This statement is the impetus for this site and my philosophy for this work. In my years of exposure to the field of education, through my parents (my father was a special education teacher and my mother, a school counselor) and I am married to a high school teacher as well. Additionally, professionally, in the last decade, as a school social worker or through federal grant-funded contracted work with the state department of education, as I’ve worked with numerous schools/districts, I’ve seen the need for this perspective.
Over my tenure in education, primarily with “under-performing” schools, my primary focus has been on meeting the mental health needs of students. Improving school climate & culture and access to mental health services, adopting policies and procedures to support ALL students, training for school personnel have been my main priorities. All of those components are crucial and proven to be essential to the academic success of students. However, I’ve come to realize (along with many other professionals in this field) that if we don’t first focus on the well-being of the adults in the building, it impedes our efforts to help with the well-being of the youth. The old saying “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” can apply to our schools. “If teacher (or administrator) ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. I believe it is illogical to expect adults who are beat down, unsupported, exhausted, undervalued, overworked (aka “burnt out”) to have the ability to effectively educate our next generation (many of whom are also beat down, unsupported, exhausted….). I believe we have to fill up (aka feed) our educators, help them to be whole so they can in turn support our youth, fill them up and help them to be whole and become all they were meant to be.
My intention is to provide ideas and suggestions to “Feed the Teachers” (which is not excluding administrators or other adult faculty in a school building or any other profession for that matter-we all could benefit from some self-care, in my opinion).
Because I live with a teacher, and am a full-time working mother, I know not everyone can afford to take a retreat for a weekend (although if you can that is highly recommended). I also know that not everyone has time to take a yoga class or get 8 hours of sleep or likes to drink green smoothies or maybe has the energy to find/begin/participate in a hobby. So this site will offer “quick fixes”. Things that take one minute or a few minutes, suggestions you can carry with you throughout your day to help sustain you. I believe setting aside time for self-care is important but not always reasonable AND sometimes it may be more beneficial to have strategies to help you “in the moment”. And I know there are plenty of “in the moment” opportunities throughout an educators day.
Ultimately, in our fast paced world it is my hope that we can learn to go SLOW, to realize when we need “a moment”, and learn how to effectively (& efficiently) take care of ourselves, our most valuable commodity, as we go through our day. Let’s work together to “Feed the Teachers” so they/you can then in turn feed the students.