confront racism and the resulting trauma from it.” As an English teacher, it is essential to introduce texts that students can see themselves in. Bringing more diverse writers into the classroom is necessary to teach students empathy, and to teach anti-racism to students. Simmons describes how, “We have to identify the problem we are trying to solve to begin working towards solutions. For too long, our nation has chosen not to confront our ugly past or the continuing dehumanization of Black people—a negation of reality that is carried out in our schools. Our wounds will never heal if we do not identify and tend to them.” However, Simmons describes how many teachers do not want to bring up race in their classrooms. I agree with Simmons when she says that it is necessary to discuss race in the classroom to teach students how to be anti-racist.

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    • Hi Brianna! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I too am working toward a career as an ELA teacher, and I agree that bringing a diverse selection of writers into the classroom is essential. I would argue that doing this is the bare minimum. As Simmons stresses, teachers have to do the kind of work that is often uncomfortable. I understand why there would be fear that comes up when approaching the topic of race in the classroom, but if teachers avoid these conversations, then any claim of anti-racist intentions is just hollow.

      I appreciate that you pointed out the importance of modeling behaviors that can create a classroom environment that is safe and encouraging for students who may be impacted by trauma. It is true! These things must be addressed in the classroom.

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    • Hi Brianna!
      I like the points that you brought up in your response. I agree that it is important for educators not to just assume that if a student is doing well in school then that means that they do not have any trauma. As educators we should take the time to get to know our students and build trusting relationships with them so that they feel safe and comfortable to open up to us if they need support.
      I also read D. Simmons’ literature and agree that even though educators sometimes do not feel comfortable with bringing up the topic of racism in the classroom that it is very important that they still do. By avoiding this topic in the classroom it is the same as not doing anything to stop racism. Educators should be actively applying anti-racist strategies in their classroom to provide a safe environment for their students to share all of their different views and perspectives.

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  12. My name is Jarrett Giacchino and I am currently in the Masters of Arts in Teaching program at Austin Peay State University. The article that really stood out to me in terms of trauma informed instruction and an anti racist educational environment was the article by Simmons. In this article, Simmons addressed the need for educators to confront racism, otherwise true change not only in the classroom but also in everyday life, will never happen. The author also goes on to explain how often times, we are just trying to make ourselves feel good, and how we are comfortable with the way things have been when it comes to identifying and respecting race in the classroom. Simmons gives the initiative to cultivate change, and to stop looking the other way (2020a). Similarly, Golden explains how teachers can create an anti-racist learning environment by building a classroom culture based on trust between the teacher and the students. If the students trust the teacher, they will be able to build relationships amongst each other which will help them become open about their backgrounds(2020b). These authors both make great points when it comes to using trauma informed instruction to create an anti racist learning environment. As future teachers, it is our job to be the change, and create an environment that is respectful of racial diversity. Now is the time to make the change as educators, otherwise things will continue as they have and racism will continue to be problematic.

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    • Hello Jarrett! I am also in a teaching program at APSU. I chose to respond to your post because you chose an article different than I did, but also one that was newer. I agree we need more teachers who are “comfortable” and not afraid or walking on eggshells. I think also that now is the best time though because or the normalization of talking about those things. I did talk about Golden and loved how you talked about trust as the high point of his writing. I think that trust is very crucial and can benefit all aspects of the classroom! Great post.

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    • Hi Jarrett! Thanks for your thoughts. I also interacted with Simmons’ article and agree with the point that teachers cannot be passive. One way we can effectively deal with racial trauma is to stand up against racism (be anti-racist as Simmons calls it). As educators, we’ll have the responsibility to create a classroom environment that is inclusive and accepting of all different types of cultures. In addition, we’ll have the responsibility to correct racism to the best of our abilities.

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  13. Hello! I am Krislyn, from the north Nashville area. I go to APSU in Clarksville, TN. I am currently 45 hours into my K-5 education degree. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in kindergarten, and love the discussion aspect of my education courses os that i can get ideas from my peers.

    For this discussion I really liked how Noah Golden wrote about the importance involving trauma, and how it was done so recently. The author defined trauma by quoting someone else in saying: “ Trauma can “include both large-scale, collectively felt events… and small-scale, personal experiences—of loss, violence, displacement, and oppression” (Dutro, 2017, p. 327).”. I learned through this reading how trauma is actually a large part of the classroom, and being able to navigate, communicate, and see it really help. Something important for me to note is that trauma is different for everyone. Trauma informed instruction is an open, accepting, and realistic form of instruction. It’s where all of the environmental elements are examined based on how they influence and impact the school, students, teachers, and more. Once these trauma informed topics are addressed it is easier to reduce them allowing for anti-racism practices. Seeing a problem is the first part of fixing it! I went to a small predominately white school where I as a student I didn’t see this instruction done much. Now as a older, more mature, college student at a fairly diverse school I see this instruction taking place in my leadership, as well as education courses. I think this could also be because open mindedness is becoming more normalized and talked about. I feel great about this topic, and don’t have questions, but look forward to all of your posts and responses!

    Cheers!

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    • Hi Krisyln, It’s nice to meet you! I am a credential student at CSULB in Long Beach, CA. I think you are very right in that we as future educators need to be dialoguing with each other in and furthering our own education in trauma-informed teachings and being anti-racist. I love meeting teachers from other states; regardless of our local legislative obligations, all of us want to make our classrooms more equitable, safe, and accepting for students of all backgrounds and life experiences.

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    • Hi Krislyn! Thank you so much for your thoughts. I really appreciated Golden’s definition on trauma. I agree with you that trauma is a large part of the classroom, especially since it can be present in many different shapes and forms. I believe that our role as future educators is to be self-aware and sensitive, as we care for our students. I also have to realize that I might not be fully equipped (compared to a professional counselor) on how to handle someone else’s trauma, but I think teachers have the opportunities to at least provide a basic level of care.

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    • Hello Krislyn, I agree that trauma is different for everyone and the ways and forms in which they deal with it may be different as well. There are so many profound events that can have a lasting impact on a student. We need to be receptive to our students, compassionate and understanding. Trauma informed instruction involves creating positive and trusting relationships that foster a feeling of belonging that is essential for all students but important for healing for those who have experienced trauma. Creating that safe environment is the first step in establishing support, guidance, and success!

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  14. Hi my name is Kyle Fukumoto, and I am currently a part of the single subject teaching credential program at CSULB for History. I found these articles to be interesting as they discuss the idea of trauma and how it can affect the students in the classroom. This is something that I feel needs to be considered by educators as trauma can have a negative effect on the students, with how they interact with others or even their work ethics. Something that was interesting to me was what Simmons stated in one of the articles, in it he stated that “As a future educator and person of color I want to help dismantle the ways our curriculum can dehumanize and re-traumatize people. I think listening to those of other races, cultures, and religions is very important — as well as challenging ‘the very institutions and systems that benefit from it,’ even if it ‘means it comes with a host of risks'” (Simmons). This is something that I found interesting as racism and other biases can have negative impacts on the lives of students, and therefore an educator needs to be aware of these issues and should attempt to create a learning environment where the students will not be traumatized or re-traumatized, instead the classroom should be a safe space where students do not have to worry about facing any of the traumas that they may have experienced due to their lifestyles.

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    • Hey Kyle, My name is Rikki Bowen and I am a graduate student at Austin Peay State University. I would have to agree with you on the importance of not re-traumatizing a student. We as teachers need to create a safe environment where our students feel comfort. As educators, we need to consider the questions: What does this pandemic reality mean for students’ ability to learn? How can we teach to the lonely, the anxious and the fearful? Our roles as teachers and leaders are more important than ever. We need to cultivate spaces where students are empowered co-create meaning, purpose and knowledge.

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  15. Hello! My name is Brianna, I am currently in the single subject credential program for biology at Cal State Long Beach. Simmons article talks about hidden traumas. To an outsider, it may not be obvious when a student is experiencing or healing from a trauma. Physical signs such as behavioral issues or underachievement are probably what most people would assume from a child who has gone through extreme difficulties in their life, but this article argues that the opposite may be true in come cases. Simmons states, “although research on the connection between trauma and overachievement is scarce, there is anecdotal evidence suggesting a link”. For the past few years, I have worked with children currently or previously in the foster care system. One particular girl I had the privilege of mentoring before the pandemic reminds me a lot of how Simmons describes herself. Before we met, I was vaguely briefed on my student’s background to be prepared for what I might encounter. I was shocked when I met her to find that she was a high performing student and a perfectionist in just about everything she did. Controlling things around her was a way for her to feel in control of her circumstances. While every child has their own unique struggles and ways of dealing with pain, I think it is so important as educators to maintain an open mind and open ears in order to help our students become the best version of themselves. So many students have experienced traumas as a direct or indirect result of racism and discrimination. Through equity based pedagogy, helping students from all backgrounds find their own identity and see themselves reflected in the material they are learning is just a small step toward racial justice in the classroom.

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  16. Hello everyone! My name is Manuel Mendoza and I am currently in the single-subject credential program at CSU Long Beach. Dr. Golden mentions that for students “what matters is whether the educators they see every day are part of their care network or people who exacerbate tensions or challenges in other areas of their lives”. As educators, it is important for students to see us as someone they can depend on as a “care network”. In a world that may seem out of control for the student, having a teacher who is reliable, calm and in control is something that the student needs in order to see the good in their world. Having an open door and being someone that the students can rely on, can lead to students coming into your classroom and spend some time with you. This is the time to be compassionate and supportive to the students and as result of that, connections are being build, where the student feels safe and supported in your classroom.

    Being a support system for your students, there is no choice but to be actively anti-racist. Throughout the curriculum, treating all students equally is vastly important, but making sure they are all being represented, is another level of importance. For students who are of different backgrounds, it is critical that what they are learning connects with them. Deena Simmons writes to “Go above and beyond what textbooks tell us is our history, introduce diverse voices and experiences through literature and mentors”. As a current student I always appreciate how teachers using different views on subjects to connects us to the concepts and ideas that the teachers are trying to preach. Simmons stresses that fact that we must address anti-racism head on and learn from mistakes as we go. I believe that by treating everyone equally and asking sure everyone is being represented and having that support system can create a healthy learning environment in which all students have equal access for success.

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  17. Hello, I’m Aidan, I’m obtaining my credential in social science at CSULB in California. A common thread I saw interlocking each of these articles was a critique of a dominant form of trauma-informed pedagogy. This form approached students as deficits and pathologies waiting for intervention and support to cure/therapize them. While well-intentioned, these kind of approaches understand the realities of students through narrow optics, where they are broken, damaged, distressed, or inhibited in someway by a moment or a series of traumatic events. Yet, a trauma-informed pedagogy should take on the characteristics of seeing students as carriers of stories and knowledge, where they have the capacity to communicate – if invited – moments of vulnerability and pain to their “critical witnesses” i.e. the teacher and classmates. In this way, trauma is not pathologized or seen as some kind of malady in need of remedy from another professional. Pain is not an aberration from a “normative” student and trauma is not an inflexible diagnosis. Creating a space of comfortability, listening, safety, and welcoming stories of negative and positive natures can be conducive to some kind of process toward healing. A teacher whose imperative is to listen should take these stories seriously, of course, and also demonstrate for students that the teacher as well has stories in their life that has produced suffering. As well, experiences of trauma should not be fetishized, provoked, or coerced. It is important for a teacher to not see their students as immiserated and wax pity on them, or vice versa toward the teacher. Dialogues of trauma are not about distilling a sense of performative pity or feeling like you have accomplished a sense of assuaging somebody’s past horrors. Overall, a trauma-informed pedagogy is flexible, critical, sensitive, and requires critical listening, response, and care, so that students feel heard, supported, and nurtured.

