“To teach is to learn twice.” – Joseph Joubert
April 13, 2021
This post was authored by Ukeru Learning Engineer, Lana Ingram-Gore.
Becoming an Ukeru Learning Engineer made me realize that, even as an instructor, I am always a student. I began this journey as an Ukeru instructor at a state facility in Texas. When we were told that we would be changing our format from using restraints to a new system called “Ukeru,” we were all skeptical about the program, but that changed for me quickly.
When I was sent to a trainer training in Austin, Texas, within just the first hour, I was intrigued. I had a good feeling about this. Learning about the Trauma-Informed Approach had me hooked. I had never thought about that perspective until I went through the training. It changed how I wanted to teach as well as the way I interacted with the people in the facility where I was working. I started looking further into Ukeru and what it was all about; I just couldn’t get enough. It quickly became my favorite class to teach because I had personally felt the impact on how it changed my own way of thinking.
After that initial training, I told my coworker who attended the training with me that I wanted to be able to go beyond our facility and teach this to everyone. I also told her it was my goal to eventually work for Grafton and help make an impact across all facilities possible. That is how much Ukeru impacted me. But, I knew I needed to start with my own facility first.
I still have a lot to learn, and I’m thankful each time I teach Ukeru because it seems like I learn something new every time. As I taught it, I started seeing the change. It was working! Our restraint numbers started going drastically down. I could tell it was making a difference and that I was able to be a part of that. I continued to train for almost three years at that facility and every time I started Ukeru with, “This is my favorite class to teach and you’re about to see why.” Then, one day I came across a post about Grafton wanting to hire a new Learning Engineer.
I wanted to apply, but Grafton is located in Virginia and I’m in Texas, so I didn’t think I would be able to. But I still kept looking at the job posting over and over. Then, they made an announcement that it was open to everyone and the applicant did not have to live near Grafton to apply. This was my chance! I applied immediately. I interviewed and, a few days later, was offered the position.
Now I am a Learning Engineer and get to train all over. I can’t thank this company enough for taking a chance on me as the first employee living outside of Virginia. Even though I am now training others to become a trainer, I am still learning as well. I have opened my eyes to a whole new perspective (once again) by being on this side of the training. Going more in depth with each training, and learning about how the brain works, and why people do things makes me realize that I have only scratched the surface of what Ukeru is all about. I feel like each time I teach, I learn as well, and that’s a great feeling.
Every facility is different, and each one teaches me something new about behaviors. I now use the Trauma-Informed Approach with everyone I meet by using Universal Precautions: treating everyone as if they have been through something traumatic, whether I know they have or not. So, even if someone hasn’t gone through anything traumatic, it doesn’t hurt to still treat everyone with compassion.
When I’m getting ready to teach, I look at each new class and see myself as I was three years ago – sitting there for the first time wondering what it was all about. So, it’s very important to me to make sure I deliver the same intriguing information and make that same great impact that I had received at my first training. One of the most rewarding things is to have someone come to you after class, or even email you later on, and tell you how great the Ukeru class was, how much they enjoyed it, and how it helped changed their way of thinking. That lets me know that we are making a change for the better and that is the goal.