603 Stories – October 2022 – Educator Mental Health

Transcript:

Jace 

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of NAMI New Hampshire or the organization’s funders. All individuals and personal experiences are different. Please connect with your primary care provider or a mental health professional to seek advice regarding any condition you may experience. NAMI New Hampshire does not endorse or advise specific treatments. For 24/7 crisis Help contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text NAMI to the crisis text line at 741-741 or call 911.

Welcome to the 603 Stories podcast, a monthly mental health podcast, made by young adults, for young adults. Where we share stories, make connections and find hope. Any ads throughout this podcast are not associated with 603 Stories or the 603 Stories podcast. There will be sensitive subjects discussed during this podcast, should you need them the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 or you can text the crisis text line by texting 741-741.

Jace 

Hello, and welcome back to 603 stories, a mental health podcast made by young adults for young adults. I’m. Jace. My pronouns are he/him/his and I’ll be one of your co-hosts today.

Heather 

I’m heather. My pronouns are she/they and I’m your other co-host on this podcast just as a reminder before we begin, Jace and I are not mental health professionals. Just two young folks who are passionate about mental health and sharing these conversations with you. Today we have a wonderful guest joining us to talk about the mental health of educators in New Hampshire.

Jace 

We’ll also be taking some time to discuss anonymous responses submitted to the podcast team from teachers across the State. But to start, let’s meet our guest on today’s episode.

Meghan 

Hi! I’m Meghan! Ah, I am a fifth grade teacher and I’ve been teaching for three years. Ah, I graduated college in twenty, twenty, and I think it’s important for people to hear and understand the mental health of teachers, because right now, teachers are really going through it, and Ah have been for a really long time. But it’s definitely coming more to light recently, and I think it’s important for people to understand that teachers wear so many hats in their one job, and it’s different than any other occupation you could have. And it’s really important that we take care of our own mental health, because we are also in charge of the mental health of however many students were in charge of.

Heather

Well, thank you for joining us today, Megan, and taking the time to discuss how mental wellness plays a role in your career. It’s a really important topic, and it’s great to have you.

Meghan 

Thank you.

Heather

We would like you all to understand why we chose this topic for the episode, and why we are focusing on just this one profession.

Jace 

We would first like to state that the field of education isn’t the only profession that has changed and adapted because of Covid. But with that being said, the amount of time schools have had to adapt to change directions or develop entirely new systems to maintain student progress over the past few years is beyond anything I’ve personally witnessed or heard about in any other, with the exception of maybe health care. But that would have to be an entire other episode, because that would be way too much to discuss right now as well.

Heather  

Before we dive into our conversation with my again, we want to share some national statistics regarding education, teachers, mental health, and the student population’s mental health. So seventy five percent of teachers have reported that their mental health was worse this year, and twenty seven percent of teachers reported that they had symptoms of depression compared to ten percent of adults in other professions.

Jace 

And only six percent of the teachers that responded to this national survey received counseling support from their school or district this past year, and only twenty two percent reported that they received emotional support.

Heather 

More than seventy five percent of teachers reported frequent job-related stress compared to forty percent of other working adults,

Jace 

05:43and nearly twenty five percent of teachers said that they were likely to leave their jobs by the end of the two thousand and twenty to two thousand and twenty one school year. That’s compared to one in six teachers who were likely to leave on average prior to the pandemic. So with that being said. There are a lot of gaps in education right now, especially when it comes to taking care of teacher’s mental health. So we want to dive into a little bit more about why this might be happening and what we think some steps are to improving mental health for teachers. So with that being, said Megan. What was it like entering a new profession in the midst of a pandemic?

