The needs of students that have been traumatized has been a central focal point of educators recently. I would like to share a story about Annie to help illustrate the problems faced by traumatized students.
Annie is enduring some major life challenges. She is passed back and forth to different caregivers. Best case scenario is that she believes her mom is very busy. A more likely scenario is that she knows that her mom does not care about her at all does everything possible to have nothing to do with her. Adding to this situation is the fact that the other caregivers don’t care very much for her either. They feed her and put a roof over her head, but they too want very little to do with her. Her home existence is one of little contact with others, no love or support. The little contact she gets is negative reinforcement – which includes a great deal of yelling, frustration, and punishments. She struggles with academics. She struggles with behaviors. She is dying for even the smallest amount of attention, love and kindness. Somehow this student gets out of bed, takes an hour bus ride to school, and walks in the building every day.
Anyone who works with students knows an Annie. What does Annie need? Can a school provide the necessary care? What does Annie’s future look like? Are there more students like Annie now than there were in the past?
These are all important questions. I believe the most important thing that Annie needs is love and hope for the future. If Annie can visualize a better future, she has a chance to rise above her current circumstances. As educators, it is so important for us to help her in the now and prepare her for the future. You have the amazing power to be able to positively impact the life of a student. I challenge you to see past the tough exterior and help your own Annie!
Dr. Bryan Pearlman is the founder and head trainer at Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC (MostValuablePD.com). Most Valuable Professional Development, LLC, provides trainings and workshops in schools all over the country. They also provide online webinars. The company focuses on trauma, behaviors, differentiation, student achievement, and school improvement. To discuss your training needs, please contact Dr. Bryan Pearlman at 314-323-7340, bryan@MostValuablePD.com, or www.MostValuablePD.com.