Trauma invested education, part 1

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This will be a three part series to change the lense of current practices & movement toward trauma invested practices and bringing the human back into education. Join me along this journey.

I was first turned to Fostering Resilient Learners last summer as I had read the book Fostering Resilient Learners by Souers & Hall and wanted to support my students more. My school did this book as a campus book study during the 2018-2019 school year and I continued to follow both authors and jumped at the chance to attend the Fostering Resilient Learners institute in Tacoma, WA this week & enjoyed it. My hope is that my learning helps your journey to supporting all students along their educational journey. 

Starting with the word trauma can be a loaded term. Trauma has been defined some as being part of or experiencing violence as well as a wide variety of events that have changed from generation to generation. The truth of the matter is that trauma does not discriminate nor does it matter if it is violence or long term versus short term.

Copy of Trauma does not discriminate. It happens everywhere—across all races, religions, socioeconomic levels, and family systems. - Copy

Trauma is a word that affects so many of our students. Every single one of our students, I venture to say, have experienced some sort of trauma. It doesn’t have to be violence or abuse. It can be something that someone sees or experiences.  Trauma is also defined as an exceptional experience in which powerful and dangerous events overwhelm a person’s capacity to cope (Souers & Hall, 2018). Trauma happens. How we move forward and support students with trauma truly matters.

It does not take an event for students to experience trauma. - Copy

So the question is what are we going to do to move to supporting students with trauma?

First, we must understand that some practices that have been in education are actually trauma inducing to students and we must move past these. Souers & Hall discussed the four I’s of trauma and what they look like in classrooms today. Interestingly enough, Trauma invested is what we should strive for when seeking practices in our schools. I’ll be honest and note that trauma informed is something I’ve heard and read often. Invested, however, is a new ballgame for me. However, it makes sense when you stop and realize the nature of each of the four I’s of trauma.

The four I's of Trauma (1)

However, the shift from trauma informed practices to trauma invested practices is determined by the amount of staff willing to be consistent and determined to, not only, support students but to invest in this idea as a consistent practice. Trauma invested is something that takes effort, time, and every adult to be on board and transparent. Being transparent and reflecting upon my current knowledge, I believe my campus is at the trauma informed stage. We still have a ways to go and need to get everyone on board consistently. While the idea of supporting students through fostering resilient learners whole heartedly is there for some, it’s not all at the invested stage.

While I want to get there tomorrow, I understand that it takes time for every single adult to be on board. It’s something I hope we can strive for in the future. Take a minute to reflect on what your campus is doing and where you land on the four I’s of trauma.

Something that really resonates with me is the understanding that trauma invested practices are not something that’s a one size fits all model. It’s not a curriculum or workbook staff can complete to move on. It’s not on a checklist or grading document. It’s a practice that brings humans back into education. It’s the heart of schools to see students as individuals who have experiences along their educational journey and lives. It’s educators and staff understanding and investing in students every day as a whole. All in, consistent, and human practice all in.

Trauma invested

Bottom line, our students all experience trauma. How we act, respond, and move forward matters. Trauma is a word, not a sentence (Souers & Hall, 2019) and it’s time to bring the human practices back into education for the success of our students.

Only invisible can do impossible

Trauma blog imThis blog post is apart of the #pd4uandme July blogging Bingo
Image created by Pam Hubler 

 

 

You are their constant

Over my years in education, I’ve noticed something. Students come to us for love, education, support, and (some) consistency. Our students’ emotional well being depends on us being their constant day in and out. Every year, the last sentiment holds true whether students are in my classroom or in another class.

As educators, we can’t control what our students see outside the four school walls but we can try to keep the constant when they are in school. We can support THEM, encourage THEM, and celebrate THEM every single day. Are there days it is harder than others, of course! However your every action, word, and notion is noted in your student’s world. Some come to us for education and that’s fabulous. However, you have many that come to us for some much more and the time is now to clinch that responsibility. Love your students, support THEM, and be their constant.

