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“When you’re learning to be a teacher, you think it’s just about lesson plans, curriculum, and seating charts,” said Garcia. “I was blindsided by the emotional aspect of teaching—I didn’t know how to handle it. I was hurt by my students’ pain, and it was hard for me to leave that behind when I went home.”

(When Students Are Traumatized, Teachers Are, Too, Edutopia, 2017)


Teaching is a RELATIONSHIP based profession.

How a teacher positively relates to the self in good times, actively restores the self when triggered, stressed, or in conflict, and intentionally re-stories negative self-talk has a direct impact on one's capacity to build healthy, trauma-sensitive relationships with one's students. 

On a good day, the profession of teaching demands so much of a teacher's mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual energy. On a bad day, one when the relationship with a student breaks down, a teacher's sense of purpose and energy can feel instantly zapped.


Relationship stress and trauma is something that teachers navigate every single day. 

Since teaching is a relationship-based profession, research confirms that one of the biggest sources of emotional fatigue for a teacher is relationship stress. Teacher's often cite coming to the helping profession of teaching because of their primary desire to be in relationship with students-- to create space for students to feel seen, actualize their potential, and leverage learning as their greatest asset to building self-capacity! 

We believe teacher's must also learn healthy self-relationship skills alongside learning positive relationship building strategies to relate to another.


If a teacher wants their students to feel seen, actualize their potential, and leverage learning as their greatest asset to building self-capacity....

the teacher must also see themselves, actualize their potential, and leverage their self-awareness as their greatest asset to building self capacity!

When stress, trauma, and relationship conflict fill the space between the teacher and the student, both the teacher and the student suffer. This is why we love, love, love the work of Restorative Practices in Education!

Restorative Practice rests on the foundation of building healthy relationships with students, addressing needs (of students, school, community...), resolving conflict, repairing harm and restoring positive relationships, reducing and preventing harmful behavior.

Teachers need self-restorative practices, too! Why?

"There is always an uncanny symmetry between the way you are inward with yourself and the way you are outward."

(John O'Donohue, 2008)

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Artwork by Local Minnesota Artist and Teacher: Jinjer Markley 

Teacher Self-Restoration Practices cultivate the teacher's capacity to:


  • learn how to attune to their own emotional, mental, physical, and soul needs,

  • know how to identify their unique stress triggers and trauma pain points to reduce the onset of being triggered in the school/ classroom setting,

  • learn how to protect themselves from secondary trauma and compassion fatigue.


  • learn to "see what frames their seeing" during moments of conflict to reduce self-criticism and the onset of "bad othering" a student,

  • practice a process for having compassionate conversations with their own trauma and how to witness the hurt self in a restorative way,

  • engage a 4 step process that builds emotional resilience through metabolizing fear, anxiety, and perceived lack of worthiness into self-compassion and unconditional positive self-regard.


  • learn how to re-story the inner critic's judgmental self-talk, 

  • engage mindfulness-based practices that de-escalate inner conflict by calming the mind and body in the middle of an emotional trigger or conflict situation.


  • prevent future self-harm (and harm of another) by learning the process for holding contradictory emotions and values and how to act in alignment during moments of conflict that restores dignity and respect to both themselves and their students,

  • learn how to create spaces of RESONANCE in relationships with students where students "feel felt" because of the teacher's ability to attune to the student's invisible inner life beneath their behavior.

Learning Objectives

In this highly experiential session, teachers will: 


  • Learn about the origins of toxic stress (for teachers and students) and how toxic stress exacerbates unhealthy relationship patterns and triggers trauma reactions,

  • Explore the neuroscience behind how relationships and the brain positively and productively interact and shape a teacher's relationship with students,

  • Learn about the 2 fundamental elements necessary for widening one's "window of tolerance" so to become more emotionally resilient and responsive to manage conflict, 

  • Increase awareness about the 4 models of attachment style (secure, avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganized) that impact how both teachers and students come to perceive events in a particular way while learning the 4 S's of positive human attachment.


  • Experience (2) mindfulness-based body practices that train the body's parasympathetic nervous system to feel safe when in the middle of a trigger or stress moment.

  • Engage (1) cognitive behavioral therapy, neuroaffective based practice to shrink the inner critic and judge.

  • Learn core elements of Mindful Listening and Compassionate Kid-Witnessing to increase positive classroom relationships.


  • Engage the 4 step process for metabolizing a trauma trigger into increased critical consciousness, self-awareness, and compassionate in-sight (of self and other),

  • Learn a classroom based practice-- Compassionate Kid-Witnessing-- to learn how to see behind, beyond, and beneath our bias of the "bad other" when engaging a student who is in the midst of a stress/trauma trigger.

Interested in this session?

Contact Jen to discuss how to customize this professional learning experience to meet your unique staff well-being needs and fit your professional development schedule: