California Educator

December/January 2021

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 67

Y L E I S A S O P H O M O R E . His father strug- gles with substance abuse and has been in and out of prison. His mother died a year ago. Kyle, who witnessed domestic violence with his parents, has been evicted and is currently home- less. He is fearful of what will happen next in his life. "It's hard to concentrate," he shares. "I'm pretending that everything is OK. It's hard to share my feelings. I feel that whatever I say doesn't matter to anyone." Kyle is among students in California who have expe- rienced chronic trauma — trauma that is repetitive over time and includes homelessness, abandonment, neglect, violence, abuse and bullying. Symptoms of chronic trauma include lack of focus, loss of self-esteem, difficulty engaging with others, and being either overly emotional or unemotional, says Giniena Tan, a school psychologist trained in trauma-in- formed practices at Cerro Villa Middle School in Orange Unified School District. " We are seeing a lot more of this in our schools, at younger ages, and it certainly impacts their academics and social-emotional well-being," says Tan, a member of Orange Unified Education Association. "For students lacking resiliency skills, it impacts how they function at school. eir grades suffer. eir relationships suffer. ere is anger and depression. ey don't feel safe." Despite the negative impacts, there are ways educa- tors can help students dealing with chronic trauma and set them or keep them on a path to learning and growth. Here are a few. Feature How educators can help students experiencing chronic trauma By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Kim Sanford This story was reported and photographed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. K One of Kathleen Loyd's students points to his astronaut photo. to the Future Path A 30

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - December/January 2021