coronaviruschronicles, mental health, self-care, spirituality, teaching

Reflection and Self-Care Day

Today’s teacher training focus was self-care. Our school chaplain led us into reflection. It truly focused on the inner life (mental and spiritual), with the use of a Ted Talk video and a YouTube video. The setup fits into the narrative that teachers should be flexible about how we tackle our new teaching arrangements. Some teachers open up about their present anxieties.

Being used to “religious” people telling others to pray instead of getting therapy, I was pleasantly surprised that our chaplain recognized the need to get rid of these toxic judgments. Instead, he recognizes that everyone needs to take care of their mental health and that we need to get rid of the stigma that surrounds mental illness. People immediately judge those who are suffering from some kind of psychosis or depression. They jump to the conclusion that it must have been drugs or a punishment from heaven.

Unfortunately, I am not the right poster child for self-care. Today, I still wrote 3 short articles, one longer one, and 1500 words for my creative project. I am anxious when I am not doing anything. I need to face my reluctance to give myself some mental silence and reprieve.

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coronaviruschronicles, teaching

Ways to Help Teacher Friends during COVID Lockdowns

So, instead of being on self-imposed lockdown today, I went to school in-person to help out fellow teachers go over the use of Google Classroom. I wore two surgical masks and a mottled shield. After I had sprayed it with alcohol, streaks and spots covered the whole thing but I still trudged on and walked to school in a haze.

It made me think. Teachers might be popular when some parents had a brilliant light bulb moment, but they often get the short end of the stick. It is worse now that I am a primary school teacher. When I was still teaching university students, I do not even get to meet the parents. My teenage students had to answer to their parents when they got terrible grades.

Anyway, here are some ways to help teacher friends during COVID lockdowns:

  • Check up on them. Are they okay? Let them open up if they got COVID but do not pry. Do not let them feel guilty by saying things like, “You could have been vaccinated” or “You could have been more careful!” Full disclosure: I am fully vaccinated and I am rarely out and about. My home is my ultimate shield.
  • Post things on social media about what you do. Some teachers are not oversharers like me. So, I make it a point to post that, hey all, teachers are working. I annoy my Facebook friends to death, I suspect, that nobody would comment about “No, you possibly could not be working that hard.” I wake up at 5 am and sleep at 11 pm. What about you, then? I work most of the time I am awake, too.
  • Help the non-tech savvy with one-on-one tutorials. Some do not want to slow down other teachers during group sessions. So, they just fret on their own.
  • Provide slides or videos for those who want to learn on their own. As an introvert, I know how awesome that feels – making all my mistakes without an audience.
  • Kind words and encouragements work well, too. Unfortunately, I doubt I should be sharing cookies and cakes at this point when people are weary about where your hands had been.
  • Plan lessons together, especially if suddenly all of you are working completely online instead of the usual face-to-face.
  • Wear your mask when talking to them in person. (I double mask!) You never know if you have been infected, or if they had been infected. Let us protect each other.
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