Your teachers are ready!


Last updated 9/12/2023 at 9:55am

The Back-to-School Breakfast for teachers and all employees of District 6 took place on August 29. Being on the Sisters School Board I felt an obligation to accept the invitation to attend.

Sitting next to a middle school math teacher I was greeted by many from my days of teaching parents for Together For Children, 25 years ago. I instantly felt connected.

I was immediately swept away by the camaraderie that permeated the room. Starting with the District Office and continuing with each of the principals and department heads, all the new hires were welcomed. At least four of the new teachers were from adjoining districts. Next came appreciation for years of service, starting with employees of five years, going all the way up to 30. We learned that the average number of years teaching in the Sisters district is 16 years. Wow! What other district can boast of the same?

How pleased I was that I had come. Feeling connected to those who will be heading back to school to teach your kids gave my role as a school board member a new perspective.

I planned to leave until I noticed the topic of the training about to take place. Seeing Amen Clinic SPECT Brain Scan on the screen, I recognized work from my past, decided to stay, and was engrossed in one of the best trainings I’ve ever experienced. During the next hour your teachers were introduced to what happens to your child’s brain every day they come to school.

We were walked through auditory processing and hearing, and why it’s important to understand the difference. The example given, of marbles rolling around in a barrel before they settle down, explained beautifully why continuing to talk or give directions to a child may not work; often, fewer words are better. Until it’s regulated, the brain shuts down and turns off its ability to communicate.

What happens in each section of the brain was clearly shared, both as it applies to children going through trauma and to all children, every day. We adults often co-escalate this deregulation instead of being co-regulators. Ideas on how to bring about the calm state desired were presented.

The work of the renowned child psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. emphasized how the brain works in education. Until a child’s brain can regulate, it isn’t able to reengage. Without reengagement, it won’t be able to reason. This section made it clear that learning needs to sequentially go through those three “R”s; regulate, reengage, and reason. This is an important concept all teachers, parents, and caregivers need to remember.

To better understand this, the metaphor of an obstacle course that is short-circuited was given. An example from one of the participants was the backpacks kids carry into the room. Some kids know exactly what’s in their backpacks, some kids don’t. It’s the kids who don’t know who may have a difficult time in school.

An exercise called 2x10 Strategy was given to the group. It suggests they pick one student and spend two minutes per day talking to them about a topic of their choosing for 10 consecutive days. Statistics give it an 80 percent success rate. I suggest all parents try this with their kids. It might be just the ticket if connections are difficult.

The topic of emotional bank accounts discussed what makes a deposit and what causes a withdrawal, stressing the importance of being intentional and knowing each kid. Often, what we think will build that account goes in the other direction. For some, a public compliment may be embarrassing, whereas a small Post-it note will be coveted.

I left when the room was still packed, with everyone engaged. The presenter had done their job well of regulating and reengaging, causing a lot of reasoning and learning to take place.

As your kids get back to school this week (or start for the first time), be assured, they are in good hands. Your teachers are eager and ready to get back to work and I saw firsthand that they are being well trained.


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