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Secondary Trauma in Educators: Finding The Air We Need To Breathe

By Heather Garrett

"Good teachers are to education what education is to all other professions - the indispensable element, the sunlight and oxygen, the foundation on which everything else is built." - Lowell Milken
In September 2007, Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, gave a lecture entitled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. A month before, Pausch learned that his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was terminal, and he had only months to live. Famously known as The Last Lecture, Pausch imparted wisdom from lessons that he learned through his own experiences. One particular lesson he noted is advice many of us could take to heart: “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”
As educators, we spend our days reinforcing routines, creating learning experiences, forging growth mindsets, and building confidence in our students. We often give so much to our students, our schools, and our communities that we forget to take care of ourselves. In a funda…

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