cindy weis
Post count: 3

Hi, I am an elementary school counselor with students in Preschool to 5th grade. I started my path in learning about the brain state/stress response only just about 5 years ago and am still amazed that I did not have any classes on any of this in graduate school. I am also amazed that teachers are not having at least a guest speaker come into one of their classes in college to talk about this.

As a school district, we started our journey on trauma-informed practices about 6 months before COVID hit. We were all struggling with behaviors in school and some teachers were better than others at handling the behaviors. We started researching and turned our attention to the research on being trauma-informed. It all made sense at least to me. I started reading and listening to everything I could get my hands on and then when COVID hit and we shut down we found some free online training that everyone could do (Star Commonwealth) and we had ALOT of staff say “WE NEED TO KNOW MORE”. We also had teachers just take the training and skim through it and not take it seriously also. As elementary schools, we implemented Morning Circles every day and we also put Calm Corners/Zen Dens in every class to help students connect and regulate when they came back.

I believe that those of us that look at behaviors through the brain state/stress response lens have more compassion and do not take the behaviors personally. It is still hard though to not go back to thinking that this kid just needs to be disciplined and learn how to behave. I know personally, that it has helped me be calmer and look at how I can help this student more and how to help the teacher see that the connection is needed. I have had to learn new ways to explain this to some teachers because like Janet, some teachers look at me and think that I am just that hippie-counselor that just wants to give every kid a hug. Some teachers just need to vent and say what they think and what they think should be done. Again, that is their stress response and we have to be compassionate with all of our staff because what they are doing is extremely hard and when you add a few students in each classroom having behaviors, they are dysregulated as well.