The COVID pandemic has resulted in rising cases of stress and anxiety nearly everywhere. Your students might be suffering from the effects much more than you think. Given the way that the coronavirus has forced children to spend long hours at home, those in less-than-ideal living conditions might be more at risk of abuse and violence.
How trauma impacts kids is knowledge that every single teacher must know. Here’s why that matters.
You’ll Know the Signs
If you know all about childhood trauma, then you can also recognize the signs that one of the kids in your international school classes might be subjected to abuse or violence. You can take steps to find out what help and assistance you can extend to the child. By being familiar with the signs, you can pick up on cues that might be too subtle for others to notice and provide the child much needed help.
You’ll Find the Right Approach
Knowledge of trauma can also help you choose the right approach when you talk to a child. You know what won’t work and why. You’ll know why the child reacts in a certain way in particular situations and whey they engage in behavior that may be deemed attention-seeking or disruptive in class. Knowing enough means you won’t have to waste your time getting angry. Instead, you can regard those actions for what they are: a cry for help.
You’ll Save a Life
Abuse has lifelong consequences. Kids with emotional scars grow up to be adults who often either subject themselves to a cycle of abuse because that is what they are used to, or they take on the role of the abuser. A kind and compassionate teacher, though, can prevent this from happening. Instead of becoming part of a cycle of abuse, the kids are able to live well-adjusted lives. That’s what teachers do. By helping a child escape abuse today, you change that child’s life.
You’ll Prevent Emotional Damage
There are plenty of forms of abuse and trauma. Some aren’t always physical. Knowing the signs of emotional abuse is often tricky. But with patience and a lot of heart, you can reach out to every kid in your class and ask them how they’re doing. Are they suffering from more than the stress and anxiety that the pandemic brings? If abuse is at the core of the problem, find ways to help the kids counter that abuse. Validate their existence. Tell them they matter. Do what you can to help build their self-esteem and confidence. That way, even with neglect and abuse, the kids can grow up to be self-sufficient, confident, and well adjusted.
You Make Trust Possible
Trauma keeps people from trusting others. Mostly because it can generate feelings of anger, self-doubt, and worthlessness. People who experienced abuse in the past are often full of anger and distrust. They don’t know how to communicate with others. They don’t know how to build trust. But these kids are just like everyone else: they only want validation, connection, and love. If you know the problem, then you can show them how to manage their emotions. Don’t miss the chance to turn moments into learning opportunities in class. Create positive interactions with these kids. By your example, they can learn that not everyone in the world is out to hurt them. They’ll know that they can trust you. They might not be there yet. But if they’re starting to trust you then they’re already on their way to changing themselves and their future.
You Help Make Them Happy
For kids who undergo trauma, happiness is a foreign concept. That’s because it’s the complete opposite of what they know. Suppose they’re in recovery and trying to turn things around, having your support and help can make a difference. If you can tell the signs, if you know who among your students are recovering from trauma, then you can extend a helping hand. You’ll know enough to show them that trauma doesn’t have to define their lives or who they are. You can show them that they don’t need to be tied down by their past. Whatever scar tissues the trauma left in their soul and personality, they shouldn’t be limited or restrained by those experiences. Instead, they should learn to be boundless, open to new experiences that can change their life. That’s one way they can find happiness.
How simple it would be if all teachers have to do is make sure their lesson plans are followed. But an effective instructor knows life is more than that. Knowing about trauma means you can teach the kids how to recognize the same in others and how to teach them the most essential of human tasks: kindness, appreciation, and compassion.