Earlier this month, hundreds of educators, advocates, and community members convened in Nashville to attend the first annual Trauma-Informed Educators Network Conference. Hosted by Paradigm Shift Education at Lipscomb University on July 15-16, the international conference promoted trauma-informed practices and encouraged practitioners to create a lasting network of professional support.
In a session titled “Cultivating Our Calm: Mitigating Toxic Stress Through Adult Emotional Regulation,” Frank Jemison, ACE Awareness Foundation director of education outreach, discussed strategies to help educators remain calm, regulated, and stable in the presence of students’ emotional trauma. He helped participants understand the realities of compassion fatigue and emotional burnout, while offering practical plans to help teachers form healthy self-care habits and manage their own emotional triggers.
Jemison explained that while few would argue against the value of self-care in theory, taking action can pose an enormous challenge. Rather than planning or visualizing change — and thereby delaying the positive impact on the classroom — he suggested that participants start by changing what they do. “The best way to change behavior is to change behavior,” Jemison told the audience. “And the best way to change thinking is to change behavior.”