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Letting Stories Guide Us: How Stories Open Hearts and Heal Traumas

Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Nena Harris
Nena Harris

Need to miss a session? All sessions will be recorded and available to those who register.

With our world spiraling further and further into chaos, educators find themselves grappling with trauma’s effect on education. Over two thirds of our nation’s children have experienced at least one traumatic event by age 16, with one in seven reporting abuse or neglect in the previous year (SAMSA, 2022). How do we help our students to perceive the good, the beautiful, and the true in their education when their lives have been contrary to these virtues?

One of the wonderful powers of rich, redemptive stories is not only that they can guide us in our own healing journeys, but they can also provide us with ways of recognizing and empathizing with trauma in others. Our students, whether our own children or others whose education has been entrusted to us, might be coping with any variety of traumas that currently plague our current generation of students. As teachers, we might also carry our own traumas that shape how we educate and engage with our children and students. When we give space for stories to open our hearts to our own and others’ traumas, they can show us the way towards healing and a truly redemptive education for ourselves and our students.

Session Topics:

1) Giving Caged Birds a Song: The Story of Maya Angelou and Teachers as Vessels of Healing

2) Everyday Trauma, Everyday People: Stories in Wendell Berry’s Port William

3) Battling with Trauma: Hypervigilance and Dishonor in Homer

4) Membership in a Collective Trauma: How the Classics gave Martin Luther King, Jr. a Dream

5) The Trauma of Betrayal: Hamlet and Family Trauma

6) Modeling Empathy for our Children: The Courage of Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird

Join me on a journey of opening our hearts as we examine works that feature types of traumas, discuss ways of recognizing them in ourselves and our students, and contemplate paths of healing. Our time will include ideas for practical action steps as well as prompts for reflection and journaling for those so inclined.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022). Understanding childhood trauma. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


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