It is no surprise that COVID-19 has had an impact on everyone’s lives. It has been two years since the pandemic took hold of the world and forever changed the course of history. The impacts of its tight grip are now starting to be considered. The trauma everyone will collectively carry from this historic event is significant. Collective understanding of the human experience is healing. Enter: trauma-informed teaching.
Dedicated faculty members at Ithaca College have taken note of these very real impacts and are working to support their students’ education and attempt to heal their students’— as well as their own— overall mental health by centering trauma-informed teaching. There are only positive outcomes to being trauma-informed as it recognizes that everyone may be holding trauma and takes inventory of the individual and their life rather than equating them to a certain standard of being. Trauma-informed teaching does its best to avoid retraumatization by actively supporting students’ ability to have control, choice and autonomy.
In the past, everyone’s mental well-being has been pushed to the margins and productivity, output and retention looked to as a sign of health. This unsustainable way of life has been ripped apart and put on display due to the COVID-19 pandemic — perhaps the only good thing to come of such a horrific virus. The college’s efforts for adopting trauma-informed practices on campus include partnering with Inner Harbor — a program that provides ongoing support and education to grieving students, staff and faculty — and the JED Foundation which has aided the college in implementing different plans focused on supporting mental health on campus.
In such uncertain times, any kind of change is a loss that causes some level of grief. It is safe to say everyone is grieving. It is near to impossible for students, faculty and staff to perform at their best if they have greater needs that aren’t being met. That is why being trauma-informed is of the utmost importance for student success and allows faculty to curate a space for collective healing. By remaining open-minded to this method of teaching and taking it seriously, the college community is on the mend to being healthier and smarter, giving way to a better quality of life.