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Upcoming Events

Working with students exposed to trauma
Tuesday March 15,  4 – 7 PM 
2100 Building           
Cost: $20.  CEU’s available for extra fee.

Positive Discipline in the Classroom - 5 week classes

Time: 4 – 7 PM on Thursdays.            Cost: $195 + registration fee.  CEU’s or Credit available for small additional fee.

Seattle: January March 17, 24, 31, April 7, 14.  Facilitator: Stacy Lappin.  Register

Teaching Parenting the Positive Discipline Way

Kirkland:                                              March 10 (evening) 11th & 12th (all day)  Facilitator: Melanie Miller  Register

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Hello Reader,

Welcome to Sound Discipline 

We provide short articles, ideas and practices that you can put to practical use in your classroom. We hear lots of success stories. They inspire us. We would like to hear more and share them so that you can learn from them too.

Please send us your stories!

Trauma is often a hidden visitor in your classroom silently impacting students in ways that are often confusing and challenging - for you and your student. This is part 4 of a series on working with students exposed to trauma.  It might be helpful to read part 1, part 2 and part 3 as well.

Sound Discipline will also be offering a 3 hour workshop focusing on additional strategies for working with students exposed to trauma on March 15th. You can register here.

All teachers work (knowingly or unknowingly) with students exposed to trauma.  Not all students act like they've been exposed to trauma, but by the time they are in their teens up to 70% of students have experienced or witnessed significant trauma. 

It is COMMON for teachers to experience symptoms of what is often termed "vicarious" trauma.  Educators can have experiences that look and feel quite similar to those of their traumatized students.  These may include: a sense of powerlessness, frustration or rage, a loss of focus or perspective, workplace frustration, expressions of anger, avoiding certain task as well as a whole range of body symptoms (headaches, stomach aches, fatigue, or trouble sleeping). Of course there may be other causes of these experiences too - but it is helpful to remember that even if you have not been exposed to trauma directly, your line of work does put you at risk for the results of "indirect" trauma.

Recognizing and responding to vicarious trauma:

1. Recognize your risk. Begin to pay attention to your own stress levels.  Am I stressed?  What makes it worse or better?  Do my own traumatic memories get triggered?

2. Assess your self care strategies. Making a list of the things that you already do on a regular basis to take care of yourself is a great first step.  Think about the things that work for YOU.  Try sorting your self care activities into three groups.  Do I make time to connect with non-work friends/family?  Do I make time to move my body?  Do I make time for solitude and/or internal reflection or time to just enjoy something alone?

3. Notice and name the roadblocks. What is keeping you from doing what would be most helpful for you (if anything)? What can you do about them? Be honest. It may mean giving up something to take care of yourself - but when you do, more of you will be available for the things you really care about.

4. Ask for help. This might be meeting and venting with a colleague or with a professional support team or with someone outside of work. Experiencing vicarious trauma can make you feel like you are going crazy - or invite a sense of shame.  It is not your fault.  It is an occupational hazard.

5. Make a commitment:  a promise to yourself and/or a trusted colleague to take a step toward decreasing your stress level at school and at home.  You make such a big difference to so many young people that you are worth taking care of.

Resources: If you are interested in more information on trauma here are some options: Helping Traumatized Children Learn is a downloadable report (free) with lots of resources.
Seattle Schools has a document called The Heart of Learning and Teaching: Compassion, Resiliency and Academic Success that also addresses the results of being exposed to trauma.
Teachers' Strategies Guide for Working with Children Exposed to Trauma is a manual published by Framingham Public Schools (but a bit hard to get)
Sound Discipline will be offering a 3 hour hands-on workshop to give background and strategies for working with students exposed to trauma on March 15th (4-7 PM).  Registration







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