Building Skills for Self-Care: Self-Care Assessment and Improvement Strategies
0.50 USBE Credit
There are many students in our schools who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and traumatic events that may cause personal physical, mental, and emotional stress to the students in the classroom, but also to the professional working with these students. The stress, or what is sometimes called secondary traumatic stress, may affect the professional in their work with students in the classroom or manifest in their personal life. Self-care assessment and improvement strategies are important for professionals to use so they can continue to effectively support students.
To earn this 0.5 USBE credit microcredential you will submit two evidence items demonstrating your effective and consistent use of self-care strategies and practices. You will also complete a short written or video reflective analysis.
You will be charged $20 by the badge provider. You'll be charged at the point you submit your badge for final review.
This microcredential is not intended to comprehensively address all aspects of physical, mental or emotional concepts of self-care.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years).
Compassion Fatigue: A condition suffered by those who help others on an ongoing basis and is characterized by a gradual decrease in that person’s ability to empathize with those they are helping and can result in chronic physical and emotional exhaustion.
Mindfulness: Maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment with openness and curiosity.
Secondary Traumatic Stress: The emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand trauma experiences of another.
Self-Care: Any activity we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Toxic Stress Response: Can occur when a child experiences strong, frequent, and/or prolonged adversity - such as physical or emotional abuse, chronic neglect, caregiver substance abuse or mental illness, exposure to violence, and/or the accumulated burdens of family economic hardship - without adequate adult support.
Trauma: An event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by
an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has
lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, social, emotional,
or spiritual well-being.
Cheryl has worked as a third-grade teacher for nine years at a Title 1 elementary school in her hometown. She has always enjoyed teaching and getting to know each of her students as well as creating a positive learning environment that allows students to succeed.
Cheryl has noticed that each year the students in her classes have become harder to connect with. The student population in the school is of a lower socioeconomic status and many of them suffer from toxic stress associated with poverty.
Cheryl has contemplated the root cause of this situation but she’s not sure if the issue lies with her or with her students. Cheryl is beginning to wonder if it’s time for her to end her teaching career due to the increasing anxiety she feels at the end of each day.
After giving this issue much thought, Cheryl begins to do research on how to find ways to alleviate the anxiety she feels. She decides that every day during her prep period, lunch break, and recess she will find a quiet place to sit and meditate for at least five minutes. She will practice the deep, controlled breathing and grounding techniques she found online that are recommended to relieve stress and anxiety. Cheryl sets a goal to complete this practice every day for one month and then evaluate its effectiveness of lowering her stress and anxiety level.
Student Work: Contemplate toxic stress and trauma, and how it impacts lifelong physical health as well as emotional health for students and families, and how secondary traumatic stress may be impacting you. Find a simple practice or strategy that can be implemented into the classroom to help you and your students practice emotional and/or physical self-care on a daily basis. Implement this evidence-based strategy into your practice and/or classroom daily for four weeks.
If you are starting a new practice or strategy, find 2 peer reviewed journal articles (published within the past five years) to support the technique you choose. Include article references as part of your learner work sample.
Submit a learner work sample that includes an analysis of the notable changes you observed in yourself and/or your classroom among students as a result of implementing this practice/strategy.
Learner work samples can include: written samples such as essays, stories, and reports; illustrations, maps, and diagrams; mathematics worksheets and other assignments, and graphs.
Learner work samples should follow all relevant district/charter and FERPA guidelines.
Survey Results: Choose a self-care technique to teach your students. Create a schedule for when and how this self-care technique will be utilized in your classroom or group. You can have your students give input on the implementation plan.
Create a survey for students to fill out assessing the self-care technique and its benefit to the classroom/school/group environment and to them as an individual. After reviewing the survey results, create a graph or diagram that summarizes the results. This submission should include both the graph or diagram, a description of the results, and a plan for continued self-care technique implementation within your classroom or group.
Observation Results: Choose a self-care technique to teach your students. Have two teachers/staff members observe student behavior on two occasions, once prior to your implementation and once after about two weeks of daily practice of this self-care technique within your classroom/group.
Have each teacher/staff member write at least one page regarding their observations. Their observations must include what they noticed about the classroom/group environment and student behavior during both of their observations, and any noticeable changes they observed, especially in regards to student behavior.
App (mobile or computer): Download one mindfulness app on your phone. Set a goal to use the app for five minutes every day (set a specific time, such as in the morning before leaving for work or during your lunch or before going to bed). You can choose multiple times throughout the day if you would like to. Set a daily reminder to help you remember to use the mindfulness app. Continue this daily practice for two weeks.
