This school year I’ve asked educators to consider what they’d like to move away from and what they’d like to move towards as they continue to build trauma-sensitive schools. Many have shared that they would like their teams to shift from reactivity to intentionality in their trauma-sensitive practices. I have responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes, let’s do it—together.”
Let’s Move From… To… in Our Trauma-Sensitive School
First, I encourage you to discuss the “Let’s Move From… To…” prompt with your teams! Consider using a visual like the one below if you want to.
Guiding Questions for Trauma-Sensitive Change
After naming your big intentions, these guiding questions for trauma-sensitive change can help you establish your next steps.
- How do we go about doing this?
- Where do we begin from here?
- What human and program strengths can we build upon?
- What barriers are we aware of, and how might we address them?
- What short- and long-term goals are we ready to set now?
- How will we know when we’re getting there?
- What will we do in response to our progress?
- How will we know if we’re not reaching our goals?
- Then, what will do about that?
- And, most importantly, how do we take good care of all our people along the way?
While we can’t rush this work, we also can’t delay it because youth and adults are harmed in schools every day. It’s our responsibility to stop and prevent that trauma. Simultaneously, we must also actively meet the needs of our people in response to big stress, no matter where it’s rooted, so that everyone can feel safe, be connected, get regulated, and learn.
If This Feels Like a Whole Lot…
lIf this feels like a whole lot, that’s because it is. I wrote about that last year in a letter to educators titled “All of This is a Whole Lot”: A Letter During the Pandemic from Author Jen Alexander. In it, I compare my perceptions of the work ahead to Maggie Smith’s poignant 2016 poem “Good Bones.” I said, “While the author admits that our lives are short and the world can be terrible, she tries to shield her children from the cruelty and ugliness because, as she puts it, ‘I am trying to sell them the world.’ Using a real estate metaphor, she says that any good realtor who’s trying to sell a house that’s falling apart will go on about its good bones: ‘This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful.” (You can read the entire poem here.)
We can make our schools beautiful—places that are safe, healing-centered, and rooted in truth so that we can actively learn, grow, and change the world to be a more just place.
To Learn More…
If you’re looking for a way to support your team’s readiness for this work, I encourage you to learn more about my new on-demand virtual course that will be released soon! It walks certified and non-certified staff members through the following.
- Defining the role of trauma-sensitive educator
- Learning the steps of becoming a trauma-sensitive educator
- Understanding collective stress and trauma
- Using the four essentials to build trauma-sensitive schools
- Exploring the importance of clear boundaries.
The course is a great first step that will help all your educators be ready to work towards your team’s goals. It’s also ideal for onboarding new hires when the majority of your teams have already attended trauma-informed trainings. With over 2.5 hours of instruction, practical handouts, advice from educators in the field, and activities that apply to right now change in classroom or other school spaces, adult learners will quickly move from theory to action. Read more about the course in my Q&A on the Brookes website.
I’ll leave you with a few closing words from that Q&A. “There is hope in starting from a place of honesty together. In being real about the hard stuff, we can address it authentically—all while acknowledging the good stuff we can draw from to make meaningful change. No matter what, you’re not alone. I’m here to help you as you help kids!”
“There is hope in starting from a place of honesty together. In being real about the hard stuff, we can address it authentically—all while acknowledging the good stuff we can draw from to make meaningful change. No matter what, you’re not alone. I’m here to help you as you help kids!”
If you would prefer live training, learn more about possible topics on my Events & Trainings page. Then, schedule a twenty-minute consultation with me for free. I’d love to tailor a plan with you to meet your needs.
Here to partner with you,
#BuildingTraumaSensitiveSchools #NoticeTheNeed #MeetTheNeed #FeelSafe #BeConnected #GetRegulated #Learn #FeelingDealingAndHealing #TakeGoodCare