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  18. Hello, my name is Sophia Gallardo and I am a student in the Single Subject Credential Program at California State University, Long Beach. Trauma can include many different experiences, events that are big or small. Individual’s trauma can be a result of a society that has many systemic inequities. With this being said, it is not the individual who is broken, but rather the society that is broken. The authors seemed to stress that we cannot have deficit notions about those with trauma. Placing negative notions towards those with trauma, can result in more trauma. Trauma could be happening outside of the classroom and/or inside the classroom, “interactions in the microsystem of schools may intensify rather than ameliorate ongoing traumas” (Golden p. 73). Teachers must take the time to get to know their students, and they must listen to their students.
    Classrooms should be a safe space for all, and teachers need to make sure they are actively promoting this. Also, classrooms are political spaces. In order to make sure we are doing anti-racism work, “educators must confront racism and the resulting trauma from it” (Simmons). “When Black students experience a world that devalues their humanity- and when they witness people who look like them being beaten or slain in the media, they are subject to the trauma of being made to feel worthless and unseen” (Simmons). Black students, along with other students of color, need to feel represented in the classroom. Students of color need to be listened to and given the chance to speak.

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  19. Hello, my name is Andy Ramirez and I am currently enrolled in the single subject credential social science at California State University, Long Beach. In regarding defining trauma, Simmons presents that trauma that is not being currently discussed is how racial trauma currently affects many adolescents and youths that ultimately affects the psyche. Not just issues currently regarding race about social violence against POC in the United States regarding the killing of authorities on POC and discriminatory practices still prevalent shown on the news, but also the hidden factors such as underrepresented of POC professionals and lack of influential POC in education content that makes it difficult for students to see themselves of achieving their full potential. Unfortunately, many educators shy away from discussing racial issues because they feel uncomfortable or their lack of expertise that students might feel alienated because they are not guided. As a result, “when black students experience a world that devalues their humanity – including through curricular content that perpetuates narratives of inferiority and excludes their lives and full histories – and when they witness people who look like them being beater of slain in the media, they are subject to the trauma of being made to feel worthless and unseen, of being made inhuman (Simmons). So just like Simmons recommends, we as future educators should be prepared to discuss racial issues, promote CRP, multiculturalism, and be inclusive so students could feel welcome. Just like Golden 2 case studies of students attending Conexiones extension program in San Sebastian, that they felt more welcome in attending school because they were not considered bad students and teachers actually care about their mental health that made them reinvigorated to continue with their education.

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  20. After reading the suggested articles, I am reminded of Dr. Ladson-Billings work about the “culture answer.” She [Dr. Ladson-Billings] writes “the problem of culture in teaching is not merely one of exclusion. It is also one of overdetermination. What I mean by this is that culture is randomly and regularly used to explain everything. So at the same moment teacher education students learn nothing about culture, they use it with authority as one of the primary explanations from school failure to problems with behavior management and discipline” (p. 104). Our students, like us, face daily challenges at home. Especially during this unprecedented time, our students may have lost a family member, or even been verbally abused by their guardians. We as educators need to be cognizant and aware that our students’ lived experiences outside of school heavily influence how they behave in school (our classrooms). Let’s not view any student of ours as a nuisance, just because they have been traumatized and let’s not justify their situation is due to their culture. As Dr. Golden beautifully states that our students ultimately decide whether or no they choose to open up to us or not; “For these adolescent scholars, what matters is whether the educators they see every day are part of their care network or people who exacerbate tensions or challenges in other areas of their lives” (p. 76). How can we be culturally responsive to our students’, particularly in how their traumatic experiences affect their current situations? We can start by dismissing our implicit bias’, letting them know we are here to listen, and being not just a content-area teacher but also a human-centered therapist.

    Practically speaking, this approach to teaching can look like directly working with our students. As Dutro shares “We believe this reciprocity in bringing deeply felt experiences into classrooms. Reciprocity means that teachers must lead with their own difficult stories—not because they will be the same as children’s, but to show that hard stories are present and welcome, that vulnerability does not lie solely with students, and that children can also serve as witnesses to teachers’ humanity (p. 333). The old adage “students will not care, until they know that you care” goes without staying. Trauma exists. Let’s stop ignoring that it doesn’t and that our curriculum will be slowed if we take time to acknowledge those [traumatizing] situations of our students. Let’s be “a student of our students” and dismiss the status quo to create a future of educators culturally responsive to our students’.

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  21. Hello! My name is Daniel Byun and I am currently in the Single Subject Teaching Credential Program with an emphasis on Mathematics Education at California State University, Long Beach.

    After reading the suggested articles, I am reminded of Dr. Ladson-Billings work about the “culture answer.” She [Dr. Ladson-Billings] writes “the problem of culture in teaching is not merely one of exclusion. It is also one of overdetermination. What I mean by this is that culture is randomly and regularly used to explain everything. So at the same moment teacher education students learn nothing about culture, they use it with authority as one of the primary explanations from school failure to problems with behavior management and discipline” (p. 104). Our students, like us, face daily challenges at home. Especially during this unprecedented time, our students may have lost a family member, or even been verbally abused by their guardians. We as educators need to be cognizant and aware that our students’ lived experiences outside of school heavily influence how they behave in school (our classrooms). Let’s not view any student of ours as a nuisance, just because they have been traumatized and let’s not justify their situation is due to their culture. As Dr. Golden beautifully states that our students ultimately decide whether or no they choose to open up to us or not; “For these adolescent scholars, what matters is whether the educators they see every day are part of their care network or people who exacerbate tensions or challenges in other areas of their lives” (p. 76). How can we be culturally responsive to our students’, particularly in how their traumatic experiences affect their current situations? We can start by dismissing our implicit bias’, letting them know we are here to listen, and being not just a content-area teacher but also a human-centered therapist.

    Practically speaking, this approach to teaching can look like directly working with our students. As Dutro shares “We believe this reciprocity in bringing deeply felt experiences into classrooms. Reciprocity means that teachers must lead with their own difficult stories—not because they will be the same as children’s, but to show that hard stories are present and welcome, that vulnerability does not lie solely with students, and that children can also serve as witnesses to teachers’ humanity (p. 333). The old adage “students will not care, until they know that you care” goes without staying. Trauma exists. Let’s stop ignoring that it doesn’t and that our curriculum will be slowed if we take time to acknowledge those [traumatizing] situations of our students. Let’s be “a student of our students” and dismiss the status quo to create a future of educators culturally responsive to our students’.

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  22. Hello, my name is Elijah Brown, I am currently enrolled in a education masters program at Austin Peay State University. Social and emotional dimensions have long been ignored in the classroom (Golden, 2020). Forty percent of students in the United States go through some sort of trauma in their lives (National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2014, as cited in Brunzell, Waters, & Stokes, 2015a). Trauma can be detrimental to a students’ learning if not harnessed in the correct way. This is why it is so important that in the classroom we build strong relationships so that our students feel like they can be vulnerable in the classroom without judgement. Our classrooms can be sites of testimony and witness so that students can release this stress (Dutro, 2009). By having a classroom that encourages testimony others in the class who hear someone else’s experiences can know that they are not alone in their struggle. As a teacher it is important that our students know who their teachers are as well and that we are there for them. Through this we will know our students better and can provide resources to them based on their needs. Instilling confidence in students by encouraging them to be proud of who they are while also learning about other students experiences. As my professor likes to say, class should be like a mirror but also a window. Reflecting on their identity in the mirror while also looking through the window to understand other students.

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    • Hello Elijah, I’m Aidan, nice to meet you. Harnessing trauma in the classroom sounds counterintuitive to many people I’m sure and sometimes while reading these articles it didn’t sound like something I felt comfortable doing. However, after reading through these articles, it became more transparent to me that, like you said, classrooms are a space of testimony and witness, where students can communicate – if they’re invited and feel comfortable – episodes from their past, present, or their general emotional state of being. And the teacher definitely has a role to play in this dynamic so that students feel comfortable voicing sensitive and vulnerable topics. I really liked what your professor said about how a classroom should be both a mirror and a window. Understanding these concepts got me thinking about the kind of stories I could tell my class so that they could feel comfortable telling their own.

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    • Hi Elijah, I agree with you that it is important to know students well. By building relationships with them, we can gain a better understanding of their lives, and be more empathetic towards them. I like how you brought up windows and mirrors in your response. Students need to see a reflection of themselves to feel confident and proud of who they are, while the windows allow them to see a glimpse into the lives of others to gain empathy. It’s our responsibility to create a safe and welcoming classroom environment where students feel like they can make mistakes, share parts of their lives, and learn about other students’ experiences.

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    • Hello Elijah! Building strong relationships with our students is key. I think it’s important for us as teacher’s to be real, human and vulnerable as well so that students can feel like they are not alone with their feelings, emotions, and with their struggles. By gaining trust with each other we can learn more from our students and better serve them in any way possible. I love your quote that class should be like a mirror but also a window! While our personal struggles and experiences can feel very singular to us it’s important to understand that as humans we can learn and grow with and from each other and that there are common similarities in the human experience.

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  23. Hello! My name is Randy and I’m enrolled at CSULB for my Single Subject Credential in Social Science. Simmons (2020) in her article starts off by pointing out the problem: the exposure of injustice towards Blacks cause trauma. She shares her own experience, “each unnecessary death fills me with worry and fear about whether I can ever be free of the trauma of witnessing the dismissiveness with which our country creates Black life.” As a response, she suggest that educators have a role in “trauma work”. Simmons encourages educators to take an active stance against racism (to be anti-racist). She offers a number of practical steps. First, commit to racial justice. Second, engage in racially-just pedagogy. Third, interrogate the curriculum, learning experience, and school policies. As a future educator, I realized that the onus is on me to stand for justice and fight against any form of racism. Part of our responsibilities as educators is to teach in a culturally responsive way and to even provide sheltering from racial trauma to the best of our abilities.

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    • Hey Randy, My name is Rikki Bowen and I am a graduate student at Austin Peay State university. As people, we know firsthand how uncomfortable conflict and confrontation can feel for teachers. Not pointing out the discomfort, or not seeing race, for example, does not mean the discomfort goes away. If nothing else, the discomfort intensifies and the oppression persists. As a result, the classroom environment either immediately or over time feels less safe for individual members of the community. We insist that avoiding silence humanizes the classroom space such that every single student feels they can rely on her or his teacher to carefully cradle their vulnerability and respond appropriately.

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  24. Trauma is described as the effect of Racism on individuals. Students feeling no representation in the classroom mixed with what they see on television and what they may experience at home can lead to trauma in these children. “When Black students experience a world that devalues their humanity and when they witness people who look like them being beaten or slain in the media, they are subject to the trauma of being made to feel worthless and unseen, of being made to feel inhuman.” (Simmons, 2020). We, as educators, must ensure that we have full inclusivity and representation in the curriculum we use in our classroom, and that our students can view their culture in a positive way. We must also provide support for these students that are experiencing these traumatic events.

    There seems to be an intersection between trauma-informed instruction and anti-racism. By including anti-racism, we are ensuring that there is no added fuel to the fire that could lead to more trauma for these students. Even if we are trying to address racism in our classroom, we must be careful with how we do it. Some students have had great amounts of trauma, so the exposure to these traumatic events could lead to more harm for these students. As described by (Simmons, 2020), we must not retraumatize our students by showing pictures or videos of violence against Black people. By using trauma-informed instruction, we develop a bigger self-awareness and set a standard in our classroom for how we treat each other and that there is no tolerance for mistreatment.

