I Can’t Learn Like This

Trauma can come from many different events in a person’s life:

A death in the family, a car wreck, cancer, a house fire, loss of a job/financial burden, drug abuse, physical/sexual/verbal abuse or neglect, bullying… the list goes on.

Surely, if you’re reading this, at some point in time – you’ve felt the immediate devastation of waking up in the morning and for a blissful 2-3 seconds, everything is fine, and then reality sets back in – and that person has still just died, you still have no place to call home, or the person causing you daily pain is right down the hall. Whether or not it is temporary trauma or something that has been happening for years – you face this daily reality of your life within seconds of opening your eyes.

You know the feeling right?

You have felt that “morning after” reality feeling… the fight or flight mode of life. Imagine feeling that 24/7 for weeks, months, or years on end. Now be expected to tell no one, and sit in a classroom and excel – at 6 years old, 10 years old, 15 years old.

Is it possible? Maybe. But not likely.

Trauma generally spins in our brain like a bad song on repeat. When someone we love dies – all we can do is think about that person, until healing begins.

The thing about sexual abuse or physical abuse or neglect whether at home or by someone else, is that the trauma doesn’t end long enough for healing to begin. And unlike losing someone we love, it isn’t a natural part of life or grieving. Especially for a child, in order to heal, other resources have to be in play.

So every single day, children – 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys – try to sit in a classroom, expected to pass tests, when their head is replaying the nightmare that awaits them outside of that classroom.

In a world where teachers can lose their jobs based on test scores, classes are overpopulated, and there is virtually no time to slow down and catch up if you missed the concept, we are completely missing the fact that at some point in time around 25% of students have or will be sexually abused before they leave our education system.

I’ve worked in the school systems before. So many of the people I look to as mentors and friends still do. I hear their struggles. I know that 180 days feels like one thousand and eighty days and yet still, there is not enough time to do all of the things. Legislators pass laws for education without knowing the implications of those laws and provide virtually no resources to help achieve them.

Read. That. Again. (This is the problem)

You trust me when I say – I get it. But what I need you to hear, as an educator, as a parent, as an aide, principal, or counselor is this:

I was there. I was the girl sitting in the classroom, whose GPA dropped whole points within 5 months because of abuse. My entire world became solely focused on one aspect of my life: the abuse. Grades didn’t matter. Sleeping in class because I didn’t sleep at night, didn’t matter. Living a double life, keeping a secret that monumental – it takes work. And not a single person knew it.

THIS. This is why I come and talk to you about this curriculum. It isn’t for personal gain. I volunteer my time and my words and my effort because it’s IMPERATIVE to teachers having successful students and students living a successful life. I know completely that they. will. not. learn. if they are constantly fearing their reality outside of that classroom of being abused.

I know you have no time left. I know there are already monumental expectations placed on you by people who don’t know what they are talking about.

I’m not one of them. I don’t know everything but I know this: Learning how to keep yourself safe from a young age and that abuse is unacceptable and that you DO have power to stop it, is vital to that kid sitting in your classroom that you’ve been wondering about or the kid whose life is good now, but may not be later.

It’s time we make the time. Let me help you do it.

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