I will be hosting our next NYSUT Twitter chat on Sunday, May 31 at 7 PM focused on your mental health and wellbeing and what school communities should be doing to prepare for the return to school this fall. A Twitter chat is a great way to engage with other practitioners, share ideas and problem solve together in a quick, one-hour interactive conversation. I hope you will join me on Twitter by following @nysutEVP or you can follow the hashtag #NYSUTchat.
In the meantime, we should all start planning for a return to school where paying attention to mental health will be just as critical as solving the concerns we have about our school community's physical safety. After all, a teacher's working conditions is a student's learning conditions. Students can't learn if they don't feel safe and secure, and teachers can't do their best to meet students' needs if they are not attending to their own mental health. So what should schools be doing?
- Allow time for faculty, staff and students to debrief before returning to school or campus, so the supports needed to start the academic year off right are ready for everyone upon their return.
- Discuss your campus or school's mental health plan. Don't have a mental health plan? Start working collaboratively in a labor/management partnership to create one that addresses the needs of faculty, staff and students.
How many of you have truly processed how it felt to pack up your classroom for the summer during this period of remote learning? How many of you wept in your car as you participated in a parade through a local neighborhood? It is important to let yourself feel all of that, but it is equally important to do something about those feelings, because we are in this together.
We have it in our power to harness labor/management partnerships to start planning now for an environment where we are all taking care of each other physically and mentally, but we mustn't wait until the fall. NYSUT sees you, and we are here to help. So I will ask you again, how are you doing? Join us on Sunday, May 31st and let's talk about it.
- NYSUT's social services department: https://www.nysut.org/resources/special-resources-sites/social-services
- Mental Health Association of New York State (MHANYS): https://mhanys.org/
- School Mental Health Resource Training Center: https://www.mentalhealthednys.org/
- Tools for Educators During a Public Health Crisis: https://mhttcnetwork.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/Tools%20for%20Educators%20During%20a%20Public%20Health%20Crisis.pdf
- Information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
- NYSED: http://www.nysed.gov/edtech/educator-resources
- Healing circles: https://healingcirclesglobal.org/how-to-host-a-virtual-circle/
- Books: Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators by Elena Aguilar, Circle Forward: Building a Restorative School Community by Kay Pranis and Carolyn Boyes Watson