Teachers at Stevens Point Area High School learn the five stages of resiliency in preparation for the start of the school year

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 7:50 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - The pandemic made last year a challenge for teachers. That’s why Stevens Point Area Senior High leadership and administrators brought in a guest speaker on Monday to train staff on how to become more resilient and cope with stress.

“We wanted to provide our staff with wellness support, especially at the start of the year after the last couple of years that we’ve gone through,” said Beth Bakunowicz, Director of Human Resources at SPASH.

The pandemic forced teachers to be more adaptable last year and teach both in-person and online classes often at the same time.

“They’ve had a lot, a lot, of things thrown at them very quickly,” said Bakunowicz.

Kevin Polky, the executive director of KP and Red Oak Counseling came to help.

“The leadership was really wanting to equip the staff with tools to help them as well as help the students with overcoming obstacles,” said Kevin Polky, guest speaker.

He discussed anxiety and how people deal with the stress cycle when they feel threatened. Then, he taught around 400 teachers how to used the five steps of resilience.

The steps are: You’re part of a bigger story, practice emotional and physical self-care, cognitive re-framing, learn from mistakes and you write the story you tell.

“I’m hoping that if they take away one or two things that they can implement in their own personal life, then naturally it will come out into the classroom,” said Polky.

He hopes that teachers look at the new year as an obstacle with opportunities for growth. SPASH will welcome students on Wednesday for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

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