Tip ‘o the Hat to TIP!

I know I am late with this response but it was actually inspiring reading through other participants’ posts and hearing how they are implementing TIP in the classroom. This was a great seminar– it was useful to brush up on some terminology and reinforce my commitment to acknowledging and actively working to mitigate against the reality of trauma in our current climate.

I loved the meditation scripts that were used during our sessions and I plan to use them in my own class – starting classes off with brief mindfulness moments is something I began doing in Spring 2020 and the students expressed a lot of gratitude for this. Along the lines of *giving students control and choices* from the SCEER Framework, I am going to ask them to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of keeping their webcams on or off during our Zoom sessions – they know that I would like everyone to see each other’s faces, but I also understand this can enhance inequalities and I want them to be intentional about and have agency over their educational experience. I am also flexible with deadlines while introducing regularity into the structure and schedule of weekly discussion posts, doing my best to keep the course requirements and rationales above board and as transparent as possible (one of the things we discussed in the session was how hidden administrative requirements can retraumatize students who have had to battle the state for various social services). To this end, we will devote a full session to learning how to navigate Blackboard, CUNYFirst, email, etc, and work to create a climate where there are no stupid questions.

We always open synchronous classes with a brief check-in about how students are doing, and since I am lucky enough to only teach one class this term, I will also schedule more regular one-on-one sessions with students to help them through any more issues they may be experiencing. I will discuss my own self-care routines and make sure students are taking time to unplug and engage in reflective practices as part of their weekly schedules (some smaller assignments actually require this). I am also encouraging students to form bonds with each other outside of class through texting buddies and interactive discussion posts, which is more important now than ever as we remain physically distanced from one another.

Finally, I want to help students understand that TIP principles such as self-care and growth mindset are meaningful in themselves, but don’t go far enough when looking at society from a broader lens. The culture of trauma in which we live is exacerbated by a government that is defunding public education, pouring more money into the military and the police, and vanquishing humanities curricula. Finding ways to fight the system such as learning about and joining protest movements or community-based organizing can generate its own form of collective self-care – I can only care for myself before I care for others, but caring for others helps me care for myself.