Handle with Care
Shane Pratt is a veteran educator in Idaho’s Treasure Valley, who recently shared this insight on navigating the effects of COVID-19 with his team of educators.
by Shane Pratt, Principal of Rolling Hills Public Charter School
With the lingering stresses of the pandemic and the consistent issues of life that present themselves, I cannot help but find that everything is FRAGILE right now. What I mean by everything, is everything. We are just trying to keep our heads above water or keeping ourselves in balance. When another piece gets adjusted or shifted, it takes us out of that fragile balance. Life can throw you a curve ball right now and it is an added layer that must be dealt with. Sometimes we snap back or try to blame others for throwing us off balance. Resist the blame game and acknowledge the reality of our limitations.
Kids at school are fragile too. They come with so many pieces of baggage and we don’t even know what baggage it is. Then when we, as the teachers in authority, ask or request something some kids respond in a very uncharacteristic way. How we respond to the students is a direct reflection of our own fragileness. Students can see right through us and we must be honest with them.
I cannot help but reflect on our past trainings and discussions of Trauma Sensitive Classrooms. I would even go so far as to say we have a Trauma Sensitive School right now. There are 5 truths to trauma:
- Trauma is real
- Trauma is prevalent. Much more common than we want to admit
- Trauma is toxic to the brain and affects development and learning
- We need to be prepared to support each other and our students
- Children are resilient and within positive learning environments they can grow, learn, and succeed
We too can succeed! We are all needing positivity and support to help us be less FRAGILE and more resilient. This is a mindset that we must focus on. I encourage more laughter, talking about the reality with each other, because we are all experiencing this together. It doesn’t matter that we know what each other is going through, but we can acknowledge that we are all going through this together. It doesn’t mean we have to have the answers or fix it now attitude. Some simple ideas to help create a positive environment:
- Be aware and have self-awareness
- Build relationships that are strong
- Belief that you are the positive influence to support yourself and others
- Live, laugh, love
Remember that one of our staff expectations is to take care of ourselves. We need to be strong ourselves first before we can lift others. We need the best you to teach the students. This is an incredible journey we are all on now. Find the “silver lining” in each moment, challenge, and experience. It is the way we respond that defines our character.
The views expressed by guest authors do not necessarily reflect those of Bluum.