Rita Pierson hits the nail on the head as she advocated for ever kid to need a champion. YOU can be someone’s champion today as they learn to figure out their lives in and out of schools. I truly believe our students come to us for a reason and that makes them champions in our hearts. Seeing their struggles, their triumphs, and their grace is amazing.

My students love must. It’s encouragement for them and a song they will replay. Our students get the music, they listen to it on their off time, and look up to so many artists just because of what they say. Why not find a medium for them to be encouraged through and with every day. Our students are CHAMPIONS every day. They overcome so much and, this year, we’ve found encouragement through this video.

Our students rely on US to be their constant every day. To love, to listen, to encourage, and to support THEM every day. Why not clinch this honor, rise up, and be their constant every day. THEY depend on it for their time with you. Be their constant every day!

Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be

 

 

Even on the toughest of days

It’s May! Teachers and students are feeling the warmer weather, the sunshine outside, and know the year is winding down. The testing season is among so many states, anxiety is through the roof for students and staff, and the end stretch is near. Changes in schedules and routines can throw the most regimented and scheduled student off. It’s that time of the year.Wherever you go, leave footprints of love, for those who have lost their way.

Even on the toughest of days, I try to remember that I am a constant for so many. I may be stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed but my students depend on me! I have to remain level headed even when they can’t. It’s easier said than done, I get it. However, think of entering a classroom or arena and having all eyes on you. It happens every day. Our students notice our every move and feed off our energy. What you can control will impact your students.

YOU are the constant for so many of your students. YOU make a difference every single day! Even on thee toughest of days, YOUR students depend on you and your ability to have their back and have them rise to the occasion every day! I know you are tired and stressed. But now is the time to be the constant for your students.

The final race is on! You are their constant. Own it and show it day in and out!

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Value the spark

Something I value when working with students is seeing their spark and ability to learn moving forward. Their acceptance of people makes me smile. Their tenacity, their will, their desire to know more, and their energy. They make me question what I do, how I teach them, and how I bring education to them. They make me who I am today.

Cherish the moments of light (1)
Educators have the ability to kindle the light of education every day. We see the light bulb moments, the struggle, the breakthroughs, and the victories. We get a front row seat to see amazing things happen and the journey through every journey. Do we value that, though? Do we celebrate and promote the GOOD we see every day just because? Do we value the spark that we cultivate and grow every day? If we do, fabulous!

If not, why not?

On the opposite side of those triumphs and flames are dedicated teachers who cheer on students every day. They kindle the light, give their heart and soul, and matter. You are not unnoticed. You provide guidance and support along the way. You are a vital part of that flame that we call education in the path of greatness. You are not unnoticed and WE, the educational community, SEE you! If you haven’t heard it in a while, thank you for kindling the flame of education and valuing the sparks around you!

Add it all together

Every single one of us have that potential to value the spark within and around us. It’s a choice yet is there for us all to grasp moving forward. It’s raw, real, and overwhelming. However, why not take the challenge? YOU have the potential to notice what’s around you and value the spark leading the way in education.

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The impact we make

difference

As educators, we support students and staff every day. We pour of hearts into our people and we hope we make a difference in their lives too. It’s the work of the heart every day. Planning, organizing, and caring about the people we work to make the world for. The moments come alive when we share with our populations on a daily basis.

Every day, we make a difference. Not just in the classroom or with students and staff; with the people that see our work of heart and difference on a daily basis. The activities, the smiles, the relationships we build, and the care in our heart. We make decisions for many and see the results in front of us and live. Does it always work? Ha! But we work to do better next time.

One of my favorite hats as a teacher is listening to my students’ stories and seeing their GRACE for me. In turn, they are difference makers in my life. Seeing their reactions, their excitement, and their love makes all the difference. Our students have the biggest hearts and, while they may not always show it, they care. They make an impact in our lives by the memories they etch into our hearts and minds.

