TOPIC - TEACHER SELF-CARE
“READY TO TEACH”
Someone who is ready to teach is…
Calm and assertive - holds structure with safety and caring
Assumes the best of their students - “Unconditional positive regard”
“What it means is that you respect the person as a human being with agency to choose how to respond to their situation and that no matter how dangerous or dysfunctional they seem to be they are doing their best.”
Expects the best of their student - they can succeed, it’s possible
Places relationship over academics - learning and behavior will follow; Views themselves as a co-regulator and educator, not as an authority and disciplinarian
PUT YOURSELF FIRST
To truly be able to provide cues of safety for your students, you need to be able to feel safe yourself
Children can feel when your interactions are genuine and when they are forced
What does that look like for you? To get into a calm, safe, soothed state?
WHEN ARE YOU DOWN THE LADDER? What does it look like?
That’s your cue to do something different
If you remain down the ladder, you cannot successfully co-regulate with your students
Instead, you might inadvertently send cues that keep your students down the ladder as well
When we aren’t in our safe and social state, we don’t have access to those behaviors
Like problem solving, we become more demanding
Like emotional expression, we become flatter
Like vocal prosody, we become more monotone
Common teacher bx of danger:
Pride, argument, insisting on being right, yelling, commanding, shaming, sending a kid away, embarrassing them
What does it feel like, in your body, when these things are going on?
Heart rate, breathing, tension, movement
What kinds of thoughts are going through your mind as you drop down the polyvagal ladder?
Are they negative? Or judgmental? Are you making attacks on the character of the child in your head? Or of their family?
WHAT ARE YOUR DANGER CUES?
Situations, events, people
What’s it like to walk into your school site? How do you feel around your coworkers? How do you feel around the kids in your classroom?
What specific things can you recognize that might be a cue of danger for you?
Angry kids? The parents you see? A coworker? Volume of the school or your classroom? Is there a student that you find intimidating or that you’re unsure of?
WHAT TO DO COGNITIVELY
Think about your “why” - Why did you become a teacher? What was your original motivation? Come back to this regularly throughout the school year
Realize they’re kids - they’re powerless, they’re doing the best they can and their homes might suck
WHAT TO DO EMOTIONALLY
Seek out support, whatever that means for you - therapy, group support, friends, family, “treat yo self” day
Take a break - have a system set up with another teacher or CSM or principal
WHAT TO DO PHYSICALLY
Do the brain breaks with the kids
Move around on your breaks or transitions
Baby animals… yes, really!
Sounds from soundbible.com
Intro music “Aspire” by Scott Holmes