While we are fighting the good fight, protesting injustices, demanding equality and the right to live while also attempting to protect ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic we have to remember to care for ourselves.
As educators we not only have ourselves to consider but we encounter hundreds of personalities daily. Students, colleagues, administrators, parents. We engage at a high level every single day for hours on end. The relationships that we create while teaching are meaningful ones therefore we can be overcome with feelings of helplessness especially in an uncertain time like this.
Since forever school has been a constant. The academic calendar has been second nature in our society. September to June 8am – 3pm. Clockwork. For students, parents and educators alike. The shutdown has upended our sense of normalcy on a scale that is unprecedented.
Feeling the loss of milestones like graduation, prom, end of year trips, school traditions
Being empathetic to our students as they miss their classmates
Feeling unprepared to be a virtual teacher
Mourning illness and loss of life
Managing our own homes at the same time
This time off from “normal” only heightened the responses to the injustices that have been occurring in the black community. Amaud Aubury. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. 3 names in a list of 100s that were wrongfully killed at the hands of law enforcement or those pretending to be because they were black. The country reached a boiling point and many of us took a stand. Protests. Peaceful and non peaceful sprung up all over evoking a cry for justice. A cry for help.
As a black woman educator from Philly who teaches/counsels black and brown inner city children everyday both circumstances combined affected me in ways that I could not have imagined.
There has been a burden on us educators. It hurts. All of it. There are so many unknowns so many things wrong and most people in education are natural helpers. We want to fix, teach, mold, do. This pandemic has impeded our ability to help in the ways we are accustomed. I have a couple of tips to help us refocus.
1. Have self compassion/ give yourself grace
2. It’s ok not to know no one has all answers
3. Know that this is a shared experience. Many of us are tackling the same stresses. You don’t have to carry the burden alone.
4. Take care of the basics. Get enough sleep, eat enough and more healthy, exercise, drink enough water. Fuel your body so your basic survival tank doesn’t run empty.
5. Feel your feelings. Remember that you are a person too so it is ok to feel it before you deal with it.
6. Unplug – social media, news, youtube less consumption tv/news/social media
7. Express yourself, get in out. Be creative, draw, dance, write, talk. Find a way to release what is inside of you.
8. Educate yourself on things that are stressing you out. Mad about racial injustices read articles about prison reform or police practices, uncertain about teaching virtually? Sign up for a virtual learning webinar. Increase your knowledge base so you can feel more secure.
9. Make a loose daily schedule and dedicated workspace. This will free up mental space if you know what you are doing when and where each day. Less mind pollution.
10. Do not overbook yourself.
11. Just be. Take time. Sit and be still. Breathe. You dont have to be everywhere, doing everything at anytime. Take a moment to be exist in the moment. Do nothing. Go inward if necessary or veg out on TV. We don’t have to be super productive or “on” all the time. Relax.
Be kind to yourself educator. You cannot face this world ready to tackle the perils of Covid 19, racism, police brutality and virtual learning for your students and own children on an empty tank. We’re all in this together. Take care.
College Advisor – firstname.lastname@example.org
Life Coach – email@example.com