Meghan 

Ah, so, uh! It was really interesting. Uh, it was not at all what I had been prepared for for the last four years of my college experience. Um! So I started remote my first year, teaching in 2020 in September, and I was a third grade teacher at the time, and that whole experience, I would have to say remote teaching was easier than teaching now back in person, which I think is a really important fact, and I think many teachers would agree with me on that. I’ve heard teachers I work with also kind of say that as well. Um. So you know, getting kids wrangled in making sure they’re sitting at the computers definitely a bigger project than I had anticipated. But yeah, that first year teaching was full of a lot of different changes. And not only was I a new teacher and new to the profession. But I was new with everybody else to remote learning, and I would say that that was probably the least stressful part of teaching so far in my career, which is crazy to think because it was so different than in-person teaching, but because of everything that followed remote learning It didn’t impact me as much. When I returned to school I was a hybrid teacher, so I would have…my class was broken up into two groups, and I would have two, but I would have one group two days, a week, and another group two days a week, and then the last day would be remote.  I remember the second week of school of being back hybrid. I walked behind somebody um into the building, and they scanned their badge this machine, and I was like, I’m sorry am I supposed to be doing that. So, because of the changes and the craziness of remote learning, I never got training on anything, so I didn’t receive regular CPR, Training suicide prevention training um training on um, you know what to do during like a violent attack at a school. I had nothing. I received no training whatsoever. I didn’t even know that I was supposed to scan my badge when I entered the building, in order to show that I was there for the day, and to get paid so as a new teacher, I think we all just fell through the cracks because everybody is so stressed about Covid and the students themselves. So I think that that was really hard, because I missed a lot of what I would have initially been taught first going into teaching, and I am now just catching up on those things.I can probably go into more about that. But if you guys have any follow up questions.

Heather

What would you say, other than wrangling children, which obviously is a very big stress in working with large groups of kids? What would you say, the next biggest factor that impacts working in person versus hybrid.

Meghan

I think it was interesting teaching a remote because I got to see the students’ homes. So you got to see a little bit more into their lives than you would normally see. I remember I had students who brought their baby siblings to class because they were in charge of taking care of them during the day, because their parents would go to work. And so for a couple of hours, that baby, or that three-year-old, or whoever was sitting on another, a third grader’s lap was being taken care of. So I think that seeing into the lives of some of these students was really interesting. I’m trying to think of a better word, and I think that that was one piece of teaching that I don’t now get. It’s. It’s always a guessing game. I remember when I was in high school I wanted to be a profiler like from like criminal minds like Fbi, and it’s funny because i’m not that at all. But I also am because I. My job is to be a detective, because I have to figure out. Okay, why is this student banging on a desk? Why is that student beating other people up? Why is that student not doing any of their homework, or you know, whatever it be, or why is that student going to the bathroom twenty million times a day? Um! So it’s constant detective work on to figure out. Okay, what is making the student do these things? And is it a home thing? Is it a school thing. Is it a personality thing? Do they have mental illness? Do they have a, you know, learning disability? So it’s a constant guessing game as a teacher, and I think that it’s nice, remote learning you get to kind of see into their lives. But being in the classroom, you see a lot more of the things that they do personality-wise, because they’re with other people, whereas remote learning they’re with other people but I can mute them if I need to, and I can’t mute students in person

Heather

So, having a little bit more of control in some aspects. 

Meghan 

Yes

Heather 

Interesting.

Jace

Yeah, i’m any training at times as well, because not only are you constantly thinking about your own mental health and your own mental wellness, but now you have what twenty one other little humans and their mental health and their mental wellness to worry about as well. So i’m just wondering, have you seen programs or curriculum through the schools that are helping the children understand their own mental wellness. Or have you implemented anything so that they’re more aware of their own coping mechanisms and strategies for taking care of themselves.