    As a future teacher, I understand that I must develop strong relationships with my students, so I can better understand what they are going through and what I can do to help them. By having these strong relationships with my students, I will be able to recognize different behaviors that could be due to trauma. “Trauma does not manifest in the same ways in different people. Thus, we must engage in a concerted effort to recognize the diverse manifestations of trauma in our students and stop lumping them under one umbrella.” (Simmons, 2020). I understand that I must provide inclusivity and create a learning environment that is safe for everyone while being considerate of what my students home lives might look like, and what they may be going through. I cannot fully understand the trauma they have ensued, but I can be a shoulder to lean on and an advocate for them. I can be somebody who is not afraid to talk about racism and challenge it head-on.

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  25. Hello! My name is Abigail O’Connor and I am a first-year education student at Austin Peay State University. Trauma is described as the effect of Racism on individuals. Students feeling no representation in the classroom mixed with what they see on television and what they may experience at home can lead to trauma in these children. “When Black students experience a world that devalues their humanity and when they witness people who look like them being beaten or slain in the media, they are subject to the trauma of being made to feel worthless and unseen, of being made to feel inhuman.” (Simmons, 2020). We, as educators, must ensure that we have full inclusivity and representation in the curriculum we use in our classroom, and that our students can view their culture in a positive way. We must also provide support for these students that are experiencing these traumatic events.

    There seems to be an intersection between trauma-informed instruction and anti-racism. By including anti-racism, we are ensuring that there is no added fuel to the fire that could lead to more trauma for these students. Even if we are trying to address racism in our classroom, we must be careful with how we do it. Some students have had great amounts of trauma, so the exposure to these traumatic events could lead to more harm for these students. As described by (Simmons, 2020), we must not retraumatize our students by showing pictures or videos of violence against Black people. By using trauma-informed instruction, we develop a bigger self-awareness and set a standard in our classroom for how we treat each other and that there is no tolerance for mistreatment.

    As a future teacher, I understand that I must develop strong relationships with my students, so I can better understand what they are going through and what I can do to help them. By having these strong relationships with my students, I will be able to recognize different behaviors that could be due to trauma. “Trauma does not manifest in the same ways in different people. Thus, we must engage in a concerted effort to recognize the diverse manifestations of trauma in our students and stop lumping them under one umbrella.” (Simmons, 2020). I understand that I must provide inclusivity and create a learning environment that is safe for everyone while being considerate of what my students home lives might look like, and what they may be going through. I cannot fully understand the trauma they have ensued, but I can be a shoulder to lean on and an advocate for them. I can be somebody who is not afraid to talk about racism and challenge it head-on.

    Like

    • Hello Abigail. My name is Cristina and I am currently enrolled in the Single Subject Teaching Credential Program at CSULB. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I definitely agree with you regarding the importance of getting to know our students so that we may be able to develop strong relationships with them based on trust. Students need to feel safe and comfortable coming into our classrooms and should feel comfortable enough to talk about racism and social injustices in the classroom as this affects our students inside and outside the classroom.

      Like

    • Hi Abigail! I enjoyed reading your post.
      As teachers, we must strive to have an inclusive classrooms, where all feel represented. Also, we need to be supportive of our students. Classrooms should be safe spaces, and it is up to the teacher to create those relationships with their students. I loved that you mentioned that you can be a shoulder to lean on and an advocate. It is true, we will not share the same experiences of all of our students, but we can listen and be there for them. I am glad that you plan to challenge racism head-on in the classroom.

      Like

    • Hi Abigail, my name is Arcadia, and I am pursuing my teaching credential at CSULB.
      I really enjoyed reading your reflections on the articles, and how we can support our students by engaging in anti-racism and trauma-informed instruction in our classrooms. Looking back on my own education as a child, there definitely was not full, positive representation of multiple cultures, and not until recently did I begin to understand the effect that had on my peers whom were not represented, as my own perspective. After reading you post, and many others, my outlook grows more and more positive on our generation of educators and the commitment we have to each and everyone of our students. It is the relationships we will have with our students, and the support that we will provide for them that you discussed, that will promote a safe and inclusive environment. Thank you for sharing, and best of luck on finishing your first year!

      Like

  26. Hi! My names is Crystal Griffin. I just finished up being a longterm sub in a first grade classroom. I already miss it so much! Now I get to work with students in our school’s ASD program. I love teaching and watching students blossom. These students teach me so much every day!

    I have chosen to respond to the following question: What connections did you make to the articles, as a teacher/future teacher? What questions do you still have?

    It is very important for teachers to be hyper aware of their students. Teachers should be able to tell when their students have something going on due to their behavior. As mentioned in the articles, students can present as kids with behavior issues, when in reality, they are traumatized or experiencing trauma. When the year starts it can be hard to pick up on the queues that students are giving, but as relationships are built it will become inherently easier for teachers to pick up on the students’ queues. The articles linked poverty and students of color as those who experience trauma. However, this may be the case I do believe that we should not single out minoritized groups as the only students who are experiencing or have experienced trauma. If we take the time and we do our own research, we can see the fallacy of classifying the minoritized as the only students who are traumatized. 40% of US students experience trauma (Golden, 2020). If we research the demographics of current students in US public school, we can break up the students into four different groups. According to NCES from 2017 to 2018 there were 50.7 million students within the US public school system. 24.1 million were white (48%), 7.7 million were black (15%), 13.6 million were Hispanic (26.8%), and finally combining the .5 million who were American Indian/Native Alaskan, 2 million who were 2 or more races, 2.6 million who were Asian and the 185,000 who were Pacific Islander we get the final 10% of the student population. By breaking up the student population into four categories and assume they all contribute an equal 10% of their population to those traumatized we can conclude that students of color contribute 52% of traumatized students and white students contribute 48%. There is only a 4% difference between these two groups who make up the traumatized student population. Therefore, by assuming only students of color are traumatized is a damaging assumption. As a future teacher I will treat all of my students equally, no matter who they are. Each student is important and so are all of their experiences. I want to by hyperaware and proactive for all of my students so I can help them address any issues that they need help addressing and relating to each of my students, even sharing my own traumatic experiences that can relate to theirs to show them they are not alone and that anyone they meet may have had their own traumatic experiences as well.

    Golden, N. (2020). The Importance of Narrative: Moving Towards Sociocultural Understandings of Trauma-Informed Praxis. Occasional Paper Series, 2020 (43). Retrieved from https://educate.bankstreet.edu/occasional-paper-series/vol2020/iss43/7

    The condition of education – Preprimary, elementary, and secondary education – Elementary and secondary enrollment – Racial/Ethnic enrollment in public schools – Indicator may (2020). (n.d.). National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a part of the U.S. Department of Education. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cge.asp

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Crystal! My name is Kenneth and I’m a student at CSULB currently enrolled in the single subject teaching credential program. You make an interesting point that it’s dangerous to assume that only students of color have experienced some form of trauma. From the data you provided as well, you’re completely correct and it’s likely that white students have experienced trauma as well. As a possible future educator, I will take this consideration into the classroom. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

      • Kenneth,
        Thanks for reading!!! I always like to research and draw my own conclusions rather than just going off of what others report. I feel that that keeps us thinking critically. After all, we would expect our students to research and draw conclusions from their research so we must do the same. Assumptions can prove to be quite detrimental in the classroom which is simply another reason to research.

        Like

  27. Hi everybody! I’m Laila, a student in the single subject credential program at Cal State Long Beach. The article by Deena Simmons, If We Aren’t Addressing Racism, We Aren’t Addressing Trauma, was eye opening to me when she writes about how in school she would search for stories about Black love and Black excellence that represented her and that she could relate to. She writes, “When Black students experience a world that devalues their humanity– including through curricular content that perpetuates narratives of inferiority and excludes their lives and full histories– and when they witness people who look like them being beaten or slain in the media, they are subject to the trauma of being made to feel worthless and unseen, of being made inhuman.” (Simmons 2020) This made me think back to when I was in high school and the times I would be learning stories of Black history were mainly of people being beaten or slain like Simmons mentions. I didn’t realize how this creates trauma in students of color because it makes them feel worthless to see people of their color being made inhuman. And she also mentions that this affects the white children because they are being showed the hate and rage that feeds racism. This is what we as teachers should be made very aware of and taught how to prevent and alleviate the trauma. Some teachers have a fear or feeling uncomfortable of talking about race but avoiding the issue does not fix it at all. Instead of showing the traumatic images or media that depict racism we should create learning experiences that teach our students how to identify the racial biases and create a safe classroom community where each student feels safe to share their own perspectives.

    Like

    • Laila,
      You are correct! I believe it is vital as our role as educators that we create a safe classroom community. I also believe that it is important that we know our students well enough to know when something is not right. A safe classroom can look different to different students. What I mean is that for some it can be relatable content, or students knowing that they are truly cared for while in classroom, and for others it can be knowing that they have someone they can talk with about any issues they may be having. When students feel safe they are also comfortable which makes for a conducive learning environment. When students do not feel safe or comfortable they are going to struggle academically which can be a viscous cycle of trauma.

      Like

  28. Hello everyone my name is Hunter Wright I am currently in the Masters of Arts in Teaching program at Austin Peay State University, with a focus on Social Studies. 

    I would like to respond to the question “What connections did you make to the articles? What questions do you have?”. In the article “Let’s start with Heartbreak” Elizabeth Dutro talks about the way trauma is dealt with in schools and says that it often creates “binaries (whether or not intentional) between those in need or damaged and those who are doing just fine” (p. 330). She goes on to talk about how students with trauma are often viewed as damaged goods and need someone who has not been traumatized to support them. I connected to this article because this way of viewing things as being black or white, totally traumatized or totally fine, is how I’ve often approached my students. I was debriefed on my 7th grade students when I first started teaching, and told which students had reading disabilities or learning disabilities. This immediately marked them out for me as students who would need extra attention and support. What reading this article by Dutro has helped me to realize is that there is a much more complex range of trauma and heartbreak that my students carry around with them, with no student being totally without damage. Likewise, it’s not just the students with learning disabilities who may struggle and need extra support in my class, but all of my students are struggling in at least one school subject, with their own home life, or their own personal history, if not all three. I could also relate to Dutro’s article from my student times, when I was not able to express my own trauma and heartbreak. Each of my students will have a different way of expressing what has happened to them, with some being more open and visual about it than others. I need to provide to them a chance at opening up and being in a safe environment to confront their trauma.

    I also could relate to Noah Golden’s article on “The Importance of Narrative” which broke down trauma-focused pedagogical practices and their shortcomings. He criticizes the dominant perception of children with problem behaviors as not being the same for all students. “…this approach assumes a static, culture-free, and ahistorical understanding of normative behavior. That is, what is considered an appropriate way of being or a valid response to a challenging situation is not seen as socially or culturally mediated. Yet racial, gendered, or class bias, among others, shape what behaviors are deemed appropriate…” (Golden, 2020, pg. 72). What is acceptable behavior versus what is seen as problem behavior possibly resulting from a traumatic background or experience is not the same for each student. The students are treated and viewed differently based on factors such as race and gender. I could relate to this as a student, even though I did not face this kind of bias myself, I have heard stories of such bias from friends. Because their experience and mine were so different, it shows how dependent this kind of perspective on students is to our own biases towards them.

    Like

    • Hi Hunter,

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and agree with many of your viewpoints. It is amazing that you were able to relate to the article from a teacher’s standpoint, but also that you do not only see children who have disabilities as being the only ones who may struggle in their academics. I was able to relate to your post when you had stated, “their experience and mine were so different, it shows how dependent this kind of perspective on students is to our own biases towards them.” as I too have not had to endure any form of bias in my life. Overall, you did a great job detailing how these two articles related to you and how they transitioned to your career as well.

