While it is helpful to have a focus on a school wide/district wide effort toward 21st Century Learning, it is equally if not more important for each educator and administrator to be engaged in actions that are in alignment with and fulfill their personal mission. Perhaps reflecting on that mission and exploring how it integrates with 4 C’s (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking). When we don’t integrate new information with our prior knowledge we feel the stress of TMI (Too much information)!
Are you feeling stressed and burnt out?
How do you feel about the progress of the students in your classroom?
What would your dream classroom look like?
Our Educational System is changing! Our world is changing! And our need and desire to keep up with these changes requires grounding in personal beliefs, understanding our emotions as well as how the brain and nervous system coordinate and interact to either inhibit or promote learning.
So, what does it mean to be “Trauma Informed”?
Becoming Trauma Informed is a process whereby an individual understands how adversity (ACES- Adverse Childhood Experiences) impacted their development as well as the development of students and families. Being “Trauma Informed” is an individualized process which requires self-reflection, self-awareness and an opportunity to process this reflection in a safe space where others can remain supportive and compassionate. Sometimes mental health support is necessary.
When we become more comfortable discussing adversity and understand the potential harm, the healing can begin. No more secrets… everything is out on the table.
The truth can be uncomfortable, but not acknowledging the truth can cause fear, anxiety and loss of connection to the present moment and to oneself.
Let’s talk about the Elephant in the Room
The truth is children have and are experiencing adversity, parents have experienced and are experiencing adversity and teachers and staff have and are experiencing adversity. When children act out, classmates and teachers experience adversity. When we hear stories about adversity a stress response is triggered. Secondary Traumatic Stress is a real problem in schools and impacts teacher and student health and wellbeing.
Some say “this is life”. Others wish we could snap our fingers and make it all go away…there is no doubt in my mind that most people would like to see ACEs such as domestic violence, murder, mental illness, divorce and sexual abuse go away. Each individual has their own perception of what an adverse experience is based on their own life experiences and the ages at which they had those experiences. To a young child who doesn't have the cognitive skills to make sense of the complex experiences happening in their world, a divorce can feel like a death, watching a scary movie can be horrifying.
Being Trauma Informed, sensitive and responsive builds community resilience and involves alignment with the 4 Cs.
What do you know about your story? How stressed out are you each day when you go to work? How does your stress level change throughout the day?
If you are a classroom teacher how many of your students have a history of trauma or toxic stress? How do they regulate their behavior? What are your strategies and practices for connecting with yourself and each of your students?
You are invited to contact me for more information or to schedule a coaching session where you can become Trauma Informed and more aligned with the values of (Self)Compassion, Creativity, Critical Thinking and Communication. Together we can co-create a plan where you can have the support you deserve to reflect and explore your purpose as an educator.