Tips of ice bergs

I'm expected to navigate a ship (the classroom environment, what I'm teaching, every member of the group's sensitivities) through a room full of ice bergs, and I can only see what's above the surface with no idea what's below. It's sometimes very difficult to ascertain students' personal sensitivities, backgrounds, and needs if I don't somehow create a space where students feel comfortable speaking to me about those elements of their personal experiences. I don't know what's below the surface, and I can't know unless students feel comfortable sharing.