Safe and Orderly Environment

A new month marks a new topic for #822Chat. This month, we began a discussion on safe and orderly environments in schools.

At first glance, this topic seems rudimentary or simple. But we know all too well how complex it is to craft a safe and orderly environment in schools.

Our recent chats focused on two areas of safe and orderly environments:

  • Emotional Safety for Teachers and Staff
  • Emotional Safety for Students

Let’s dig into these two topics.

How to Create a Safe Environment for Teachers

School climate starts with us. What actions can a “school” take to build emotional safety for educators?

Emotional Safety for the Adults in Schools

With the recent trends in teacher burnout and turnovers (as well as principal turnover), the 822chat offered many actionable ideas and principles.

The top tweet from this question focused on people – who they are as persons.

It’s true. Opening up about personalities, strengths, and idiosyncrasies is an important step in the process of building vulnerability-based trust in school teams.

“I think that we have to be genuine. We have to actually care for the people in our building. You can’t fake that. Ask them about their lives away from school. Invest in them. Build that relationship. It goes a long way.” – Cristobal T. Saldana @saldanact

Katie Hernandez offered connections between risk, safety, and growth. She highlighted the tension between control vs. collective commitment.

“You have 2 take risks for trust 2 grow & yet it can be unwise 2 do so in an unsafe workplace. Growth must be more important than control in education. This is a culture shift that can’t happen top-down or bottom-up but must be made as a collective commitment by all.” – Katie Hernandez @KHernandez_EDU

And Erika Garcia continued the talk about trust by making a distinction between two types of trust:

  1. Relational Trust
  2. Resilient Trust

“Just like students, educators will do their best in a place with relational trust. We have to establish relationships and build enough resilient trust because some days that trust will feel stretched. We need to know it will bounce back into place.” -Erika Garcia @flyingmonkey13

How to Create a Safe Environment for Students

On Tuesday, our discussion focused in on actions we can take to ensure a safe and orderly emotional environment for students.

Emotional Safety for Students

Students, like all of us, thrive when words align with actions.

Donna Tran also pointed out that emotional safety takes time to build. Just like all forms of trust, emotional safety is connect to all types of safety:

“Emotional safety requires time & trust. Safety in other areas (i.e. physical) also supports emotional safety.” – Donna Tran @teachtran

Andrea Mead gave a very concrete tip to connect each student to at least one adult in the school.

“Making sure each kid has at least one trusted adult to go to through the day. Everyone needs ‘a person’.” – Andrew Mead @andrewmead73

And Allicia Saldana really focused in on a long-term strategy to building rapport, comfort, and relationships with students.

“We build relationships through relate breaks, so rapport and comfort is sustained. When children are able to consistently share thoughts with us, they’ll choose to tell us about the heavier things. It’s about keeping doors open & being willing to listen without judgment.” – Allicia Saldana @AlliciaSaldana

Safe and orderly environments is a big topic. Join us Saturdays at 8:22am CST and Tuesdays 8:22pm CST during the month of May as we continue to discuss this topic.

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