      Like

  29. Hello everyone my name is Lexi Junker and I am currently attending APSU for my masters of arts and teaching. I do work at an elementary school while I work on my masters. After reading these articles I have found that trauma has been defined as a more personal experience. this is one we must function with, and reacts to in our own way. The way one may handle trauma is, and may entirely be different than the way another reacts to trauma. This experience is extremely personal. ” Trauma is both the weightiest and flightiest of words—heavy with the certainty of hurt, loss, pain, despair, violence, yet afloat on the breeze of ambiguity of meaning and implications. Far from just an adjective to attach to literacies, its use is fraught in relation to children in schools, and becoming more fraught all the time as programs focused on trauma in schools gain steam in policy and practice. It is not a word to be used lightly, to toss around.” ( Dutro, 2017 pg. 2 ). This, to me, should be a great quote to remember when stepping into a classroom. I have learned from my students, I have learned how to teach them. They each have their own characteristics, they own personalities. This should be remembered when teaching. All students are different. All students require that care. We do not know their trauma, we do not know what they have gone through or their current fight. Simmons( 2020) says “When Black students experience a world that devalues their humanity– including through curricular content that perpetuates narratives of inferiority and excludes their lives and full histories– and when they witness people who look like them being beaten or slain in the media, they are subject to the trauma of being made to feel worthless and unseen, of being made inhuman.” This is something that some of us, frankly, cannot understand. We should be cautious to never devalue any students humanity. A students past, present, and future can be a huge game changer within our classroom and can make a difference with who those students are/become.

    Like

    • Hi Lexi. I agree with your statement that “The way one may handle trauma is, and may entirely be different than the way another reacts to trauma.” There is no way for us, as educators, to know what issues our students are dealing with, nor should we be making assumptions based on grades or behavior. Unlike you I have not had the pleasure of stepping into a classroom. However, I feel that if i can create an environment that is warm and welcoming and genuinely connect with my students, that will contribute significantly to building trust and, in turn, will open the door to any potential healing that may be needed. You quoted Dena Simmons’ article which hit close to home for me. As an African American male, I felt unseen by curriculum, teachers, and school leadership. As a future educator my goal is to ensure my students feel safe, seen, and heard.

      Like

      • Thank you for your reply! That is absolutely the goal. When your students can feel like they’re in a safe environment then, in my opinion, you have created an excellent start. As a white female I cannot begin to understand what you have felt in the classroom, but I can thank you for putting yourself in the position to help other students going forward to never having to feel that same feeling. The trauma of that is one no child should feel. Some people say that one person cannot make a difference, I believe that one person can make a world of difference. If we can change things for even one student, then, isn’t that the goal? Isn’t that the hope?

        Like

    • Hi Lexi! I appreciate what you have brought to the discussion here. I agree that trauma is such a personal thing, and that everyone reacts to trauma in their own unique way. It is so important that we, as educators, are mindful of the ways that trauma can show up in our students. I think it can be really easy for people to make assumptions and possibly overlook students who are struggling because they are not showing expected characteristics of someone who has been traumatized.

      As someone who will be teaching teenagers, I am curious about the similarities and differences in how trauma shows up in students of different ages. I would be interested to learn more about this. No matter how it shows up, I agree that we must treat all of our students with kindness and support because we really do not know what our students may be going through.

      Like

      • First off I want to say, you are braver than I teaching teenagers. I am currently working in an elementary school and am seeking a masters for an elementary setting. Everyone has their strengths, and that’s the best way we can help and reach those students. As you mentioned, we do not know what they may be going through and as such, we need to treat them all equally. When working with teenagers, who are already struggling with their own personalities, their self esteem, hormones, and discovering who they are, then adding trauma for those who have the misfortune of dealing with that? It can be very difficult for them to handle school on top of that. What ways do you propose to aid your future students who may need extra assistance?

        Like

  30. Hey y’all! My name is Selena Wilson. I am currently attending APSU in Clarksville, TN for my Masters of Arts and Teaching. I currently work as a pre-kindergarten teacher at a child care facility. Prior to that I was a school-based clinical therapist. These articles brought up several of the issues I worked with in the school-based setting. I often had students that felt like they were being targeted by teachers because of race. Unfortunately, most students were not wrong in their feelings. Their teachers were being unknowingly racist towards them. Simmons article “If we aren’t addressing racism, we aren’t addressing trauma” makes the point that when we are teaching students about all this huge historical figures, all being white, we are teaching them that in order to be superior in the world it is an informal requirement to be white (2020). However, we are also teaching our students that being black is dangerous and their lives are very much at risk (Simmons, 2020). Golden explains in “Importance of Narrative” that it is necessary to listen to our students and allow them a space to express how they feel about the world they live in (2020). We also must give them the space to share their own personal narrative and help them navigate their feelings (2020). As a school-based therapist, I saw frequently, these teachers shutting down these racially based conversations because students got upset or the teacher felt uncomfortable, or the class was mostly white. This type of behavior is what causes students to feel like the color of their skin determines their value and their right to have an opinion. As a future teacher, I hope to create an environment within my class, that all students have the right to ask questions, learn what is important to them, learn about their race, culture, and ethnicity, and all students show respect to all the conversations we have in the classroom. A question I have is how does one teacher can make a huge impact for the ideology of a student about themselves? Also, how do we as educators teach other teachers to be more willing to have racially based conversations with their students?

    Like

    • Hello Selena!

      It’s amazing how often students would say that a teacher or principal is out to get them yet most authority figures in their lives would immediately dismiss this. But in reality, the teachers or principals probably were! The key word I took from your post was “unknowingly racist.” As another authority figure in these students lives, we have to be willing to stand our grounds when pushing for social reform in our respective future schools. To call out the teachers or faculty that perpetuate this kind of behavior. To be clear, I don’t mean “call out” as a form of the most recent social endeavor of “cancel culture.” I merely suggest that we should be the social advocate for our students of color with the small authority we hold as teachers. Engaging in reflective practices such as CRP workshops or journaling, is an excellent way of ensuring these racial-based conversations continue to happen as a community or with oneself. Just like you, I plan to the advocate for my students and their families when I step on and off school grounds and I hope others follow suit.

      Best,
      Erny

      Like

      • Erny,

        I completely agree that often times the authority figures student interact with are unintentionally being targeted. We see this all the times with teachers going “oh look out for this student next year, they are a hand full” and that gives them a preexisting idea of how to treat that student. We absolutely have to be the advocates for our students. The change we want to see starts with our own classrooms. The way we communicate with other teachers as well as administration is going to set the tone for the type of environment we want to set, along with the way we want our students to be respected and treated.

        Selena

        Like

    • Hello Selena,
      Thank you for sharing your experiences as a school-based therapist. It’s disappointing to hear, but not surprising, that racially based conversations between students and teachers would be shut down due to student frustration and/or teachers being uncomfortable. I personally have had experiences with teachers that have lead to them shutting down a conversation that I saw as productive, but they saw as an attack on them. I also liked Golden (2020)’s focus on the “importance of narrative”. In particular, I think teachers can benefit from listening to their student’s narratives. They can leverage their student’s interests and identities to make their classroom more of a community and to make the content they teach more appealing.

      Like

      • Rusty,

        I absolutely agree that teachers can benefit from hearing out their students. I think having these conversations with our students is one of the few ways to ensure that all students are being treated truly equally. This could change classroom environments all together. Allowing students to express how they feel they fit in the world provides insight as to how they are going to develop into the world in the future. Understanding our students and helping them find their place and communicate appropriately and effectively is extremely important. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You made several great points to consider!

        Selena

        Like

  31. Hello, my name is Brent Pothoven and I am currently enrolled in the single subject credential program for social science at California State University, Long Beach. I found the articles very enlightening and powerful in regards to trauma and how it manifests. With the zeitgeist and atmosphere of our world, it is important that we as teachers understand trauma and how it develops. As a white male myself, it is important to me to look more deeply and recognize the trauma that people of my ethnicity generally ignore. Simmon’s articles bring that to light as she mentions that police activity affects the mental health of African-Americans. We must be vigilant not just to our student’s needs but the news and how that affects them as well. Whether be giving time to share something they found noteworthy and civilly discuss it or other practices. Trauma is a wide net that can entangle even the strongest of people and we should have a keen eye for potential struggles and support them.

    As a history teacher, it’s important to connect today’s climate with the past and show students how we arrived here all while taking a strong stance on supporting anti-racism efforts. We must take a human stance and not a robotic one where our practices are only celebrated by a percent (grades, students in college, etc.). As a history teacher, I don’t want students as Simmons describes, searching to find themselves or something they identify with while in school, I want to present that to them as history as so many agents of change. The diversity within history and our teaching should present them with these works and then for them to search for even more. Most of the stories I hear from classmates during my undergrad studies was that they chose history cause no one taught them their own history and they felt left out. I aspire to not leave a student out.

    Like

    • Brent,
      I think it is great to let your students know that they do not have to identify with anyone from the past. I think it is also important to incorporate in the History lessons the perspective of the individual writing the text or story in regards to the lesson. Just as we write papers and posts in class we have a narrative that we are pushing just like those that write text books. This is not to say that one narrative is better than the other or that one opinion is better than another. However, I do think that it is important that our students use their critical thinking skills and view lessons from multiple perspectives to come up with their own ideas and opinions on what they think that time in History was really like. There is truth to every side of the story and sometimes we must read in-between the lines to get the entire story.

      Like

  32. In the article, “If we aren’t addressing racism, we aren’t addressing trauma” the author, Dena Simmons, states, “Our trauma work must include not only addressing the toxic stress of racism, which we know contributes to adverse mental and physical health effects in people of color (Comas-Diaz & Hall, 2019; Williams, 1999), but also confronting the dangers of white privilege” (2021). As a white female-identifying student and teacher, this statement stood out to me because it highlights the importance of addressing racism and acknowledge my privileges because of my racial identity. In my class with Dr. Golden, we completed an essay assignment in which we wrote about how our epistemology biases are positionality. Completing this assignment helped me identify my privileges and recognize that not everyone had the same opportunities as I did. I think this important to reflect on before becoming a teacher because it can help me be more understanding and a better educator. In another article written by Simmons, she states, “To ensure that all children, especially Black youth, have the privilege to live full lives, educators must confront racism and the resulting trauma from it. If not, we are not really doing equity work, and we are not really trauma-informed or trauma-sensitive. We are just saying we are.” I also felt that this quotation by Simmons was very important. She states that it is essential to go beyond just saying that we are anti-racism and trauma-informed, but we must take action to prevent racism and become trauma-informed. We can do this by including readings or prominent figures to discuss in the classroom that students of color can identify and relate to. Another way is to analyze how your identity has affected who you are and what you have accomplished, as Professor Golden had us do in our essay reflection. A third way is to continue reading and educating ourselves on the topic and finding ways to implement these into our classroom.

    Like

    • Hi Nicole,

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and was actually able to learn from your post. I appreciated how you were able to make a connection between these articles and a previous assignment that you have completed. I can relate to recognizing that not everyone had the same opportunities as I did while growing up. As a child, you do not consider what is happening around you nearly as much as you do as an adult. This Education course alone has taught me a lot about how different students are treated and helped me to recognize when someone is being treated differently to his or her skin color. Working in a childcare facility and babysitting, racism has never been something I have ever considered but after making it halfway through this course I have realized the importance of recognizing racism amongst teachers while working. You did an excellent job on your post, Nicole!

