Teachers can’t seem to catch a break

Since the return to school, many students have struggled to adjust to the aspects of virtual learning, workload and time management. What about teachers?

We fail to realize that although we might be struggling, our teachers are too.
They put in lots of time and effort into creating lesson plans every week. Many teachers also aren’t familiar with technology-based learning.

Teachers who regularly used Blackboard were now adjusting to using Google Classroom, and teachers who only assigned and graded homework physically had to figure out how to do it virtually.

Problems began developing when teachers were given a deadline to say whether they would be returning to teach in-person, resign or take a leave of absence.

A teacher association in FCPS had begun urging teachers to call in sick on Oct. 7. It was branded as a mental health day for staff members. This was due to teachers essentially being forced to return to school.

It was very much necessary for this teacher union to advocate for this mental health day because it opened up a new conversation.

” I love the idea of a mental health day and, while teachers do need one, I think it would be good for everyone, students included,” math teacher Jessica Klein said. “There has been a lot of talk about what snow days will look like and I’m hoping the county will choose to keep them. I know some teachers have been using their own sick days to take mental health days (personally, I’m thinking of taking one soon) and while it’s great we have the opportunity to do so, it would be awesome to have one through the county.”

Many began to discuss how the mental health of adults is often overlooked. Allowing teachers to express their opinions was extremely important in setting the tone for many more decisions to come.

In school, we consistently open up the conversation on student mental health.

Teachers are often not included in this conversation in the sense that they don’t get to express their emotions. Something needs to be changed.

School administrators need to acknowledge these problems because as students, we have to rely on teachers for guidance and help, but if that isn’t being reciprocated it can lead to vast issues.

“The mental health of teachers needs to be taken just as seriously as the mental health of students,” junior Holly Waldridge said. “Sometimes we are unconsciously insensitive to our teachers, and they already have enough on their plates as is.”

Schools should provide resources that teachers can use in the case that they find themselves struggling with their mental health.

During a time like this, we must ensure that everyone is maintaining healthy habits and trying to remain positive. Schools could provide mental health seminars, infographics with tips, and more flexibility.

We must acknowledge these issues because when students are being taught, they respond in a specific way depending on the teacher’s attitude.

A teacher that shows no interest in teaching a class will lead to students not participating and a negative environment.

Teachers that show motivation and excitement lead students to reciprocate that participation and enjoyment.
Acknowledging these problems also show staff members that their thoughts and opinions are not being ignored.
As the school year continues, both students and teachers will need full support to slowly transition back to in-person instruction.

Not only will we have to worry about our grades, but we will also have to worry about staying safe.
As students, we can also make a difference by giving our teachers the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes they grade things incorrectly or forget to put something in the grade book. We have to understand their situations the same way they understand ours. Remaining supportive and understanding will help motivate them to do better.

“I always try my best to be nice to my teachers even when they make mistakes because I know it’s never intentional,” junior Sabrin Gabow said. “With the ongoing political climate and heavy-workload, it’s safe to say that both students and teachers are being mentally affected by everything. This is why it’s so important to support each other.”

Counties across the U.S. should also attempt to officially make a mental health day for students and teachers. It would be a nice day for students and teachers to relax and reflect.
It would also spread more awareness of mental health.

As a country, we’ve slowly become more progressive and have begun to acknowledge and shed light on these issues.
This will continue to go on as students and teachers fight to express their opinions vocally.

The first step FCPS must take is allowing their employees to be more opinionated.

“In a time when there are a lot of things that we cannot control, I think it is important that we focus on the things we can. Our personal and collective mental health is one of those things,” Leadership teacher Jessica Arias said. “In all of my classes, we start every class period with a 10 minute mindfulness exercise because it is a productive way to care for our brains and I think that everyone deserves a consistent time to turn away from the screen and listen to something relaxing.”