I Keep Me Safe

"I Keep Me Safe." Risk and Resilience in Children With Messy Lives. Wright, Travis. University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2013  Phi Delta Kappan

Though we do our best to protect children from life's underbelly, bad things happen. Hurricanes, school shootings, divorce, exploding crime rates, economic downturns, child abuse, and acts of terror have become reality for many. Sadly, students are not immune from the chaos that often results. If a child worries that he is not safe or thinks the world is out to get him, growing up becomes a gauntlet to endure.

Trauma overwhelms one's capacity to cope. Given the potential for student-teacher relationships to positively affect children living in challenging circumstances, educators must think more deeply about how best to build relationships with these parents. Educators also must create academic and social opportunities that allow students with challenging lives to experience success and feel pride in themselves. There are no shortcuts, but consistency, a predictable classroom environment, a positive classroom   culture, and targeted instructional strategies will eventually make a difference.