Educators are heart centered individuals who can be caught up in the “more is more” culture, however, at this time it is crucial to embrace a “less is more” attitude so that we can support students and colleagues who have experienced trauma. Trauma is like a wound and takes time and attention to heal; however, many individuals are currently experiencing prolonged and complex trauma which is causing their nervous systems to over or under react. Without mitigating the trauma response students can’t learn and teachers can’t teach! Educators are amazing, creative, and innovative, they lead with their hearts and know how to care for kids. Yet, many are grappling with how to support themselves, students, and colleagues who are experiencing episodic and prolonged trauma.
In this episode, Beth Kelley and Brooke O’Drobinak help answer some of the questions about trauma and provide ideas that teachers, schools, and systems can put into place to support both mental health and learning. Brooke and Beth are the co-authors of Teaching, Learning, and Trauma, Grades 6-12: Responsive Practices for Holding Steady in Turbulent Times. Educators owe it to themselves to take care of themselves right now, so that they can be a present and calm influence. Consider the following: How am I taking care of myself so I can take care of others? What are my daily rituals for starting and ending work each day? In what ways might I connect with colleagues? How can I apply the less is more strategy? In order to support students, teachers and leaders must lean into planning and setting priorities. Consider the following planning questions: How am I intentionally creating opportunities for human connection, particularly between students? How can I simplify processes and routines? What are my curricular priorities? How can I apply the concept of less is more? What can I cut down or cut back?
Beth Kelley, MA, LPC, is a psychotherapist, who spent most of her 18 year career in schools working as a school-based therapist. Additionally she owned a private practice, worked in community mental health, and as a clinical supervisor. Currently, Beth is a consultant for schools and organizations interested in deepening their commitment to caring for their most precious resource, their people…by developing more holistic, relationship based, human centered models.
Brooke O’Drobinak, MA, has been in education for more than 25 years at various levels. She is currently working in Aurora Public Schools. She served in school administration for the prior 13 years at a high-functioning, inner-city Denver high school. Her work is founded on the belief that students and relationships are at the heart of school communities. She also deeply values the critical roles that professional learning and leadership play in supporting all students, and their teachers.
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