      Like

    • Nicole,
      I think we need to recognize that trauma itself does not discriminate. Anyone person at any point in time can and will experience trauma. How we as teachers help our students through this point is what is important. We need to make sure from the start of the school year that we are building a relationship with our students and we are able to recognize patterns within them. When we know our students we are able to recognize when they are not their ususal self and then we can asses and go from there. Trauma is not always apparent when you first meet someone. Often times it is after you have built a level of trust when you find out about someones trauma.
      I
      also noticed where you stated you had an essay where you identified your privileges and that others did not have the same opportunities as you. While this is important I would like to also note that you did not have the same privileges and opportunities as either as well. In addition, you most likely did not share the same challenges and/or traumas as others as well. I feel that it is time we start looking at each other as humans. Identifying that we all have different privileges, opportunities, challenges and traumas in our life ant that is what makes us different. Different is beautiful. Life isn’t fair and it never will be, so we need to be able to understand this and truly help our students navigate whatever is going on in their life on an intrinsic level.

      Like

  33. My name is Jarrett Giacchino and I am currently a student at Austin Peay State University enrolled in the Masters of Arts in Education program. As a future teacher I was able to make a connection to the articles through knowing the importance of ending racism in the classroom. Thinking back on my own student experience, there was never a lot of talk about racial diversity, or respecting others who are a different race then you are. After reading the articles I think the biggest impact I can have on my students would include being a role model to them, and allowing them to speak with me openly about any uncomfortable situations they may encounter due to their race. As a teacher, if I can be there for students, they will become more comfortable with telling me when they have a problem with racism in school which I can then address and help create change. Change takes time, however, if I can do my part, I know that I can make the school and community a better place. The same goes for every other teacher, if we each do our part slowly change will happen.

    Like

    • Hi Jarret,

      I greatly enjoyed reading your post! I appreciated how you were able to relate the articles to your own personal experiences and explain how they can benefit you as a teacher. I can agree with your statement, “there was never a lot of talk about racial diversity, or respecting others who are a different race than you are.” growing up, this was never a topic that spoken of often. However, in today’s society, it is vital to talk about with children so that they have an understanding that everyone deserves to be treated equally. Great job on your post!

      Like

      • Hello,
        I appreciate the time you took to respond to my post. I know that a lot of people had similar encounters at their schools whether racial diversity was not something that was spoken of. I hope that as a society we can all make changes to talk about racial diversity in a way that will have a lasting, positive impact.

        Like

    • Hello Jarret,

      I agree with you that as educators we have a great responsibility on the experiences of our students. It’s important to create an environment where our students can feel accepted and where they can freely express themselves. I also agree with you that it’s important to be role models for our students and create connections with them in order to better understand them and help them with any struggles they may have. As educators we have the power to reconstruct society into a more equitable one and it all starts in the classroom. Thank you for sharing I really enjoyed reading your response.

      Like

    • Hello Jarrett! My names Nicole and I am apart of CSULB Teaching Credential Program. The part of your post that really stood out to me was when you stated, “Change takes time, however, if I can do my part, I know that I can make the school and community a better place.” I agree that change does take time and that it is important to do our part for our school and community. I also agree that it is important to be a role model to our students and provide them with a safe space to dialogue about situations that might make them uncomfortable. However, I believe we are called to more than that as our students need to see change now. In our classroom, we must represent students of color in our classroom by bringing culturally relevant readings, assignments, or examples. We must encourage our colleagues and other staff to adopt the same practices in their classrooms. We must promote anti-racism throughout the school community at all school rallies, sporting events, clubs, and other extracurricular activities. We need to adopt anti-racism and trauma-informed practices in our classroom. We need to learn to understand our students, listen to their needs, and do what is best for them to succeed.

      Like

      • Nicole,
        I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post. Change like creating a culture that supports racial diversity in classroom will take time. As teachers it is important for us to stay the course and continue to support this change so that we will see real results. As teachers we need to continue to press on to make changes, the students are the future of the nation.

        Like

    • Thank you for your post. I fully agree about learning about racial diversity. When I was in school, while it was mentioned, it wasn’t as big a topic as it is now. Terrible, sad, but it was not discussed as it should be. I am so grateful that it is being talked about now. I work in an elementary school and I did a small group a few days ago and the girls ( 5th graders) asked me if we could do our reading on MLK or Rosa parks. We read our passages and we discussed all of that information. We spent so much time on separate but equal, and what it meant, what they fought for and why it was important. I was so pleased that they wanted to learn more, to understand and they spoke of these two people with such respect ( as they should), and I am thrilled that the children today are finally being taught in ways we were not. You are correct, change takes time. We all should do our part. I am thrilled to be joining you as a future educator in doing my part as well.

      Like

      • Lexi,
        Thank you for responding to my post. I am glad that students are being taught what were not as well. This is something that is long overdue and I am excited to see the meaningful change that will take place in the future.

        Like

    • Hello Jarrett!

      I totally agree with your post. I never remember any of my teachers or schools talk about racial diversity either. Back then, I think society thought that not talking about diversity would be more effective than addressing it. I feel like many educators were uncomfortable when it came to talking about race. However, we have to put those worrisome feelings aside and do what’s best for our students.

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  34. Hello Everyone, my name is Melissa. Currently I am pursuing a MAT at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee. “If we aren’t addressing racism, we aren’t addressing trauma” by Dena Simmons was the article I read. Simmons expertly enumerates the ways in which pervasive, white-centered curricula has and is promoting racial bias and other detriments to society. As a future teacher, I do not take lightly the responsibility of educating children from a place of fairness, sensitivity, and truth. Our society has not truly dealt with it’s horrific racist past. This has caused a succession of racist practices to manifest itself within our most crucial institutions. It is the duty of the collective especially those in a position of privilege to combat racism. The mantra that I purpose for myself when I enter the classroom is to abandon my ego and bias and facilitate an environment filled with facts, diversity, respect, and knowledge. “To ensure that all children, especially Black youth, have the privilege to live full lives, educators must confront racism and the resulting trauma from it. If not, we are not really doing equity work, and we are not really trauma-informed or trauma-sensitive. We are just saying we are. We are just maintaining the status quo.” (Simmons, 2021)
    Simmons, D. (2021, February 17). If we aren’t addressing racism, we aren’t addressing trauma. Retrieved March 12, 2021, from https://inservice.ascd.org/if-we-arent-addressing-racism-we-arent-addressing-trauma/

    Like

    • Hey Melissa, when I decide to become a teacher, I wanted to guide students in their academic careers, giving them life skills in a school setting. Giving students a good work ethic, Discipline. To get involved in cultural issues, I think as educators, we have an obligation not to involve ourselves unless asked. My concern is the undue influence teachers have in the classroom on students. Why are we attempting to instill values as students? I have had several teachers who pushed their values on students, which was a horrible experience.

      Like

    • Hi Melissa. I agree with you with regard to how our society has not fully reckoned with its dreadful, racist past. It is demonstrated by the double standard shown in policing, as well as the economic (PPP loans) and medical (vaccine distribution) discrimination exposed by the current pandemic. Similar to Simmons, my education was white-centered and did not include a diverse perspective due to political machinations and racial bias. As an African American male and future social studies teacher, I feel it’s my obligation to present a full representation of history that incorporates all perspectives and voices. As you stated, we need to “facilitate an environment filled with facts, diversity, respect, and knowledge.” Good luck on your continuing education and future endeavors.

      Like

  35. Hello everyone, my name is Rachel Flint. I am a freshman at Austin Peay State University, majoring in Early Childhood Education.

    Throughout each of these articles, the definition of trauma is depicted in similar ways yet differ in each of their unique aspects. The first article tells of a sorrowful childhood, the fear this woman lives with on a day-to-day basis, and most importantly tells of how much racism is targeted towards African Americans in today’s society. During my reading throughout this article, my heart truly went out to Dena. The part of this article that piqued my interest was when Dena stated, “addressing the toxic stress of racism, which we know contributes to adverse mental and physical health effects in people of color”. (Simmons, 2020a) This one sentence began to repeat in my mind, which brought to me the realization of how much racism can truly impact our youth. I cannot begin to imagine the trauma that our African American youth are having to cope with in public schools across our nation. This article spoke on much of the importance of black lives and how much racism can greatly affect our youth if not handled properly, and by speaking on each of these aspects, this article broadened the view on how much trauma African Americans must endure in their lives. The next article continues to define Dena’s trauma that was depicted on her during her childhood. Dena was traumatized at a very young age due to her surroundings while growing up. The sounds of gunshots were heard every night, witnessing racism daily, being treated unfairly, etc. Each of the aspects contributed to her trauma. In (Dutro, 2017), trauma is best defined as “the emotional, material, and political stakes depicted in the narratives. (Dutro, 2017) However, the author does mention that trauma differs in every student. No two children are the same, nor have they experienced the same upbringing or witnessed the same life experiences as the other. Therefore, meaning that no students have the same amount of trauma in their lives and as teachers, we must foster each of our students’ traumas and help each student overcome the life trauma they have been through. This statement now connects us to the next article and its definition of trauma. This article mentions that trauma can be caused by several aspects. For example, “causes are emotional, physical, or environmental, it is understood to lead to physiological responses (e.g., “traumatic stress” or “toxic stress”) and can engender a “fight or flight” mindset that interrupts the learning process)” (Golden, 2020) When comparing these two articles, they do closely resemble each other as far as the definition of trauma goes, however, both differ greatly as far as their purposes go.
    From these two articles, I learned of the importance of trauma-informed teaching practices. I learned that students suffering from trauma may have a difficult time planning, keeping focus, remembering details of important information, and how trauma can greatly affect their ability to learn in a classroom. The key aspect to keep in mind while teaching that I learned was to focus on each student and remember that if a student is having a difficult time learning/performing well that they may be suffering from trauma, but from this week’s readings I learned how to manage these types of situations. By using trauma-informed teaching practices such as, making small improvements to disciplinary procedures, relationship building, and communication strategies can help students feel more secure, trusting, and empowered. It is vital to remember that while we are dealing with children, we do not know their background. The most valuable way to learn about a student is to form a trusting relationship with the students in your classroom. Students who are suffering from trauma and are left without the much-needed attentiveness from their teacher will greatly begin to perform poorly in their studies. This should not fall back onto the student to cope with, this falls back on the teacher for not managing their responsibility as a teacher. Before this week’s readings, I will admit that I had not given much consideration to how greatly trauma can affect a student. These readings taught me more than just trauma-informed teaching and the definition of trauma.
    The terms trauma-informed learning and anti-racism resemble each other quite well. Trauma-informed learning is examining the effect and effects of racism (explicit, implicit, and systematic; and microaggressions) on students in our schools, as well as poverty, peer victimization, group abuse, and bullying. While anti-racism means, opposing bigotry and fostering racial tolerance is a policy or practice. Both of these terms resemble each other as they both refer to the importance of learning about our students and fostering their specific needs in order to see them succeed in a classroom. You cannot be supportive of trauma-informed learning if you are racist. Thus, meaning in order to be supportive of one of these terms you must respect the other. You cannot have a desire to learn and be supportive of a student’s trauma if you cannot see all your students as equals. These two terms intersect by closely resembling each other. These terms go hand-in-hand, you cannot have one without the other.
    By using trauma-informed instruction, we build on the foundation of creating an anti-racist environment for a classroom. By using this method of instruction, we are encouraging our students to feel that they can be open, and this demonstrates that no one is perfect, no matter what your skin color may be. This method is valuable as it provides a teacher to communicate with their students on a closer level, which builds a strong foundation of trust and a feeling of comfort for students. I believe that if students feel that they can be open with their teachers then they know that they are not being judged, thus, creating an anti-racist environment for the classroom. Children will find that sense of anti-racism when the teacher is able to help the students work through the trauma that they are going through or have gone through in their life. As teachers, we must learn all that we can about our students, mainly because it allows us to build a form of trust and a strong bond of communication with our classroom. Learning about our students has more benefits than just simply that, it further allows the student to feel a sense of trust and comfort which the outcome will be a better performing and more concentrated student. As a teacher, our main goal is to see every student in our classroom succeed, we will fail at this if we are incapable of allowing our students to feel comfortable in our classroom environment. A student will not prosper if they feel that their teacher is racist or even their classmates for that matter. It is our responsibility to have an anti-racist environment and to grow on trauma-informed instruction. Only then will we see each of our students succeed in their academic journey.
    From my perspective, I could not personally connect to the trauma references mentioned in each article as I gratefully have never endured trauma as such in my life. However, I was able to connect to building on trauma-informed learning as I exhibited racism during my time in public school. It is obvious when a teacher is racist, especially for a child. One can tell when a student/students are being treated differently compared to themselves. It is not difficult to piece together that differentiation in treatment is due to a difference in skin color. I witnessed students lose interest in learning due to their teacher lacking support, being judgmental, racist, and even due to a lacking sense of comfort in the classroom due to other students. It is difficult to witness a friend deteriorate in their academic interest due to another human being. I connected with the articles mentioning the importance of support from a teacher for a student, I connected with these aspects in the articles. This week’s readings answered several questions that I have wondered when it comes to building a relationship with our students. The only question that I have is how to tell if a student is suffering from trauma when they are not open about their lives. I feel that one of the most difficult aspects of being a teacher is not knowing how to help a student who is struggling. I cannot imagine watching a student struggle with their academics and after trying to help them, still being unable to help them with whatever the matter may be.

