“The idea behind the training is that things happen in all of our lives every day that have an adverse effect on us,” said Marcie Leonard. “That sometimes carries over and becomes negative behavior in the classroom.” The Graves County High School guidance counselor spoke about TICE (Trauma Informed Care for Educators) module training she and other counselors and administrators in the Graves County Schools recently completed, via the West Kentucky Educational Cooperative. “The TICE module training helps us understand that process and provides tools for teachers and counselors to understand, provide support, and become champions for these children in a tough world.”
Leonard continued, “Negative behavior normally is not meant as anything personal toward the teacher or the class. It might be something so simple as a student not getting enough rest the night before because maybe a parent is an addict or because the student went to bed hungry. I think the reason to learn about this is that when an event occurs in a classroom, we – as counselors – have the time to sit and talk with them more than a teacher does because the teacher still has 30 more students to lead. We counselors utilize it, but I think it’s a great resource for teachers as well.”
“I thought the training was very eye-opening, an excellent opportunity, and something we want our teachers to have as a resource as well,” said Graves County Central Elementary School assistant principal Alecia Ladd. “So, we are setting up times when the presenters can come into our school to meet with our teachers. I think this is important, because the teachers are the ones who face these situations on a daily basis. That’s where the rubber meets the road.”
Wes Johnson serves as in-school detention coordinator at Graves County Middle School. He said, “We discussed some factors that can influence how students’ thoughts and feelings can influence their behavior. Factors could be, for example, a student’s parents are getting divorced, drug use, certain levels of poverty, or even emotional or sexual abuse.
“There were several video segments they showed us in the training,” he said. “For example, here’s this girl who comes to school with her head down and we might just want to say, ‘Stop being lazy. Why are you sleeping in class?’ Little do we know, when this girl got home from school yesterday, she had to help her sibling with their homework. Then, she stayed up all night because her parents were fighting or she was afraid something was going to happen. She’s not getting the care she needs outside school and that is why she’s not performing as well in school.”
Johnson concluded, “The additional resource of services through the Mountain Comprehensive Care counselors our district has arranged has been huge for a lot of our students. Now, more than ever, that’s a great area of improvement for us. A lot of times, the old way of thinking was I’ll suck it up and move on or when you walk through these doors you need to leave your problems behind, but that’s an unrealistic expectation. We all bring parts of our lives outside school into school, including the adults. It’s just learning to deal with those issues in healthy ways and recognizing them. As for this training, I wish more of our teachers, bus drivers, and everybody involved with the students could learn to pick up on some of the ideas from this training. I think being able to see some of these reasons for behavior going into a situation would be a very important benefit for the teachers to use.”
Graves County Middle School in-school detention coordinator Wes Johnson is pictured here, monitoring hallways electronically. A significant aspect to his duties is working with students who act out in various ways. He was among a number of Graves County Schools counselors and administrators who recently completed TICE (Trauma Informed Care for Educators) module training, via the West Kentucky Educational Cooperative. “It was great for me because with what I do, it directly relates,” he said. “So, instead of saying to a student: ‘Okay, you’re acting this way, so this is your consequence and leave it at that, I can ask, ‘What’s happening? Is there something I can help you deal with?’ There’s more to growing up and educating a child than reading, writing, and arithmetic. It is emotional and as an educator, we have to focus our efforts to address those factors.”
(photo by Paul Schaumburg, Graves County Schools)