Launching Bartol’s New Training Series: “Trauma-Informed Practice for Teaching Artists”
Photo credit: Tezarah Wilkins.
Early on a Saturday morning, 12 teaching artists gathered to begin 20 hours of training over five weeks in trauma-informed practice for teaching artists. These artists were selected from 44 applicants and reflect everything that teaching artists look like—a range of perspectives based on artistic discipline, career stage, race, and gender/gender identity. Each committed not only to attend the training, but also to read, do homework, and engage with the concepts in a deep way. At the end, they will submit a trauma-informed lesson plan in their discipline and receive a stipend of $200.
Designed and facilitated by Mindy Early, Director of Education for Philadelphia Young Playwrights, the first session dug right into the effect of persistent adversity on the brain—poverty, violence, housing, food insecurity…the list goes on. Guest speaker Mike O’Bryan gave this analogy, “If you put a seed in the ground and pour bleach on it, you know it will grow damaged if it grows at all. No one blames the seed.”
Each session will mix theory and practice, including self-care for teaching artists who can themselves suffer from secondary trauma from bringing their wholehearted selves to their work. Here are a few of the teaching artists’ takeaways from Week 1 that they plan to apply to their practice.
- Say hello to students using their names.
- I plan to check in with the “How do you feel today” sheet, and be more intentional about design in regards to teaching.
- I need to be better about doing a consistent closing ritual.
- Understand/deconstruct personal bias to practice designing for “well being.”
- I hope to use some of the self-care tips to reduce levels of stress and vicarious trauma.
- Always planning low-impact activities instead of thinking of them last minute.
- Use brain breaks. Consider/recognize heightened brain states.
Stay tuned for updates as the training continues. And for your own self-care, try this five-minute meditation video.