    References
    Golden, N. (2020). The Importance of Narrative: Moving Towards Sociocultural Understandings of Trauma-Informed Praxis. Occasional Paper Series, 2020(43). Retrieved from https://educate.bankstreet.edu/occasional-paper-series/vol2020/iss43/7

    Dutro, E. (2017). Let’s Start with Heartbreak: The Perilous Potential of Trauma in Literacy.

    Simmons, D. (2020). If we aren’t addressing racism, we aren’t addressing trauma.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rachel, my name is Kenneth and i’m a student at CSULB current enrolled in the single subject credential program. Although you mention not having experienced trauma yourself, you come from such an empathetic viewpoint and I appreciate your honesty. As you say, it will be difficult to really know what students are going through if they are not open about their experiences. In a way, it seems we have no control over that, but as teachers the best we can do is to try to build a trusting relationships with students and support them in every way that we can. If a student chooses to be honest about their trauma then I would see that as an opportunity to help students. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Kenneth,

        I greatly appreciate your feedback. It was a bit difficult for me to define trauma in my own words since I have not experienced trauma in my life, however, I am truly grateful for that, but it makes me see it being a challenge when it comes to working with students who are experiencing trauma in their lives. I question my ability to nurture them and help them to cope with what it is that they are going through. I am dedicated to helping children and being an inspiration for them, so I look at this challenge as an opportunity to allow myself to prosper in this area. Thank you for your feedback, Kenneth!

        Liked by 1 person

  36. Hello, my name is Lydia Christian and I am currently a student in the MAT program at Austin Peay, as well as a special education teacher in New Orleans. Trauma, according to Elizabeth Dutro, is “both the weightiest and flightiest of words—heavy with the certainty of hurt, loss, pain, despair, violence, yet afloat on the breeze of ambiguity of meaning and implications.” (p 327, 2017). But also according to her, trauma is so much more complex than that. It is the life of a student in the second grade who has been labeled a thief due to one mistake, it is the kid who goes home to a broken family but puts on a brave face at school, it is the heartbreak of lost loved ones, it is the erroneous assumptions of others and so many other things. Trauma is fluid, in that it almost never looks the same way twice. It is also overwhelmingly felt by those who already deal with being underserved, such as minoritized or neurodivergent students. It can also be felt by those who think they are fine, and that they are okay because they do not suffer from some specific variable. In her article, Dena Simmons said “For years, I had convinced myself that because I performed well in school and have continued to experience success in work and in life, I was fine. However, the traumas of a childhood burdened by fear, bigotry, and family suffering have not left me unscathed.” (p 88, 2020) Trauma is so complex and so interconnected. The fact that trauma seems to disproportionately affect black students, shows why the connection between TIC and Anti-Racist instruction is so important. We live in a society barraged with images of black people being attacked and dehumanized (Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey, and George Floyd are just a few of the more recent examples), and we teach in schools were the focus is on the achievements of white poeople, but then we expect black students to invest in their learning. (Simmons, 2020) By flipping that narrative, and meeting students where they are without disregarding their reality, we as educators are given the unique opportunity to provide for students who might otherwise be labeled or overlooked. We can also show black students and other underrepresented students the richness of their own histories and cultures, that they are capable of so much more than their trauma implies. You cannot broach the realities of trauma without also delving into the messiness of racism, because they are almost always connected.

    References:
    Dutro, E. (2017). Let’s Start with Heartbreak: The Perilous Potential of Trauma in Literacy. Language Arts, 326–337. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316755436_Let’s_Start_with_Heartbreak_The_Perilous_Potential_of_Trauma_in_Literacy

    Simmons, D. (2020a, May). The Trauma We Don’t See – Educational Leadership. http://Www.Ascd.Org/. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may20/vol77/num08/The-Trauma-We-Don’t-See.aspx

    Simmons, D. (2020, June 5). If we aren’t addressing racism, we aren’t addressing trauma. ASCD Inservice. https://inservice.ascd.org/if-we-arent-addressing-racism-we-arent-addressing-trauma/

    Like

    • Lydia,

      Having conversations with students about having to recognize trauma is essential to their well-being. Students have the right to feel comfortable within their schools and classrooms. They should not feel targeted or profiled at any time, especially not by adults that are supposed to be teaching and protecting them. Trauma is complicated and needs the time to be addressed and understood. Students have their own narratives and as teachers we have to hear them out so that we can teach them appropriately. We have to meet them where they are at in order to get them where they need to be.

      Selena Wilson

      Like

    • Hi Lydia!
      I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the literature. Your comments on the literature, Let’s Start with Heartbreak: The Perilous Potential of Trauma in Literacy, helped me to realize how trauma is not always obvious and noticeable. Trauma is “fluid” like you mentioned and does not look the same twice. There are many reasons why a student might have trauma and sometimes might not even show it. This is why it is important for us as educators to create a community in our classrooms where students feel is a safe environment for them to share their thoughts. It is also important to create trusting relationships with our students so they know that they are able to open up to us for support and so that we are able to detect any signs of trauma, even when it is not obvious.

      Like

  37. Hello everyone, my name is Aaliyah. I am currently a freshman attending Austin Peay State University. I am majoring in Health and Human Performance with a minor in K-12 teaching. I remember being in elementary school and thinking how much better life would be if I was white. Society and educators created a picture that all white people were smart and wealthy. I never want my students to feel how I felt as a child, wishing they were a difference race. As educators, we must recognize the events taking place in society and use that to help guide activities of the classroom. The first step in creating an anti-racist classroom is to stop acting like it isn’t there. Acting like race doesn’t exist is just adding fuel to the fire. You want your students to feel proud of being black, white, Hispanic, and any other race. Incorporating authors and educators from different backgrounds can help integrate the classroom.There is not a step by step book using trauma-informed strategies to get rid of racism in classroom. It all comes back to celebrating one another’s differences and learning from and about all races, not just white people. Racism isn’t something that can be fixed overnight, it will take time and may require educators to go out of their comfort zone. When becoming a teacher, we sign up for things like this. We have to learn to be adaptable to the changing world around us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Aaliyah!

      Your comment on how you thought being white would make life better is something I also felt when I was in kindergarten. I wanted to be white so much that I refused to speak Spanish in my own Mexican household and to this day, I am not a fluent Spanish speaker because of that decision. I completely agree that we should celebrate every students heritage and as future educators, we should utilize these lived experiences in the lessons, assessments and activities we will create. Though there isn’t a step by step book dictating how to enact culturally-trauma responsive pedagogies, we have to stay vigilant on our own bias’s and future practices that can help us maintain constant reflection on the way we teach or think about the world.

      Best,
      Erny

      Like

    • Hello Aaliyah,
      I completely agree with you, educators should acknowledge the role that race plays in this society. Not only to bring awareness to the injustice and systematic oppression that exists surrounding race, but also to begin to celebrate and view the differences among people as an asset to their future. I don’t doubt that these topics are uncomfortable for some educators, but that’s not an excuse for them not to talk about them. Being an educator means being there for students, understanding who they are and seeing them as humans with multidimensional and unique identities.

      Like

    • Hi Aaliyah,

      It’s so nice to meet a fellow health major! After reading your post, I realized that I could relate to much of what you discussed. I am of Asian descent and grew up in a culture that constantly idolized whiteness because it was supposedly associated with wealth and intelligence. I agree that as future educators, we should encourage our BIPOC students to embrace their skin color and culture. It is of utmost importance to teach our students about diversity and the social issues that exist within various cultures and races. We must teach them about acceptance of other races and how to advocate for those who are marginalized. As health majors, it is our duty to promote every aspect of the health and well-being of our students and that includes their physical, mental, social, and emotional health. We must work to enhance and protect our BIPOC students’ well-being by aiming to dismantle the culture of white supremacy in our schools and in our very own classrooms. Planning something as simple as integrating diverse content into the health curriculum will give BIPOC students a sense of belonging as well as give exposure to students who are not so educated about diversity or social issues. Eliminating racism won’t happen overnight, but I believe the small efforts we make over time counts towards a better future for our students.

      Regards,
      Mimi

      Like

  38. Hello my name is Marissa Johnson, I am currently an undergraduate student in the Education Program at APSU in Clarksville, TN.

    Trauma is the least from a defined word, as many try to put trauma into a box, it’s nearly impossible to define. Dutro stated this greatly, “Trauma is both the weightiest and flightiest of words heavy with the certainty of hurt, loss, pain, despair, violence yet afloat on the breeze of ambiguity of meeting and implication” (2017). No trauma is more important than another just as no one person’s trauma is bigger than another’s. As a student of color, myself I can say I was not properly educated about me, my culture, my race, ethnicity only about the basis of “our history” personally I can say this created a lot of trauma for me. I felt as though I was disconnected, as a preface I was and am still being raised in an all-white home. With this being said, trauma from my in-school experience was heightened because I depended on the place that educates me to educate me, not just scholarly but also personally. As I grew older, I noticed my lack of education about my culture and race even more, I was teased about that which only brought more trauma. Within the past five years I have seen the rise of racism, bias, and discrimination towards not only the black community but all mixed race, latinx and Muslims. I knew I had to do something to better educate myself on my own, not only for myself but for others, to educate and spread the word about racial injustices. When reading these articles, I learned more about how these issues inflict trauma on children in and outside the classroom. Trauma informed teaching practices was a personal aspect to me, I know what it feels like to be miss informed or belittled because of your culture or race and the lack of education about these things. Trauma informed teaching practices include those students suffering from trauma and the assurance that the classroom and even outside the classroom are safe spaces for the student(s) to learn and heal. The intersection between trauma informed instruction and anti-racism education spaces for our students is the ability for our classrooms to be safe places, to heal or learn to cope with trauma, it is a gentle and long process. We must make sure our classrooms are places for these things to take place this includes open conversation about trauma, racism, injustices, current issues, and understanding of our peers. While it’s important to nurture and help those students going through trauma and/or trying to heal from a trauma you must as well educate those that aren’t understanding of trauma, racism, discrimination, etc. and how to help. I also see it almost more important to take time to personally speak to your students, about how you can better make your classroom a safe place or just listening to these students’ stories. With trauma comes fear, you must allow your students time and patience to process and tell their stories to better understand and better their experience in the classroom. Dutro 2017, Golden 2020 and Simmons 2020 a and b, all harp on the importance to educate students on the importance of trauma not only to educate but hopefully stop the spread of reinstating trauma, as well as fixing the racial injustices and discrimination in schools to in turn, slow the rate of trauma in children. As a future teacher I have learned approaches I can take to better understand students’ traumas, to include speaking up for these children, making sure my students are comfortable and feel safe in my classroom, and paying attention to triggers and educating the whole classroom on racism, bias, discrimination and the truths behind issues our history books don’t touch on. “Social Systems may produce a real or perceived safety for some while it dispossesses others of necessary resources (e.g., Housing, healthcare, education)” (Golden 2020). With this being said, as educators we hold a large responsibility to build a safe place for our students, when most go home to unsafe homes, or even no home at all. While the world may not protect, educate or accept our students for their authentic selves, we must be examples of hope and understanding, as well as offer resources to better our students.

