The biggest problem is that the kids that hurt the most have developed behaviors that make it difficult for them to be loved or even make the most basic connections with adults. They are the ones that are most frustrating to teachers, cause the most disruptions, and require a disproportionate amount of our teaching time to manage their behavior. It's not easy to have a class of thirty kids, with 3-5 chronically misbehaving kids taking all of our attention away from the "real" instruction we're supposed to be providing. For so many of these kids, the struggle is having control and they will do whatever necessary to maintain control, even at the expense of embarrassment or consequences.
As an adoptive mom, raising a child from a very hurtful start on life, I've learned so much. There is no easy path to helping these children, and no easy answers. My husband and I learned very early on that it does, indeed take a village to raise a child and for our daughter, her village is very, very large. She's lucky.
As more is learned about the human brain and influences of stress, it's more clear that even neonatal trauma or stress can have profound effects on the lifelong emotional and behavioral life of a child. Very often, what seems like outlandish, defiant behavior is actually a symptom of PTSD, or related psychological issues.
While many of our students are not as fortunate to have the very large village that my child has, they are lucky to have US. For many students, school IS their village. If we approach behavior management from a place of understanding the behavior and helping these students manage their strong emotions, we can possibly avoid the downward spiral that prevents so many of these kids from escaping their circumstances through a meaningful education.
A letter from a teacher to parents about "that" kid in the class click HERE.
Article: "Schools May Be the Best Place to Address PTSD in Young People" article HERE.
A list of resources to help educators help students affected by trauma HERE.