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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 6 Suspicion


As a loving parent, I tend not to get too frustrated when my kids are kids. Occasionally, they’ll do something unexpectedly boneheaded, and I’ll need to attempt to re-direct their behavior. Occasionally, they’ll exhibit some unpleasant negativity or some rude disrespect, and I’ll need to try to point them toward a better attitudinal path, but most of the time, these corrections are delivered with calmness and self-control because I made some terrifically boneheaded moves myself in years gone by – many more and in significantly greater severity than my own children seem to commit, so I am pretty understanding, and since my own attitude as an adult frequently needs some positive adjustment, I tend to be pretty amenable about that as well.

One disposition that, for some reason, really gets under my skin is when my children express a genuine lack of trust about something I’ve said. Maybe I am unique in this, but the sentence that most irritates me as a father is when my son or daughter says to me, “Now, Dad, you promised,” intimating that my word is now being doubted, that my promise cannot be trusted. Everything else just passes by like the proverbial water under the bridge, but this questioning, this suspicion causes real annoyance, and sometimes I have even been known to reply with biting sarcasm, something I almost never do understanding the hurt this can cause. Suspicion hurts, and when hurt, we naturally try to hurt back.

Even though it...

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