Meghan 

Yeah. So something that one of the school districts I worked in push was, it’s called, Choose Love, and it was created by the mother of Jesse Lewis, who was a victim of the Sandy Hook shooting. Ah! And that program practices compassion, courage, gratitude, Um, I’m trying to think love a bunch of other things that i’m i’m trying to um kind of figure out the traffic of the other ones. There’s like four words that they follow as a as a formula to, you know, being a better human. So that was part of curriculum. We use a couple of other things. I definitely push social emotional learning in my classroom. I think a lot of people have been. I think it’s a really important thing before the pandemic, but it’s even more important now, because, you know, we’re seeing way more issues, more physical fights, more verbal fights, students not having the same structure for a year and a half. They don’t know how to sit still, and so I think those kind of programs are really important. I implement some of my own activities, things I learned from summer camp, or I saw when I was in college. Things that I think are important, that reflect the other programs that you know. I I’ve been asked to use as well. Um! And a really great one is um the zones of regulation where they kind of identify their emotions based on colors. Um, it’s kind of like inside out. Um, but um! That is incredibly important. The only issue is that right now students are also very academically behind, so they’re socially and academically behind. And right now schools are definitely struggling with that balance because they’re trying to push. Okay, these kids are two years behind in math or two years behind in reading, and it’s hard to balance that and social emotional learning. And how do you get both of those things at the same time without pushing one out of the way, and that doesn’t even include social studies or science or specialists, or a basic read aloud in the classroom. So I think it’s definitely creating a challenge, and I think that challenge is mostly being felt by teachers because they’re the ones that are sitting in the classroom, and the kids are freaking out and cannot sit still anymore. But we have to continue that hour and a half lesson. It’s creating a difficult time for teachers more than anyone else.

Jace 

And I think we heard that from a lot of the respondents who took our survey that we put out to New Hampshire teachers. A lot of them were talking about how it’s hard to balance all of these things that you have to be juggling at the same time, and still taking care of each student individually as a person, you know. Um, and because of that, trying to cram in so much education um into only a few short hours in the day. We got this one response from someone saying, “We went from being hero heroes to vilified in the span of six months. Parents now know how truly hard it is to be a teacher, and yet we are critique and criticized at every turn, and it’s exhausting”. So just going from remote learning to back to in person, it’s like,How do we keep pulling these three sixties. You know. At one moment we’re saying, Okay, these teachers are heroes. How do they do it all day long? But then, also, you need to be doing better. You need to be doing more. You need to be fitting all of this into your what? Six, seven hour day. But Don’t forget to consider emotional health, and don’t forget to get outside, and don’t forget to have snack breaks. And so it’s like we all need a breather, and if we’re not giving people the time that they need in order to breathe, then we can’t expect them to be excelling, catching up for all of those missed months or years.

Meghan 

Yeah, I think I’ve definitely seen what that person is seeing like with my own eyes just being a remote teacher. And then, all of a sudden, getting all of these expectations thrown at us, and seeing comments on Facebook pages and things like that with parents critiquing things that their teachers do, and it’s kind of heartbreaking, because They now know how hard we work, but we’re still getting vilified for it.

Heather 

What ways would you say you’ve been supported, whether it’s through administration or school district both through, you know the struggles of being understaffed, and um receiving criticism from the public.

Meghan 

You want my honest answer. 

Heather 

I guess that’s up to you.

Meghan 

So, I feel in my past couple years that I have received support from very specific people. I’ve received support from people who I know very well, who I feel very comfortable talking to um who are there for me? Not because I’m an educator, but because of who I am as a person, and because I’m friends with them, or I know them personally. I do not feel as if I have been supported by administration and school districts as a whole. Some of that is because they don’t have the staff. You know. We were combining classes, so I had six extra students for a week and a half because the teacher had Covid, but there was no substitute teachers. So okay, I went from having eighteen students to now having twenty four students, and I don’t have desks for them. They are at a different place in all of their work, but that’s just how it has to be, and that’s what we were told, and we just got to have to go with it. And so it was really hard to just go with it, because then I have six extra students who I am now mentally in charge of, who now I have to teach, who I have to figure out what makes them tick. I have to educate them. I have to take care of them. I have to feed them a lot of times. Um! And so… 

Jace 

Was it? Was it always the same six students that were? 

