Teaching is a Work of Heart - Supporting the Teachers of Traumatized Learners

Beginning in 2011, researchers have been exploring the effects of student trauma on the adults in the school system who care for them. Educators in particular report feeling "helpless" and unsure how to support students experiencing trauma (Alisic, 2012), which contributes to low self-efficacy and is a significant factor in teachers leaving the profession.

First of all, attendees will learn about self-efficacy theory (Bandura, 1970) as a way to understand how their successes in teaching build their sense of confidence, pride, and commitment to the profession. As an introductory activity, educators will be asked to consider a specific moment in their careers when they felt good about their work, and what category of efficacy beliefs they fall into.

This workshop uses recent, peer-reviewed research into the neurodevelopment of traumatized children (Herringa, 2017; Thomason & Marusak, 2017; Greogrowski & Seedat, 2013) to create a framework for educators to understand the specific challenges they face in building efficacy beliefs (Bandura, 1970) that allow them to feel successful.

Once the supportive adults understand exactly why teaching children with trauma is so challenging to their sense of self, they will have an overview of how repeated exposure to a child's trauma can be harmful through three avenues - vicarious traumatization, burnout, and compassion fatigue. This part of the workshop outlines the differences between the categories and how to identify if an educator falls in the range. At the conclusion of the workshop, the importance of trauma-informed practices will be stressed as a means to prevent and mitigate compassion fatigue, and suggest concrete ways to allow the educator to support themselves and others.

Target Audience



Thursday 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

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  • Tristan Bannister

    Tristan Bannister (M.Ed) is a practicing teacher~researcher in Victoria, BC. In her Masters thesis at the University of Victoria, she researched the phenomenon of teacher compassion fatigue and the impact of student trauma on teacher well-being.