Backpack, backpack… What’s in it?

As I have discussed in previous blogs, trauma is the largest public health issue facing our children (CDC 2019). When we think about a student’s backpack, we imagine them having paper, pencils, notebooks, crayons, snacks, or even some trinkets in there. But let’s imagine what else they are carrying into school with them… Some students may be bringing things in with them that we can not see.

For example, the student who was up most of the night listening to parents argue and fight. The student who must work to help his family survive. Or the student who is hungry and worried when or where their next meal is coming from.

We also have the student who is carrying around thoughts of depression, self-harm, low self-esteem, or anxiety. So many students are carrying these things around with them daily. It is important to acknowledge this because of how it can affect a student in your classroom.

Students can appear distracted, angry, sad, inattentive, disrespectful, irritable, etc. But these behaviors can be a result of what they are carrying in their backpacks every day. These children are prone to difficulty with self-regulation, negative thinking, being on high alert, difficulty trusting adults, and inappropriate social interactions.

Students cannot fully learn if they do not feel safe, known, and cared for with in their school. So let us all be mindful of what our students may be carrying. We truly may not know what they are going through when they are not in our classrooms.

Keep and remember this quote by Annette Breaux: “Nine times out of ten, the story behind the misbehavior won’t make you angry; it will break your heart.”

Martha Hollingsworth, LPC

Shopping Cart
error: Content is protected !!
Skip to content