Evidence-based, trauma-informed preventative practices that support the wellbeing of trauma-affected students and the educators that work with them.
1. Benevolence
Leadership teams need to demonstrate goodwill and genuine concern for staff well being. They must exhibit an approachable, supportive manner where teachers feel confident in knowing they can consistently depend on them to act in their best interest and assist with professional and personal challenges
2. Safe Culture
Foster a pastoral culture where people come first and are trusted. Just as students cannot learn if they do not feel safe, teachers cannot be effective in their practice if they do not feel secure. Teachers need to feel that they are valued and worthwhile and must sense that are working in a safe environment where their emotions and well being are supported.
3. Systems and Structures
Establish systems and structures within the school to ensure the fidelity, sustainability and effective implementation of a trauma-informed approach to education. These systems also create a common understanding of roles and expectations of staff and provide guidelines for them to follow and
4. Creative Budgeting
Ideas of providing extensive wellbeing initiatives are extraordinary, however without the necessary resources and funds these notions will not eventuate. Ensure transparent, flexible and creative use of school funds, budget, community incentives and fundraising to bring these initiatives to fruition. Money that is raised should be spent to develop the students, staff and school of that time, not saved for a “rainy day”.
5. Attunement
Stay connected and attuned to the multiple demands and expectations placed upon classroom teachers. Do not loose sight of the reality for these “front line” workers and demonstrate an understanding of excessive workload and time constraints
6. Build Capacity
Students should not have to rely on the chance that they are taught by a teacher who has a reputation for achieving success with “vulnerable” children. All teachers should be capable and schools must provide professional development in trauma-informed practices to ensure they are adequately equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively teach and support trauma-affected students, whilst simultaneously taking care of their own mental health and wellbeing.
7. Wellbeing
Schedule a mandatory time each week for teachers to participate in care team meetings and mindfulness activities to support their mental health and wellbeing and to encourage and impart self-care strategies.
8. Value Staff
Explicitly expressing that your teachers are valued is fundamental to their motivation, productivity, morale, attitude towards work and ability to cope with daily school life. Implement strategies, initiatives and kind gestures to ensure that they feel included and that their hard work, contributions and perspectives are acknowledged, appreciated and valued.