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Students of Trauma

A Handbook for Classroom Teaching in an Environment of Suffering

Dan Shepherd

Students of Trauma: A Handbook for Classroom Teaching in an Environment of Suffering provides educators with real world strategies for working with students who have experienced trauma and who express that trauma through depression, aggression, anxiety, hyperactivity, and suspicion. This handbook, based on current educational research and on the experiences of actual teachers, provides practical guidance to individuals working in schools with hurting young people. What sets this handbook apart from other trauma-informed education texts is its emphasis on specific and direct actions and attitudes that teachers can take today to make a powerful difference in the lives of their most troubled students. Students of Trauma will be a helpful addition to the libraries of classroom teachers, their administrators, and those who train them.

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Chapter 4 Anxiety


I remember my youth very fondly, and I hope that you do as well. It really was a carefree time. My parents were not wealthy, but we always had delicious meals and a comfortable home. Yes, there was the usual kid stress related to making the basketball team or getting the right grades, but for the most part, childhood life was seemingly one long summer day. We’d get out of bed in the morning, have a quick breakfast, hop on our bikes, and spend the whole day just enjoying … everything. Baseball with neighborhood friends. Long exploratory walks in the woods. Cold lemonade. Petting the family dog under a shade tree. Sunshine and blue skies. Recently, I was thinking about the family station wagon. In that era of less focus on safety, a couple of us would climb into the far back. Usually, I never even asked Dad where we were going, and it certainly never occurred to me to question how we might be getting there. I trusted him and his judgment implicitly. There was nothing to worry about; I was in his capable hands.

Childhood is supposed to be that way, of course. A time of trust and contentment and protection and guidance. It is absolutely not supposed to be a time for worry and unease and apprehension. Yet, as previously explored, thousands of students in America’s schools struggle with anxiety every day. Perhaps because of some trauma that has gripped their family’s life, they no longer...

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