Somewhere around you, others see, read, or hear about your difference and impact you make. They notice your excitement, your heart, and your impact, sometimes before you. They notice the passion that overflows when you light up and take matters into your heart. They notice the difference and often give sayings like “you are awesome” or “thank you for your work as a teacher.” Those sentiments matter in the lives of educators. They fill your cup and are stops along your journey.

Every day, we are making a difference in the the lives of our students and their path to education. The difference we share matters. The difference we give matters. We are making an impact every day. Every day, however, others impact us too. I challenge you to take into heart how others impact you every day and hold that tight. Making a difference is serious and awesome business. Make your impact today!

make your impact matter

The power of “I’m sorry”

Recently Aaron Hogan, writer and moderator of #Teachermyth, challenged participants to write about something you recognize you are learning this week. It could have been simple or profound. I recognized how an apology and owning up to my mistakes made my students see how human I really am!

Last Thursday, I discovered that I had made a mistake with my students after school while reviewing their daily point sheets. It was something that could be fixed and apologized for. However, I realized I needed to tell them “I’m sorry” and admitted to my six to eleven year olds that I was human. Their responses amazed me and I noticed that their words really impacted me.

I’m sorry…two words that can turn a conversation in a different direction. Admitting any mistake can be tough. However, when you apologize to students, they realize your heart is in the right place. They connect with you in a way you didn’t realize they could and they see the raw, real you of wanting them to know you care.

the power of _i'm sorry_
Every day, educators have students in front of them and hope to make a difference in their lives. Their words, your words, your heart, their hearts, and emotions are all at play. We all make mistakes. We’re human. However, having the heart to apologize to your students really makes an impact. Something I noticed when I apologize to my students is the connective piece. I get the “it’s okay” or “you made a mistake?” However, I want my students to see the side of me that’s not always right. The side that I make mistakes just like them. Owning up to my mistake wasn’t just powerful, it was REAL. They accepted my words, my apology, and my plan to move forward with them.

If we want our students to stand by their actions, apologize for mistakes, and live up to the challenge of life, we must do the same. We are human. We make mistakes & we must own up to them just like we expect our students to own up.

Think about a time you made an error or mistake with your students. Did you apologize? If not, I challenge you to the next time. Perhaps you can see the REALness of YOU being human in front of them. If we can’t own up to our mistakes, why should our students?

Cultivating my why with heart

I’ve had the best of both worlds through my years as a substitute, home bound instructor, and a teacher in different capacities. From preschool to high school, I’ve seen so much over the years and I am forever grateful for the experiences that have allowed me to know what I know and do what I do today.

This year I moved districts, positions, and felt the calling to come close to home. I accepted the position of a Social Emotional Teacher and behavior supporter for many. It’s a dream position as I love having a self contained unit to truly focus on the needs of students in a smaller setting. I also have the pleasure of supporting teachers to provide strategies for students to be successful in the general education setting. It is a dream come true. It has been so much new but I am learning how to cultivate my why every single day and this leads me to find JOY each day too.

Thinking of how I support students and staff this year and in years past has led me back to cultivating my WHY and HOW every single day this year. So many times, I get pulled every which way and am in the thick of things all day long. On those long days, I have to look back to my WHY and see those smiles, laughs, and good moments that make the day special. I could get caught up in the little things and negatives but that is just not my style. HOW I choose to cultivate JOY of every day matters. From smiles to laughter, it really makes my day.

Looking ahead, I want to cultivate my why and how every day. How I serve students and staff as well as why I choose what I do daily. I find JOY in supporting others and this leads me to cultivate my passion daily. It’s not always easy but it makes my day to do what I do!

Looking forward, I don’t do my profession for the recognition, I do it for the HEART!

Helping students
Every time
Achieve and
Regulate themselves (with support if needed)
To learn, grow, and acquire new knowledge daily!

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