    References
    Dutro, E. (2017, May). Let’s Start with Heartbreak: The Perilous Potential of Trauma in Literacy. uwyo.edu. https://www.uwyo.edu/education/lrcc/conferences%20and%20events/fall-literacy-conference/files/speaker-materials/dutro.la0945.let_sstartwithheartbreak.pdf.
    Golden, N. The Importance of Narrative: Moving Towards Sociocultural Understandings of Trauma-Informed Praxis. Bank Street Occasional Paper Series. https://educate.bankstreet.edu/occasional-paper-series/vol2020/iss43/7/.
    Simmons, D. (2020, June 5). Confronting Inequity / The Trauma We Don’t See. The Trauma We Don’t See – Educational Leadership. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may20/vol77/num08/The-Trauma-We-Don't-See.aspx.
    Simmons, D. (2020, June 5). If we aren’t addressing racism, we aren’t addressing trauma. ASCD In Service. https://inservice.ascd.org/if-we-arent-addressing-racism-we-arent-addressing-trauma/.

    Like

    • Hi Marissa,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and being transparent about your own experiences with trauma in the school setting. I agree with you in that, when someone tries defining trauma they like to fit in a box and then forget that everyone experiences trauma differently. Keeping an open definition about trauma will help us understand trauma better and equip us to help our students better. I also loved what you had to say about helping our students with their trauma. It is a good reminder that students will need time to open up and talk about their trauma. While we wait for our students to discuss their trauma we still need to creating a caring classroom environment where students feel like they can speak about what they have been through. Although teaching our content area is the main goal, building relationships with our students and allowing them to have a voice in the classroom is also our responsibility. Being a teacher makes us an educator, mentor, and therapist. We can only be these things if we create a caring classroom environment where our students feel free to discuss topics outside of our content area. Thank you again for sharing you thoughts Marissa!

      Like

  39. Hello Everyone,

    My name is Jasmine Ortiz and I am currently attending California State University, Long Beach. I am currently on the path to obtain a single subject teaching credential in science. After reading the article, “If We Aren’t Addressing Racism, We Aren’t Addressing Trauma” I made some revelating connections to my own life. I am a light skinned Mexican American. People have always had the impression that I am white, it isn’t until they hear me speak fluent spanish that they realize I come from a latin background. The reason I bring this up, is because I have experienced both the privileges and disadvantages of white privilege. I can recall one specific situation in which this occurred. At the start of middle school, my parents decided to move me to a new school. My teachers knowing nothing about me, automatically made assumptions about me based on my skintone. I had the privilege of never feeling like I was judged by my school administrators, and I never felt like I did not belong. Weeks went by, where I believed I was a genuine part of the school. Back to school night changed everything. When my teacher met my dad, who only spoke spanish and is darker in skin tone, she seemed surprised that I spoke a whole other language. Slowly but surely I began to feel that I was no longer considered “one of them”. Teachers became more distrusting of me, after they learned about my ethnicity. They went as far as to send me to the principal’s office on the grounds that I had taken a classmates, a white classmates, cell phones. When the cellphone was recovered no where near my belongings they said “We will still keep an eye on you”. I felt so humiliated, I had just been accused of stealing, when a few days before that would have never crossed any of my teachers mind. I find it interesting how quickly the roles changed. As educators, if we don’t acknowledge the existence of white privilege and racism in our classrooms we are just making the situation worse. Reading the article helped me connect to a horrible experience, that I wish to prevent by being a culturally responsive teacher.

    Best,
    Jasmine Ortiz

    Like

    • Jasmine, I am so sorry that you went through that, they had no right to treat you that way. But thank you for sharing your story as it makes me feel a deep desire to be more aware of my own biases, and make sure that all of my students are treated with respect and dignity. You went through something no child should have to experience at the hands of people who should have provided you with support.
      I have a professor who loves to say we become teachers because of those who taught us. He says we either do it because we were inspired by the teachers who taught us, or in spite of the teachers who mistreated us because we want to create something better.
      I can already tell you are working towards making an incredible environment for your students where they feel safe and loved.

      Like

  40. Hi everyone! My name is Faith Nelson and I am in the Single Subject credential programs at CSULB.

    These articles touched on the nuances of trauma-informed teaching practices by making it clear that this approach is much more than just a list of strategies that can be effective in creating more equitable educational environments. Two articles that pointed to problematic aspects of certain trauma-informed instruction, are “If we aren’t addressing racism, we aren’t addressing trauma”, by Dr. Dena Simmons, and “The Importance of Narrative: Moving Towards Sociocultural Understandings of Trauma-Informed Praxis”, by Dr. Noah Golden. While recognizing the part that trauma plays, as it applies to inequity in schools, this acknowledgement is not enough. Educators must go beyond theory and actively challenge ideas and systems that traumatize young people.

    Simmons addresses the connection between racism and trauma, asserting that educators cannot be truly trauma-informed unless they are anti-racist. She points to the shallowness of trauma-informed work that doesn’t confront white-supremacy in social structures outside of schools, as well as in the classroom, when she says, “If not, we’re not really doing equity work, and we’re not really trauma-informed or trauma-sensitive. we are just saying we are. We’re just maintaining the status quo . We are just making ourselves feel good.”(Simmons) To be concerned with providing a safe environment for students who are vulnerable to the ongoing aggressions that People of Color face, means doing the sometimes-uncomfortable work of self-reflecting, and interrupting the forces that claim whiteness as the standard.

    Golden speaks of the environmental aspects of trauma, and how when it comes to trauma informed teaching, certain approaches can be problematic. He asserts that certain models ultimately place the burden of dealing with trauma on the young person, when he says, “The reductive biomedical model locates the problem to be solved within the learners themselves.”(Golden, 72) If the focus of trauma-informed teaching is only to help young people regulate their emotions, and ignores the fact that systems, without and within educational spaces, continue to traumatize them, then this type of instruction is not truly supportive. An ecological model of trauma-informed teaching recognizes the systems that create traumatic conditions and seeks to create supportive environments that give young people space to voice their stories.

    Both of these articles make it clear that so much of the work of supporting students from a trauma-informed standpoint involves building relationships. This takes a level of vulnerability on the part of the educator. We need to be willing to check our biases, make mistakes, get uncomfortable, and really listen to our students.

    Like

  41. Hello everyone!

    My name is Karen Mercado I am currently attending Cal State Long Beach and I am enrolled in the Single Subject Credential program for Music. After reading through the articles, it has become apparent for me to understand that trauma is not a word to take lightly. As stated by Dr. Golden’s article, “Trauma can ‘include both large-scale, collectively felt events… and small-scale, personal experiences—of loss, violence, displacement, and oppression,” (Durto, 2017). There are a series of social and personal factors to take into consideration when talking about such a heavy topic. With that, I also agree with Dutro’s explanation of trauma being both full of feeling and at the some time malleable to understand it’s exact meaning. As educators, it is evident enough that our students do not come as an empty slate. They are filled with experiences, personality, emotions, that will ultimately perceive them to you as their mentor. This reminds me of what Dr. Golden also states, there are both environmental and systematic factors and value meaning-making process in the youth…” (Golden, 2020) As a teacher, it’s evident to understand that one will be a small part of a students life, and the way one approaches and formulates the environment of the classroom, can especially be the basis of a student’s youth and perception of the world. Trauma informed instruction provides us with understanding that students can have difficulties in the classroom focusing, learning, or overall being a part of the community of the classroom. It’s clear that one can’t directly exactly come with a solution for a student’s comfortability in the classroom, but it’s most evident to hear their narrative. Using trauma informed instruction helps us create anti-racist educational spaces because it provides student a platform to live part of their lives in a safe environment by building community bonding in the classroom and daily procedures to provide structure for students. Students will understand that by practicing the procedures in the classroom can also be reflective to how they can healthily form new relationships outside of the classroom.

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  42. Hello, my name is Mimi Nguyen and I am currently pursuing my Health Education Teaching Credential at Cal State University Long Beach. There is a common theme across all of the recommended readings and that transparent theme is trauma. From the reading titled, “The Importance of Narrative: Moving Towards Sociocultural Understandings of Trauma-Informed Praxis,” we learn that trauma can come from large-scale collectively felt events or small-scale personal experiences. When we think of our individual traumas, we think of events in our lives that have caused us mental and emotional suffering. The readings that resonated the most with me were the articles by Dena Simmons titled “Confronting Inequity/The Trauma We Don’t See” and “If We Aren’t Addressing Racism, We Aren’t Addressing Trauma.” The idea of BIPOC students masking their trauma and pain is one that I believe is not uncommon. For example, I grew up in an ethnic culture where mental health held and still continues to hold a stigma. When I was a student in secondary school, I experienced having to mask my trauma because that was what taught in my Vietnamese household. After reading these articles, I learned that it is of utmost importance for educators to be trauma-informed, especially for students who are not able to express their trauma. Dena Simmons discusses how educators must commit to racial justice and practice anti-racist pedagogy in the classroom in order to help their students heal. Some courses of action that she mentions in her articles include engaging in self-work and understanding our individual privilege in order to prevent abusing power amongst our students who already feel powerless. I learned that it is crucial to not retraumatize students by showing pictures or videos of violence against BIPOC. The author suggests that it is more important to focus on teaching students how to become critical thinkers so that they may critique the media’s effects on social issues. Next, she encourages the reader to use an anti-racist lens to critique the curriculum and policies implemented in schools. Furthermore, she points out that it is crucial for educators to create opportunities and safe spaces for students to freely express their feelings. By providing them with resources and activities that promote self-care, students feel supported and allow themselves to begin the process of healing their trauma. The writings by Dena Simmons were incredibly powerful and insightful for readers such as myself who intend to pursue a career in teaching.

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    • Mimi, I love that you are already thinking through and applying what you read to your future pedagogy. I also think creating a safe space for students is one of the most important things we can do as educators. By allowing all students to be heard, represented, and understood, we as teachers are better able to not only understand students but provide for their needs whatever they may be. As you also stated, we cannot just avoid racist pedagogy, but must also pursue actively anti-racist pedagogy that engages in speaking truth and valuing all cultures and perspectives. Thank you for your post.

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  43. Hello everyone,

    My name is Kenneth Ramos and I’m currently enrolled in the Single Subject Credential program for english at CSULB. The authors defined trauma as the larger sociocultural effects that individuals experience which negatively impact them. This may happen in overt, egregious ways but may also marginalize individuals in systematic, subtle ways that that cause harmful psychological and pathological effects for those that are affected. These negative effects can manifest themselves psychologically, emotionally, and through students’ behavior. There are typical manifestations of one thinks of as trauma, but can also take on manifestations not perceived as normal, such as individuals who become high achievers and had to overcome an incredible amount of barriers to do so. I learned that trauma is manifested in all sorts of ways and it may not always be completely obvious. For educators, it’s important to be aware that students are affected by a wide variety of external factors through the way in which our society is set up. Educators have to really get to know their students, support them and provide for their unique learning needs. The intersection between trauma informed instruction and anti-racism is that many instances of trauma are a result of racist practices and policies. By addressing the trauma of many students, we are also engaging in anti-racist practices as to fully understand the trauma of many students, educators have to make a greater effort to understand the racist system and practices that cause students to experience their different forms of trauma. As a student, I also find myself being challenged by the racist, patriarchal, white supremacist practices of our society. It is a difficult space to challenge these ideas personally, but also be involved in society at the same time. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also realized many of my peers in school were experiencing their own forms of trauma although I could not completely see it or they were unable to express it at the time. In a way I feel that I’ve experienced my own forms of trauma as being an individual of color and coming from a low-income background, but its important to remember that the society we live in affects all of us in very different ways and it’s important to be more cognizant of that, while I try to move forward as an educator.

