Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Schools

August 16, 2013

Pleasantville teachers take safety training

Pleasantville — To best serve their students and the community, school staff members need to first take care of themselves, and that includes bringing the right attitude to the classroom, a guest speaker told Pleasantville Schools' staff members this morning. 

Roseanne Torpey is a well-known safety training speaker and crisis counselor from the East Coast. She was invited to come back to Pleasantville to offer some assistance to school staff from retired teacher Dennis Oliver. Oliver has known Torpey for years, and, according to Torpey, was the first person to call her after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. 

"Roseanne agreed to come here for free," Oliver told the faculty and staff. His goal by inviting her is to enable Pleasantville to be proactive in providing a safe environment for everyone. 

Torpey said she was going to focus on teaching the educators how to diffuse situations and how to foster reslience in children. Having these skills will make schools safer. 

One of her first lessons focused on the need for the educators, who are ultimately caregivers for their students, to ensure that they take care of themselves. 

"None of us are immune (to stress)," Torpey said. "None of us have a 100 percent answer."

While everyone has stress, Torpey said awareness of it is important. Taking steps to reduce stress upon one's self, as well as the entire group, can go a long way. One way to do this is by displaying the correct attitude. 

"(Students) can sense who doesn't want to be there," Torpey said of teachers in a classroom. If a teacher has the wrong attitude or is not enjoying his job, the children will be unable to find joy in learning and will lose interest. 

Caring for the students and displaying a positive attitude is important, but Torpey advised the staff against over-inflating a child's self-esteem. Telling them they are great at everything, even when they are not, will lead to an even more harsh blow to them when they learn the truth about their shortcomings. She encouraged staff members to be supportive of students, compliment them on the areas in which they do excel, but be honest about the rest. 

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