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Teacher Self-Care & Being Ready to Teach / ep14 Show Notes

Updated: Mar 28, 2020



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


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?


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?


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


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


Do the brain breaks with the kids

Move around on your breaks or transitions



Baby animals… yes, really!

Sounds from

Intro music “Aspire” by Scott Holmes

  • Instagram

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 or:


National Suicide Prevention Hotline

  • 1 (800) 273-8255

National Domestic Violence Hotline

  • 1 (800) 799-7233

LGBT Trevor Project Lifeline

  • 1 (866) 488-7386

National Sexual Assault Hotline

  • 1 (800) 656-4673

Crisis Text Line

  • Text “HOME” to 741741