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Ms. Jones

5th grade

Ms. Jones was the 5 th grade teacher that no kid wanted to get. She was described as cold, mean, “old-school”, and had a reputation among the staff at the school for being a naysayer of positive ideas. Her colleagues spent a great deal of time trying to increase her skills and compassion for her students.

Something shifted when she attended a Western Youth Services Resilience Workshop at her school. The workshop included the critically acclaimed film “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope”. Everyone was pleasantly surprised, that she was the first teacher to speak up after the film during the group discussion. Tearfully, she confessed that she wasn’t aware of how much her students could be hurting. Ms. Jones shared that although she never wanted to be someone causing harm to her students, she realized that her current methods may be doing just that. She made a commitment to treat her students differently and encouraged others to do the same.

Since that workshop, the staff at her school have noticed a big difference in Ms. Jones. She has built better relationships not only with students, but also with other staff at the school. She now makes an effort to give her personal time to her students, shows them empathy and compassion, and listens to what they have to say. She pays attention to her students’ feelings and lets kids slide when she knows they’re having a rough day. One of her students went from saying “I hate Ms. Jones”, to writing her a letter saying she was the best teacher he ever had. It sounds simple, but she found success in simply shifting her thinking from blame and shame to empathy and compassion. Through being exposed to the science behind Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the power of resilience, she chose to look within herself and treat her students differently.

with cold and mean behavior towards students

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