Meghan

No, no, no, I get so every time students would be absent. And this was nationwide like this happened to many, many people, and I know in New Hampshire it was very like everybody had to do it at least once. Um! But when a teacher was out there wouldn’t be a substitute, so they combine the class amongst the other great wide teachers, and they would have to take those students that day. The students didn’t know until they got there. Sometimes teachers wouldn’t know until ten minutes before the bell rang for the first part of the day, so we had no prep. Time and again part of it is, there’s a shortage. There’s no subs. There’s no paraprofessionals, but at the same time you don’t see the you don’t see the higher up administration walking through those buildings. It did get to a point last year where we had superintendents, assistant superintendents, people from HR, you know, lunch staff, like people lunch staff. They were the one substitute teaching, because that’s how many people were absent, and that’s so like they didn’t have anybody. Um. So eventually they kind of had to make themselves seen, but it wasn’t till like the very last, until they really had to. Yeah, and it it was It’s so. Yes, I was supported by my family, by my friends, by certain coworkers that I became close with but overall I I don’t feel as if I was supported most of the time.

Jace 

Did you find yourself being able to set boundaries when it came to work? Because I know that it can be difficult, having all of these expectations on you as a teacher. But you hopefully you’re able to leave work at work and get the rest that you need when you go home.

Meghan 

So in theory, yes, I think my first year teaching, and as a first year, teacher, you tend to struggle with setting those boundaries because you’re so excited and everything’s fun, and you want that bulletin board is perfect, and you want to make sure all your copies are made before the next day, and last year was not that way. Um! I would leave. I would get to school ten minutes before it started, and leave right at the bell when I could, because I just couldn’t be there anymore. And then I would go home and take about a two-hour nap every single day, because I was so mentally and physically exhausted. So I guess that counts as setting boundaries, except for the fact that I was dying inside, and there wasn’t a way to balance, because that’s just that was the only way um starting out this school year. I definitely have a better work-life balance. I tend to go in earlier. I like to set up everything. Make sure I have everything I need. And then, usually, you know, ten minutes after the bell. My kids are gone. I’m going home because I still need a nap, but just not for two hours. So I think i’m getting better at it. But you know there one of my coworkers this year, said the one of the first things she goes. I show up right before the bell, and I leave right at the end of the day she goes, because, you know, I’ve got kids, and I’ve got things to do. And you know school is for school, and that’s my job. But other people can leave their job there, and I’m going to do that, too, and that really resonated with me, because there’s so many people who can. Just. Yep. Okay, I’m going home nine to five job time to go, and they don’t do any work at home, and that is just not the case for teachers, and I don’t think it ever has been, and I think people are now realizing how much work they actually do outside of the school day, because there’s no time to do anything during the school day.

Heather 

Now, do you receive any negative feedback or criticism for stepping out, you know, at the end of the day, or you know, maybe not being mentally present all the time, not saying that you’re not present during the school day, but being able to kind of like check out at the end of the day rather than bringing work home.

Meghan 

Um! So unfortunately I I do bring work home, and the reason for that is at the end of the day I need a break. I’m done. I need a mental… Okay. I need to turn it off for a while, I choose to at three o’clock go home, take a break, eat dinner, and then after that I kind of pull out my laptop and say, Okay, what are some things that I need to come, you know, do, before I go to school tomorrow. So I do take, I do try to balance it out because i’d rather go home and take a break, and then do some work than say me But I don’t think that I I think people get it. I think that teachers are like. Yep, I wish that was me, you know, and I think that there are a lot of teachers who have started really setting those boundaries more than they ever have, because we’re all exhausted.

Heather 

I’m happy to hear that you aren’t getting criticism. I I don’t want to say i’m happy to hear that. Um. We definitely got some responses talking about um teachers receiving negative feedback from admin for setting boundaries. So I mean, not happy that you have to bring work home, but at least for you know, being seen in that way. Yeah, for, you know, leaving when you need to, or you know not not doing me. Um, you know. Just ride until you burn out. Yeah.