Submit a two-page reflective paper on how this app contributed to improving your ability to be mindful, how your practice impacted your ability to support students, and how mindfulness and self-care may support students who have experienced trauma in their lives.
Other: Create an Infographic addressing the importance of educators implementing personal self-care programs into their lives. Include data and/or information relating to at least two self-care programs from two reliable sources that show physical, mental, or emotional improvement in individuals using these self-care techniques.
Other: Create a self-care program and use it daily for two weeks. This program must take at least 15-20 minutes each day. This self-care program can be physically, mentally, and/or emotionally-based. Following each daily practice, document the activity completed and record your reflections about any changes you notice within yourself. At the end of the first week make note of any improvements you’ve seen during this week. At the end of the two week period, compile your daily and weekly reflections into a document to be submitted. This document may be in a narrative, bullet point or table style and must include the dates and times of your practices.
Submit your reflections document. This document may be in a narrative, bullet point or table style and must include the dates and times.
Candidates are required to make 2 evidence submission(s).
Criterion 1: Evidence demonstrates the applicant understands the importance of using personal self-care techniques to support themselves when working with students who have experienced trauma.
Criterion 2: Evidence demonstrates the applicant understands the “how” and “why” of creating self-care techniques and programs that can be implemented in the classroom to reduce student anxiety.
Criterion 3: Evidence demonstrates the applicant’s use of evidence-based practices/resources when creating and implementing a self-care program.
Describe how the self-care program you implemented helped your physical, emotional, and/or mental health.
Describe how improving your physical, emotional or mental health strengthened your interactions with students in your classroom and/or school.
Describe how you could use self-care strategies or a self-care program collaboratively with your grade team and/or school staff to aid in increasing the understanding and importance of self-care, and decrease compassion fatigue.
Criterion 1: Reflection demonstrates the applicant’s understanding of personal self-care techniques that help to alleviate stress and anxiety.
Criterion 2: Reflection demonstrates the applicant's self-care tools used in the classroom and evaluate student understanding of implementing them into their lives.
Criterion 3: Reflection demonstrates knowledge of how and where to access additional evidence-based self-care tools to address possible anxiety or behaviors of students as it relates to trauma-informed teaching.
Headspace https://www.headspace.com There are over 2,000 meditation apps out there, but Headspace is one of the only ones committed to advancing the field of mindfulness meditation through clinically-validated research on our product. We are currently in progress on research studies with large national institutions that could be among the largest mindfulness meditation trials ever conducted. We are committed to ensuring Headspace can actually make an impact in our lives.
Joyce-Beaulieu, D. & Sulkowski, M.L., (2015). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in K-12 school settings; A practitioner’s toolkit. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co. LLC. Find it on Amazon.com This book features specific, highly effective counseling interventions for school-age children that can be used individually or in the classroom.
Kids Yoga Stories https://www.kidsyogastories.com/kids-yoga-poses/ Kids Yoga Stories’ characters, Sophia, Luke, Elizabeth, Baraka, Pablo, and Anamika, demonstrate the kids yoga poses, followed by the yoga pose name, possible keywords, and descriptions.
Secondary Traumatic Stress https://traumaawareschools.org/secondaryStress This webpage provides information on secondary traumatic stress, signs of secondary traumatic stress, and strategies on how this might be managed. It also provides resources regarding self care for educators.
TAKE10 https://take10.net/ TAKE10 is a classroom-based physical activity program, developed with the assistance of health professionals and education experts, combining academic instruction with 10 minutes physical activity breaks to get kids moving without sacrificing time dedicated to academic learning.
Trauma Informed Practices in Schools: Considerations for Educators https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK5-ls2qe5M This webinar is part of the California PBIS Coalition (CPC) webinar series. "Trauma Informed Practices in Schools: Considerations for Educators" will support educators in understanding the impact of trauma on students and how they can integrate strategies into the PBIS Framework.
Woods-Jaeger, B.A., Sexton, C.C., Gardner, B., Siedlik, E., Slagel, L., Tezza, V., O’Malley, D. (2018). Development, feasibility, and refinement of a toxic stress prevention research program. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 27:3531–3543 http://web.b.ebscohost.com.erl.lib.byu.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=6&sid=d0ca9738-08cd-493a-93fd-0da2ec8d076f%40pdc-v-sessmgr04 Innovative interventions accessible to at-risk populations to prevent the intergenerational cycle of toxic stress are needed. This paper describes the iterative development of a community-based intervention, 2Gen Thrive, which was designed to prevent toxic stress and promote resilience by improving caregiver capacity to respond to children’s emotional, behavioral,and developmental needs.