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Back-to-School Tips for School Staff

tips for school staff
Credit: Ivan Samkov

Another school year is here, which brings on a wide variety of emotions for school staff. Here are some tips from our team.

  • My tip for school staff is to remember self-care. Teachers and other school staff
    must wear many different hats to meet the needs of their students, so it is important for staff to remember that they cannot pour out of an empty cup. Remember to set those boundaries to ensure a proper work/life balance to
    prevent burnout, compassion fatigue, and to ensure that you are the best version of yourself that you can be, to better assist the youth that you serve.
  • Be prepared to hand out Grace where it is needed in the first few weeks! Explain your rules and expectations very clearly and for every activity; get to know and understand your “hard” students, there’s a reason they want your attention and are attempting to get it any way they can!
  • Remember that you may be in the only place where a child feels loved and supported. Try to balance your teaching/discipline with encouragement and praise. If you knew a kid’s story, you might be more understanding of the behaviors. Many kids that are “attention seeking” are instead “connection seeking.”
  • Communicate regularly with caregivers and provide clear expectations and goals throughout the year. Create a welcoming environment for students, by being open to questions and willing to listen to students.
  • Be available to talk to the kids if they need someone to vent to without judgement.
  • Adults can ask for help too!
  • Use terms like “adults you live with” instead of “mom” or “dad” – not all kids have a traditional homelife.
  • If you notice you are escalated with a child – tag out with another adult! Escalated adults CANNOT deescalate an escalated child.
  • Students in foster care or nontraditional homes are not the behaviors that many of them present. Trauma is a very powerful force that can make children behave in a myriad of ways. Keep in mind that it may take a long time for a child to process their trauma and learn the self regulatory skills they need to make it through the day. Be patient.

If you or a child need additional support, reach out to the LifeSkills team. Learn more about
our school-based services

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