Last week I missed my regular Sunday post because I was busy reflecting on life in the woods, hanging out with friends and actively participating in self-care. I had no major insights, but it did give me the idea to research self-care and teaching.
Recently there has been a push for teachers to pay more attention to their mental well-being. Districts are giving mental health days. Teachers are encouraged to “tap-out” of situations in which they feel like they may not be able to respond professionally.
Teachers understand the importance of self-care. They understand the importance of tapping out, and they understand the importance of treating co-workers, parents, and students with respect. I honestly do not believe that any teacher goes into teaching hating students. And I would hope that no teacher goes into teaching thinking it is going to be easy.
The issue with teaching and self-care is not that teachers do not understand what they are supposed to do, it’s the response when they do it. Imagine a teacher telling an administrator that they are not going to teach a student because they think the student is damaging their mental health. Now that teacher is labeled “that teacher”.
If we want to prevent teachers from becoming “that teacher” it goes beyond self-care. It goes beyond giving teachers quiet spaces and respecting their tap-outs. It starts with prevention. It starts with not allowing our teachers to get there in the first place.
And that starts with support and training. It starts with the knowledge that teachers are people too.
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