As people, we don’t process trauma at the moment it is taking place.
The pandemic happened. It lasted a long time. Then it ended.
But we weren’t processing the trauma of our world changing during the upheaval. We were too scared, the threat was too near.
Now we are in the post pandemic era. This time is different from 2019 and 2020 and 2021.
And what is happening now in school communities for both the students and adults is that we are feeling the residual impact of those years.
Some symptoms of trauma I’m observing in adult educators:
Apathy or low engagement
Lower rates of attendance to chronic absenteeism
Increased antagonism between teachers and school leaders or “central office”
Pessimism that things can get better
Fear and mistrust of others
All of these symptoms can become serious barriers to growth and development. So as coaches and leaders, it’s useful to have the context for what is going on and some ideas of what to do when these things show up in professional learning or during an instructional coaching session.
Which brings me to the mean thing people sometimes say to me.
A person might be on retreat or in one of my seminars and say, “I didn’t know I was going to therapy today.”
I know, it’s not really mean, but the intent is usually to slight or embarrass me. And it used to work. “Oh, no, no this isn’t therapy!” I’d say. And then I’d continue on trying to explain the work and assure the person that there was no intent to psychoanalyze or pry.
I’m grateful for these recurring comments now because it’s given me a breakthrough.
Somewhere along the road of serving tons of kids or teenagers or adults, we made up that the work would come straight from textbooks and not ever be confronting or require self examination.
Boy, were we wrong.
Leadership will require therapy.
If you’re me, it will require a lot of it.
Leadership will require coaching.
Leadership will require personal development, self examination, and the willingness to grow and evolve.
Or maybe I should say, effective, high-integrity leadership will.
I’m not a therapist. I’m an educator. I’m a highly trained life coach. And I merge these skill sets when I serve educational leaders and teams.
Together, we do mindset work, somatic body work, inner child work, self reflection, intention setting, clearings, agreements and boundaries, and more. And sometimes it has a therapeutic quality, meaning a healing or transformational quality. We went into the retreat as one version of ourselves and we emerged different.
Now, when a triggered person accuses the work of being like therapy, I say, “Gosh, don’t we all need it!”
Look back up at those post pandemic trauma symptoms we are seeing in our adult cultures. They are pretty serious, pretty painful, pretty threatening if not addressed.
We need to have adaptive, vaguely therapeutic, skills. Our post pandemic cultures require it.
It reminds me of Byron Katie’s wisdom, “When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.”
So we can be mad that we have to expand our leadership repertoire, or we can meet the needs of the day.
Read your personal development books, listen to the podcast, and when you are ready, come on retreat with me and we will skill you and your team of leaders and coaches up to serve and heal in the post pandemic era of education.