I am in a school district where the community has is a large prison system, challenging drug culture and high poverty.  Needless to say our teachers and staff work with students who bring ACEs to school with them every day.  What I would like to have is 3-4 questions that can be asked in conversation to help teachers/staff "unpack" before going home after a day where a student was in crisis.  Ideally this would be facilitated by a school counselor or social worker.  In reality, this isn’t always possible.  My vision is for a colleague to be able to ask these questions to help a staff person leave the stress of the day behind or at least process the personal impact of a crisis event before leaving school.

Any suggestions on what those questions might be?  They need to be sufficiently simple to allow anybody to lead this process, yet deep enough to make a difference.

Thank you.

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It's a little pretentious for me to answer with all the real experts who pass by here, but a few things came to mind. One would be to suggest a body check, as in "are you carrying any of today's stress in your body right now?" "Let's take a minute to just say hello to that feeling or lack of feeling and be with it for a few breaths."  Another would be to do a breathing check "Are you breathing nice and deep into your belly?" I'm a tapper (EFT), so I would suggest a couple rounds of tapping on any issue that seems sticky.

We often do brief, 2 word check ins to start... "What 2 words best describe how you're feeling/doing right now?" " Happy and tired." This gives a great place to begin. Ask about self care- what are the staff doing for themselves today? What suggestions do you have if someone's neglecting that self care (easy to talk about, harder to do) and ask what they're looking forward to. Try to focus on the small victories of the day: maybe something as simple as a student showing up two days in a row for completing a homework assignment when they normally don't, things like that Little victories celebrated together can help navigate some of the stressful things it sounds like the staff are facing daily. Sometimes just an opportunity to spend a few minutes with coworkers will be enough, and others it might be too much. Lastly, I'd suggest doing some sort of mindfulness exercise to end the day, like a brief guided meditation or progressive muscle relaxation. You can find tons on YouTube or make your own! I think it's great that you want to do this for the staff! It will build a sense of togetherness and also really help staff with supporting each other, thus enabling better support for the students and so on. It will be great for the culture of your workplace overall! 

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Ingrid Cockhren  (ACEs Connection Staff)Carey S. Sipp (ACEs Connection Staff)
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