Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Schools

August 16, 2013

Pleasantville teachers take safety training

(Continued)

Pleasantville —

She advised everyone to take a 30-minute walk every day. This will improve your health in many ways, she added. In addition, this will provide the staff members time to consider the "what if" situations they may face at school. They could take the time to think about how they can react to potential dangerous and emotional situations to save lives.

"It doesn't prevent the damage," Torpey said. "What it does is minimize it." She shared a story about a run-in Oliver had with a suicidal student. That student is still alive and well.

The message Torpey conveyed had serious consequences, but her presentation included fun. For instance, a group of staff members volunteered to pass tennis balls among each other. After a while, she altered the game, by asking them to pass eggs among each other (video of this accompanies this article).

The group worked solely with eggs for a moment, before she added the balls back in. The lesson she was trying to convey is that the balls represent the everyday responsibilities and situations that teachers face. The eggs represent the more tenuous situations that require more care, time and concentration. If they don't take the time to carefully handle the eggs, much like sensitive situations involving students, they could create a mess they would later have to clean up. By juggling the eggs and the balls at the same time, Torpey was trying to symbolize the fact that when sensitive situations arise, the everyday issues will still be there. 

Torpey stressed the need for teachers to listen. Not only to each other, but parents and students as well. Every issue with a student should be handled like the child is "bleeding" and, instead of scolding, the teacher should ask the student what he or she can do to help the student. 

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