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  • Writer's pictureTali Raviv, PhD

Building a More Prepared and Healthy Education Workforce

Tali Raviv, PhD NCS3 Co-PI and Midwest Regional Site CoDirector

We have all seen – and many of us have experienced firsthand – the high rates of secondary traumatic stress, burnout, and premature departure from the field among teachers and school-based mental health professionals. Providing additional training and support to staff working in schools is critical, but we may be missing an opportunity to PREVENT or minimize these problems if we limit our focus to staff currently in the workforce.

The Center for Childhood Resilience has partnered with Golden Apple Foundation, an Illinois-based teacher preparation program. Through this partnership, we had the opportunity to work with 118 pre-service educators – individuals who had just graduated from their teacher preparation programs and were poised to begin their first year of teaching. In a survey they completed, we found that nearly three-quarters felt “not at all” or “a little” prepared to support students exposed to trauma in their classrooms. This was not surprising given that 70% of these soon-to-be educators reported having “none” or “a little” undergraduate training on childhood trauma. Lack of training translates to lack of confidence.

A major contributor to job stress in schools is working with students with unmet mental health needs. When educators feel poorly equipped to support students they care about, this can set them up for experiencing toxic levels of stress and burnout.

The NCS3 believes that teachers and school mental health professionals who are trained to recognize and intervene with students exposed to trauma – and to safeguard their own wellness while doing so – have the potential to promote student success and healing while preserving their own personal and professional wellbeing. That is why we have worked with our district and university partners to develop and disseminate resources and education for both pre-service educators and pre-service behavioral health providers.

Contact us to learn more about the NCS3 pre-service educator program. You can also access our National Trauma-Focused Intern Training (T-FIT) Program for graduate social work and counseling interns – modules are free and available now. Together, we can build a more prepared and healthy education workforce.


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