Jace

We also got a lot of responses from people saying that Admin Has been really supportive of that. So, actively telling people to go home and not check their emails. Or if they’re there past four, the Admin will stop in and see what they’re doing, and tell them, Hey, get out of here, so it’s signals of like good work, culture boundaries, and respecting that work life balance. So I think it’a mixed bag as well, for like, which big district you work in, or with a culture in.  But I, I have been seeing a lot of mixed responses for that.

Meghan 

Yeah, I would agree. I think it depends on the district.

Jace 

So could you tell us about something that could potentially improve your mental well-being as an educator, or make it easier to prioritize your own mental wellness in the long run.

Meghan 

Um, so first to prioritize my mental health um I think going to therapy is very important. Uh, I went when I was in college. Uh when I started student teaching, and I worked in elementary school for three years as a teacher’s assistant, and I remember going to my therapist being like, Do you want to hear what the kids said today? You know he would just take it in strides, and I think, having a person to debrief with, whether it’s a therapist or a family member, or someone else. I think it’s really important to have that. I think the benefit of therapy, at least for me is my therapist doesn’t teach, and sometimes I think, when talking with other teachers, we tend to feed off of each other’s negativity about the profession, because we’re all so exhausted and and and we’re trying to have that hope and that excitement. But it is really difficult, and so, having a third party to kind of, you know, give my emotions to, and they don’t necessarily have the same reaction that other educators do is really helpful. I also would say something that has improved my mental well-being in the last two weeks that’s the first couple weeks of school have started is students. Yes, it’s exhausting, and yes, it is sometimes heartbreaking and frustrating. And you know just we’re working ourselves into the ground sometimes. But there are days where it is absolutely worth it, having a student, share something personal with you, and just excited to tell you something, or you know, when you they’re excited about something, and they did something great academically, and you get to share it with the class, and you can see the pride in their faces, or you know they’re excited about independent reading or writing, or you know, just and literally anything. Um, I mean, I work with ten and eleven year olds, and they’re hysterical, you know you hear the funniest things come out of their mouths, and I think that’s really important, for at least me is my, i’m not happy, and i’m not excited, and i’m not present for them, I’m not going to get out of them academically, and i’m not going to get anything out of them emotionally, and that’s my job is to be there for them. And yes, that is a lot of pressure, but they are absolutely worth it, and sometimes you have to remind yourself of that.  But definitely having a new class and a fresh start has improved my mental well-being already because they are just absolutely amazing. Um! My students are very smart  and making those personal connections with students is the best part of the job.

Jace 

Do you ever find it difficult to separate your own mental health from their mental health, like if the student’s having a really bad day or something’s going on at home, and you can tell it is, bring them down. Do you ever find that impacting your own ability to teach the class?

Meghan 

Yes, I am a very sympathetic human being. At least I think so. And so, if a student is upset, I immediately feel that, depending on what it is I mean. Sometimes they’re  talking about something that happened with their family that was really heartbreaking. Grandparents passed away, and and you can feel that emotion, and I suck everything up. I’m like Yep, that’s my emotion. Now i’m going to feel that with them. I’m going to walk them through that emotion. How can we understand it and push forward? And you know that’s that’s the goal, at least, is to help them. But I definitely, I take all of that in which is difficult, because that a lot of times, if it’s not good. I’m bringing that home that that you know mental exhaustion.

Heather 

What does self-care look like for you other than Nacks when you have that difficult day? What do you do when you walk out the doors.

Meghan 

Um! So yes, I take a nice nap. Um! I try to at least get like one productive thing done after school, so that I don’t feel like i’m a couch potato, even though I know that that’s you know, a whole other thing about my own mental health. But I I like having at least one productive thing, so I can say, Oh, I did laundry today. So you know that’s one life thing that I accomplished, and then I spending time with people. Ah, I’m not someone who can spend a lot of time alone. I need to constantly be around people, even if we’re just sitting in the same room doing completely separate things, being around other people, is what brings me the most joy. Um, which is part of the reason. I think I became a teacher, and so spending time with the people I love is definitely the best thing that I can do for my own mental health.