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  44. Hello, my name is Pedro Valle Jr., and I am a student in Cal State Long Beach’s English single subject credential program. Trauma informed instruction helps create anti-racist spaces by going beyond addressing stressors caused by racism and confronting white privilege. In her article on inservice’s website, Dena Simmons insists that educators must step out from a passive role to deliver instruction that is truly equitable. She declares that “To ensure that all children, especially black youth, have the privilege to live full lives, educators must confront racism and the resulting trauma from it”. In Simmons’ article on the Educational Leadership site, she explains how this trauma extends beyond overt racist actions and takes the form of a neighborhood a child grew up in and their experiences there. Expanding one’s understanding of trauma and how it may display itself allows an instructor to address deep-seated trauma that has taken root in plenty of students while creating a space that is comfortable and responsive to the student’s background.
    One way of creating trauma informed instruction is to recognize that many signs of trauma go beyond being physical and easily identifiable. Simmons recognizes that trauma can manifest itself through overworking, a behavior that would typically be met with praise and not subject to question. Identifying this type of trauma is crucial to educators creating instruction that is truly trauma informed instead of focusing on more typical characteristics. Increasing awareness of how trauma can display itself allows an instructor to create and maintain an anti-racist environment by opening their eyes to struggles typically exclusive to minorities. Using Simmons as an example, one can see that her overachievement was likely to be praised with instructors paying no mind as to why she worked so hard and whether she had a healthy reason for doing so. This made it so her trauma was defined in a manner that led to it not being recognized nor treated.

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  45. Hi. My name is Ramon and I’m in the single subject credential program for Social Studies at Cal State University Long Beach. I read both articles by Dena Simmons and I agree with both of her arguments. Regarding trauma, Simmons states, “Our responsibility is to create policies, practices, and school environments that do not traumatize or retraumatize our students.” As an African American male, I feel this sentiment should extend to police in our schools. Similarly to Dena Simmons, I grew up in an under resourced community were gangs and drugs were prevalent. However, it wasn’t the gang violence, fueled by poverty and drugs, that were at the center of my trauma. It was the constant harassment by the Long Beach Police Department that made me fearful to go to the liquor mart for candy and sodas or to the video store. As educators, if we are truly committed in generating a safe and secure learning environment for ALL students, then that means eliminating the possible triggers for students of color. For me, that was a constant police presence where my rights were constantly violated and I was haunted by the thought “is today the day I don’t make it home?” This connects to Dena Simmons’ article on addressing racism in which Simmons writes, “Just imagine the damage done to our Black students’ psyches when, at school, they are made invisible in academic content and yet blaringly visible through oversurveillance and policing. And what do white children learn from these very same triggering images of Black death and the white-centered curricula that dominate many of our nation’s classrooms? They learn how to un-see and devalue Black lives.” In truly advocating for trauma informed instruction and being actively anti-racist, there needs to be a commitment to dismantling the structures and organizations created by white supremacy. That needs to include police in our schools.

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  46. Hello! My name is Renee, and I am a secondary social science credential student at Cal State Long Beach. While reading Jones and Spector’s work “Becoming Unstuck: Racism and Misogyny as Traumas Diffused in the Ordinary”, I was taken back to my own upbringing, and the unfortunately and unjustly justified use of racial slurs, stereotypes, and generally biased ways of life many of us observed, or may have taken part in, as adolescents and children. The reality is that race, racism, racial power and the perpetuation of these concepts in American society specifically, and broader society as a whole play an undeniable role in the ways in which racism is brushed off and thus perpetuated as something BIPOC should just “get over”. The same goes for misogyny. Kids, and even teens, may not realize the bigger systems and attitudes they were brought up in or inadvertently play into if no one talks to them and teaches them about the many systems and powers in our society. In my opinion, and in my philosophy as an educator, schooling should take a reconstructive stance in society. To use our influence as educators to reconstruct society to be more equitable, understanding, and thus unabashedly break away from racism and misogyny can and will do nothing but benefit society. And how can we expect society to become more equitable if we do not teach the future generations the histories of the world for what they are, not brush past them.

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  47. Hello everyone, my name is Teddy. I am a student currently enrolled in a Single Subject Credential program at CSULB for Physical Education.
    As Simmons (2020) stated, trauma is defined as the challenges one experiences due to racial injustices in an unsafe neighborhood. The effects of trauma can have an immediate negative impact on young people’s mental health and sometimes be long-term. The author remembers when she had to vomit almost every night due to the fear of being a person of color. She recalls that being born in an unsafe neighborhood from time to time, racial-based killings, poverty, and racial policies impacted her negatively. Simmons (2020) categorically advocates for racial equity to guarantee to cure trauma that derives from whites taking advantage of the people of color. Children today bring many life stressors into the classroom as they face toxicity and adversity outside of school. One of the critical aspects I have learned in these readings is the importance of trauma-informed teaching practices. Trauma-informed teaching is imperative in informing on how to cope and deal with society-based traumas. Over the past, the trauma resulting in racial injustices on men and women of color has been overlooked. The trauma-informed teaching practices help educators understand the students’ trauma-based challenges and devise a superlative approach to mitigate them (Jones & Spector, 2017). As a future educator, I believe that providing equal opportunity for all the students makes it easier for all students to succeed, regardless of their needs. Access to quality education and support should be a universal right to all.
    Another important aspect from these articles is the intersection between trauma and informed instruction for anti-racism—the redefinition of approaches to curb racial-based traumas. As stated in Golden (2020), most traumatic experiences go unnoticed, while some are under-reported or never reported at all. Redefining the approaches is essential in curbing the short and long-term trauma challenges. According to Dutro (2017), educators should take center stage to advocate for racial equity to curb the challenges that result from racial-based traumas. The educators interact with the racial-based traumatized learners, thus understands the challenges the scholars undergo (Dutro, 2017). The trauma-formed instructions will enable the policy-makers to make policies to safeguard the learners of color against race-based-trauma that stands in the way of their school performance. One critical connection established is the impact of trauma on learners and how they generally impact learners’ wellbeing. The toxic stress that results from trauma on learners of color impacts them harshly. As Simmons (2020) puts it across, the racial uncertainties adversely learners’ settlement.

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  48. Hello everyone, my name is Nicole and I am currently enrolled in the Single Subject Teaching Credential Program for Visual Art at California State University, Long Beach. I’m excited to get to know you all through this platform!

    In the readings listed above, the authors defined trauma as something that exists beyond the pathological after-effects of trauma-related experiences. Trauma, along with traumatic experiences, can be fueled by personal, local, national or global events—as well as systemic oppression, racism, the environment, the dominant culture, and so on. More often than not, the locus of trauma and the key towards healing is not located solely in the individual (although it has become internalized as such)—but rather out in the world in which the individual responds. As educators in the classroom, we must acknowledge trauma as a smaller part of a larger ecological system. Trauma is also not fixed; meaning, trauma can only be understood when a witness (such as a teacher or someone who comes into frequent contact with a hurt individual) interacts with that person’s experience by way of storytelling and meaning-making. It is also important to note that trauma is not defined by the storytelling approaches or counter-narratives that one expresses in response to their trauma. A sociocultural and holistic perspective is much needed when ways to divert the focus away from a deficit approach (i.e, a student who is ‘damaged’ because of their experience) towards an appreciation of the ways in which we interact with trauma narratives and their potential for healing, reflection, growth, and resilience.

    As a future art educator, I strive to learn more about my student’s experiences in order to provide curricular content that actually matters to them. Art is a modality for expression and creativity, and I hope to design lesson plans with the specific intention of cultivating identity and narrative-based viewpoints that are unique to each student as an individual. It will be my job to listen before making assumptions about my students’ life experiences and socio-cultural backgrounds. The act of listening can be radical in and of itself providing a platform for student-generated dialogue based on topics that are directly sourced from life-events. In return, I vow to share my own vulnerabilities in solidarity and appreciation of my students’ voluntary and meaningful participation.

    I often wonder how this practice will actually look in my classroom. Over the last year via distanced learning, there has been much talk, theorizing, and discussion-based approaches to these issues. I have a hard time picturing how I will go about becoming a holistic educator and embrace the narratives and counter-narratives that my students will bring to the table. I wonder how I will fair emotionally in the face of student narratives that are heart-wrenching. I can say what I want to do with ease, but how will this look when I am actually in the classroom? Distanced learning has been challenging because I have not had the opportunity to partake in classroom observations. For the time being, the best I can do is have faith in my abilities and turn to my community of fellow future educators for guidance and support.

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  49. Hello, My name is Eduardo,, and I am a single subject creational student at Cal State Long Beach, While reading Simmons if we arent addressing racism, we aren’t addressing Truama, i belive as a teacher i realized we don’t really know what students are going through in life. Students can be leaving a dangerous home environment, and are especially stressed about their surrounding. Therefore we as teacher must be more understanding and compassionate with students when inside the classroom, we should also attempt to model good behavior and excert virtue as professionals. Especially for students of color, who are having trouble navigating academic life and home life. we should also do our best to support them in their academic career. But i disagree with attempting to push healing down on them, i don’t believe teachers are equipped to handle such a task. The racial justices in society should stay apart from the classroom, as teachers and educators we should be aware of the current issues but i believe we have a responsibility not to involve ourselves. We should respond to question when asked but we are educators not culture warriors, we can’t add more fuel too the fire but stoking up students on complicated issues.

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  50. Hello, my name is Felicia. I am enrolled in the Post-Baccalaureate Teachers Licensure program at Framingham State University. What I learned about trauma, in reviewing these articles, that it is collective, it is personal, it is ecological, and it should not be dismissed, particularly in the classroom. The idea of a trauma-informed pedagogy shows me the importance of the education of the whole child. This is particularly necessary as our students are being educated in a climate affected by a pandemic, subsequent quarantine, and consistent images of the reality of racial injustice. Our students have been subject to our collective trauma with honestly nowhere to go to get away from it. As educators, we must be mindful of this, especially as we move towards reopening schools. We, as educators must be mindful of this and respond appropriately in a way that best benefits the child.

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    • Hi Felicia,

      I totally agree with you. Trauma can be a mixture of collective, personal, and ecological experiences that should not be dismissed. Like you mentioned in your discussion post trauma is so common in our world that our students don’t know where to go to get away from it. With our trauma informed pedagogy, we should be able to make our classrooms a safer learning environment for our students.

      Best,
      Jasmine

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    • Hi, Felicia

      I agree with you, “The idea of a trauma-informed pedagogy shows me the importance of the education of the whole child.” “We teach people” it’s my favorite quote from my Professor, Dr. Golden. At some point in our lives, we suffer some trauma, such as the death of a loved one or racial injustice. With the pandemic and the quarantine, as you mention, we all suffered some trauma, which will be reflected in us and our students’ mental health. Re-opening the schools is necessary; for us as future educators to help with the pandemic’s trauma. “Trauma-informed approaches may have the potential to offer generative and supportive learning opportunities for minoritized youth when grounded in environmental issues and socio-cultural understandings of trauma, its causes, and its effects.” (Golden)

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