This website is not an ordinary one; this is a website that speaks of something that is very dear to my heart: the hurt of another human being. Our students come to us with their own history, and it is a guarantee that somewhere in their lives they have been hurt. This website is for you, so that you hear my personal stories and the stories of others such that you become attentive to the cries and hurt of another person through an intimate understanding of what it means to go through or have trauma. Here in this website you will find stories, strategies, resources, and hope. Because trauma is something that can be healed by a simple yet profound awareness of our students’ hearts, literally and metaphorically. I hope you take something away from this inquiry, and I pray that you, by the end of this inquiry, become more attentive to the hearts and aches of others!
In becoming teachers, a number of potent facts begin to settle into our consciousness, one of which is that teachers will powerfully impact the lives of so many students. The primary topic of this website is trauma and how it manifests itself in the classroom and by extension: how do teachers help students make sense of or move beyond the trauma that they may have experienced? Furthermore, what are we to do if students experienced trauma, are unaware of it and are unable to identify them? My inquiry into this topic began with a concern about family situations and how negative familial relationships may manifest and communicate themselves in the classroom setting. It was a very real circumstance for me because my School Advisor quickly brought to my attention hard family situations in my own practicum classroom: divorces, relocation, absent parents, “traditional” parents, and parents focused on producing results as opposed to growth. Upon reflection it became more clear that my concern was not strictly with negative family relations, but the somewhat darker topic of trauma. Darker, not in the sense that it is “more bad”, but it is a situation that is easily overlooked and circumvented because identification of trauma requires a trained eye to see it. Yet trauma is a fearfully powerful thing.
Trauma is fearfully powerful in that it will hold onto our lives if it is left unaddressed. The soul, emotions, figurative heart does not move forward when the literal heart and nervous system cages you. Your physical body is literally working against you, and your brain does not let you process things properly. Research has shown that emotions have “an anatomical mapping in the brain necessary for survival” (Levine & Kline, 2007, p. 10). What happens then if these neurological responses are put off? For example, “In PTSD the frontal cortex is held hostage by a volatile amygdala. Thinking is hijacked by emotion. People with PTSD are very sensitively tuned to respond to even very minor stimuli as if their life is in danger” (Kolk, 2002). What happens then in a person’s life and perception of reality if their brain reframes every daily experience in fear, trepidation….. disappointment?