Jace 

Well, I think we are nearing the end of this. So, Megan, if you could just share one more thing if you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the way that the education system is supporting or not supporting teachers. Right now, what would be the one thing that you would change so that you would feel more supported as an educator.

Meghan 

I think that Oh, there’s so many things…

Jace 

You can say multiple. I just didn’t want to put too much pressure on you.

Meghan 

I have two, I two big ones, one money, which sounds superficial, and it sounds greedy, but it is factual information. A fact about myself, as I probably spent from five hundred to one thousand dollars last year on my students. I can guarantee you that almost every teacher in the United States probably does that, whether it’s extra snacks, whether it’s decorations for the classroom, whether it’s you know anything we do not get paid enough for that. I also would have to say that the money could also be great for more supplies, and you know just well… 

Jace 

But even not just putting it back into your classroom, but a livable wage. 

Meghan 

Yeah, that’d be nice.

Jace 

And everyone deserves a livable wage and not having the stress of okay. Am I going to be able to pay these bills this week, or am I going to have to push things off, or what do I cut out this week so that I can pay for the essentials, and anyone working a forty plus hour a week job, or even like thirty two hours a week. I mean everyone deserves a living wage, and the fact that the teachers in our nation aren’t making a livable wage and are probably one of the most difficult jobs that there is. That’s a lot that’s a lot to process.

Heather 

Yeah, plus everything that you’re taking on, mentally and physically, with supporting the kids all day like you. Your are you walking out exhausted and burnt out? You don’t need to add financial stress, or you know, financial and security on top of that.

Jace 

Not to mention you’re just, you know, shaping the minds of the future of our nation like no big deal, which is, You Know.

Meghan 

Yeah, it’s It’s crazy to think My, this is really sad, but my parents are both teachers, and they, that’s not the sad part. They’re they’re both great people. They’re fabulous. They were incredible, incredible teachers. My mom still is. But they were both teachers when I was growing up, and I just remember money always being tight. I remember, you know there’s me and my two siblings, and we went on vacations, and we did a lot of fun things, but I remember saving up for family vacations with them, and, you know, being kind of like a fun project. Oh, let’s save all this money, but like in actuality, looking back. We were actually saving that money because my parents wanted us to have those experiences. But as teachers they couldn’t easily afford it, and even now they’re still struggling, you know. Now they have, you know, parent loans for colleges, and you know they’re still living in a house, and they, you know, are still trying to buy groceries, and I just. They always told me not to become a teacher when I was growing up, because I wasn’t going to make any money, and I was going to be exhausted, and then I did it anyways, because that’s who I am. I just, it’s heartbreaking that thirty three years after my parents became teachers we’re still struggling with the fact that i’m not making a livable wage.

Heather 

Hearing you say, and I did it anyways, because that’s who I am makes me think, too, that you know people become teachers because they care because they’re passionate about what they do. And really, you know the system is built on that because we’re going to teach. 

Meghan

Yeah, that’s the same teachers use. We don’t do it for the money. Yeah, Because if we did, we’d all be crazy. The other thing that I I remember the other thing that I wanted to I would fix, or…

Jace 

Wave your magic wand at?

Meghan 

Yes, um would be administrators, and people in higher  positions of power who are in control of education need to get their butts in a classroom. They need to substitute, teach at least a couple of times a year, and they need to experience the stuff that we go through every day, because a lot of people who are in paid places of power and education are not people who have ever experienced education. They they are like. Oh, well, I went to school. Yeah. Congrats, You’ve never been a teacher. I’m: Sorry. This is a little aggressive, but I thank you that they, they have no idea. Yeah, four years of college does not prepare you for the stuff that teaching will throw at you, and I think it is so incredibly crucial that people who control my paycheck and control the decisions about what I’m teaching, and how i’m teaching um should know what it’s actually like to teach,

Heather 

Even just listening to the teachers. You know, you can tell what you need. Yeah, say what Isn’t working. It’s really about them listening. And um, trusting the folks who know what they are doing.

