Time and Trauma

BreAnn FennellBlog

In This Post:

  • For some students, the end of the year can be a scary time.
  • Some students rely on the consistency of school for meals and stability in their lives.
  • A lot of times, students do not know how to express their concerns or worries, so they can tend to act out.
  • We need to see through behavior issues and look for the underline reasons students act out, so we can work to make our classrooms a safe place for students.

At the end of every school year, there are count downs, celebrations, field trips, and excitement…for most of us. When a student in our classroom comes from a traumatic place, the end of the year can be a very scary time. They may have a lot of questions in their minds about when meals may be available to them as the school provides consistency. They may be going to a summer program where they do not know anyone. They may be remembering a time where they lived in an unsafe home environment.

When we teach very young children, they often will not express these concerns in a sentence or a verse. Instead, we usually see an increase in behavior. The behavior that is shouting at us but we aren’t seeing beyond it as educators. What can we do to ease this transition, another transition that this child has no control over?

I send home information to families about resources like summer food programs, and keep my schedule as consistent as possible in the weeks leading to summer, but I feel like we can do more. How do you help students transition into the summer? Share your thoughts on Twitter using #MasteryChat and #TeachBetter. I wrote this piece in reflection and hope that we can continue to build connections with our students and make our classrooms a safe place.

7 Steps to Monday

By BreAnn Fennell

It’s Friday and I went to see the principal again.

I was hoping to stay after school.

Sometimes she’ll give me a snack. The extra crunchy crackers.

She sent me home on the bus.

It is noisy and I cover my ears and rock back and forth.

Humming a song I heard on the speaker at the library.

Someone throws a piece of paper, I don’t look back because Someone is always doing something on the bus.

Step one until Monday: Don’t get in trouble on the noisy bus.

I get dropped off at the house that isn’t my house. I am thirsty.

I swallow hard because I don’t want to be here. The kids at the house cry.

Step two until Monday:

Survive daycare by reading my favorite book and keeping out of her hair.

I get picked up but the sun isn’t sunny it’s the moon.

It’s cold, but I see my mom’s smile so I let my heavy eyes sleep in the car.

Step three until Monday: Let my mom sleep in the morning since she worked so late.

My belly makes it’s rumbling noise and I play a game.

I count how many jumps I can take until it growls again.

Lions like to growl too.

I picture a little lion waiting to get out.

Step Four until Monday: Get enough food to eat.

I close my door to all the loud yelling from my beautiful mom and that guy.

Step Five Until Monday: Doodle in my journal to keep my thoughts in a straight line.

When I wake up it is quiet and I am alone. I look for something to watch on TV.

I find all the blankets because I can almost see my breath.

Step Six Until Monday: keep my mind busy and stay warm.

Erase. Redo. Erase. Redo. Making my homework perfect. I smile down at my work.

She’s going to be so proud.

Step Seven Until Monday: Get homework done to get make my teacher proud.

Monday! Wow. WoW. Wow! It’s finally Monday.

I run through the hall.

They tell me to stop running, but I just can’t wait to see her.

I open the door and take a deep breath.

It smells like cinnamon and happy thoughts in here.

I can’t wait to learn.

I do my best to sit still so that I’m not a distraction to others, but my excitement keeps bouncing in around my brain.

My teacher gives me a hug before lunch.

The lunch is great, but I ate too fast so when I ran around my stomach did flip-flops.

That’s okay because I ran around and laughed with my friends.

I grabbed a hand and joined right in.

She reads a book to me after lunch.

It was to the whole class but she looked at me and smiled so I knew she thought I was an amazing listener and I smiled too.

We learn math next but it’s very troubling for me.

My eyebrows go into a point and there’s probably a question mark above my head like a comic book.

My teacher sees the invisible mark and comes over with a song.

We sing that song together and I remember what she taught me last week.

Pretty soon the whole class is singing the math song at the top of their lungs.

She loves me. I made it to Monday.

About BreAnn Fennell

Mrs. BreAnn Fenenll is currently a first and second grade looping teacher in Ashland, Ohio. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Ashland University with endorsements in Reading and fourth and fifth grade education. She will hold her MED in talent development from Ashland University August 2019. She has worked in both public and private settings with diverse student populations from birth through third grade. Mrs. Fennell is a published author of children’s books including Play? Yay! and Choose Your Cheer. She is a mom to two energetic boys. Mrs. Fennell is passionate about providing all children with an enriching and inquiry-based learning environment.