The Secret to a Trauma Informed Classroom

Want to know a secret? I have one phrase that supports everything I do in my trauma informed classroom. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, burned out, or just stuck, I go back to this…”holistic systems.”


So, what does that even mean?

A holistic system is one that supports students multidimensionally. It’s a system that brings clarity to the materials I put in front of my students, how I interact with stakeholders, and how I reflect on the day.


What are some of the touch-points of a holistic system, you ask? Here are some ideas that guide me when I reevaluate through a holistic system approach:

  • Incorporating meaningful social emotional components

  • Support targeted academic skills

  • Understanding lagging skills

  • Collaborative approach

I ask myself questions surrounding these ideas such as:

*Are the materials I am programming supporting targeted academic skills at students’ levels through a social emotional lens?


*Is the team supporting each lagging skill and scaffolding appropriately?


*Am I conferring with all stakeholders regularly?



By going back to this holistic system approach, I get so much clarity in my “why” and “what.” Why are we responding this way? What can I give this student to maximize all learning? Reviewing in this way allows me the permission to get rid of the stuff that just isn’t working, continue on paths that are, and invite other perspectives in the mix!


Holistic systems are so much more than this, though. A wrap around, holistic approach is everything from the week-long project that incorporates academic, SEL, and executive functioning skills, to the approach you use to communicate with parents. Every system you create for your trauma-supportive classroom must include these approaches.

The best news, holistic approaches reduce teacher burnout! It reduces the stress associated with way too many decisions, and always puts education and trauma supportive practice in an easy-to-accomplish lens.


So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, unsure of what step to take next, remember holistic systems!


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