Meghan 

Yeah

Jace 

People know themselves best. If someone’s telling you, hey? This isn’t working in like my classroom, or whatever i’m doing like, try and figure out why, you know, Don’t just say, Oh, we’ll keep trying, you know, and I feel like that’s the attitude that a lot of people are being faced with right now, especially because everyone’s so burnt out from the pandemic. We’re like, i’m exhausted. And it was like, keep trying. You’re doing right, and it’s like, okay, But it’s not about the effort at this point. It’s about the about the infrastructure. It’s about our systems that we’re using, and how can we make them more friendly to everyone that’s using them.

Meghan 

Yeah. And I think this like people in charge, They’re not asking teachers what they need. And I think that’s a really important thing, too, is we’ve been telling them, but they’re not, they’re not asking. And then they’re not listening. When we respond,

Jace 

Listen to understand, not to respond, and always ask the people what they need, and don’t assume.

Heather 

So i’d like to close things out on a bit more of the positive note.

Meghan

I know i’m sorry I went on a rant.

Heather 

No, no, it’s. It’s all important. It’s all valuable. Just want to make sure. You know we’re not closing out this incredible conversation on a place of negativity. So what’s one thing that you’re hopeful for? As an educator?

Meghan 

Um. I’m hopeful that I will inspire students to become the best versions of themselves, and I hope that I can continue. At least I hope i’m inspiring them right now. But I hope I can continue to do that in the future, and I hope that I can be as good of a teacher as I’ve seen my parents be for the last twenty four years of my life.

Heather 

I love that. Thank you so much for taking the time today to share with us, and to be vulnerable. It’s it’s really important. It’s really valuable. Um. And

Jace 

Go hug a teacher, everyone listening. Go hug a teacher.

Heather 

Yeah, I know that people will feel validated by hearing what you’re sharing.

Meghan 

Yeah, thank you.

Heather 

So, Jace, What is one takeaway you have from today?

Jace 

My one takeaway from today’s conversation. Is that not just administration, but communities as a whole need to start asking teachers what they need, and listening and figuring out how we can support them, not just saying, Oh, you’re doing a great job, or like you’re an essential worker. You’re a hero saying all these things, but like actually putting action behind our words and saying, Okay, this year i’m going to donate like a hundred glue sticks or something like that. But just like not that. That’s what’s going to change mental health. Like for all teachers, but just doing something that you know is going to help the classrooms like lighting someone’s load financially. Say, okay, teachers, what do you need from me this year, an Amazon gift card. Great? Here’s an Amazon gift card. Do you need more substitutes in your building? Okay? Ah, who do I know that could be a substitute or is looking for something right now, you know, just spreading the word and just making sure that there are systems in place to support our teachers, so that they don’t feel like they’re going at this alone, because, honestly, when people say it takes a village to raise a child. Okay? Well, teachers are raising twenty, one of other people’s children every single day. So how can we be the rest of that village to support the teachers in supporting these students. Heather, what about you?

Heather 

Um! Well, biggest takeaway is Ah, teachers need to get paid more um, and that, you know, I think just as a society and as a community. We really need to take some time to reflect on the structures that are in place, because clearly you know whether you’re working within it or being a person who served in it. There’s a lot of room for growth, so I think really it’s just, you know, taking the opportunity for reflection,

Jace 

And we can’t be afraid to change, you know change is what makes us grow as people, and it’s healthy. So if we see things within the systems that need to change. It’s not a failure on anyone’s part. It’s only a failure. If we don’t do anything now..

Heather 

Change is good. Um. Well, I think that’s all for today. Thank you so much for listening, and thank you, Megan, for coming on. Um. Take care and join us next time on 603 stories.

Jace 

Thank you, everyone.

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