Dear Educator, We are Here to Support You
By Kate Munding
In October 2021, a survey conducted by the Missionsquare Research Institute stated that “K-12 employees most commonly reported feeling stressed (52%), burnt out/fatigued (52%), and/or anxious (34%) about COVID-19 while at work, and were significantly more likely than other government employees to report feeling stressed, burnt out/fatigued, and/or afraid.”
This information is no great surprise to those of you working in education for the past few years. Under normal circumstances, the profession is bound to come with an ebb and flow of challenges, stress, and maybe even instability. In the almost 15 years that I’ve been bringing mindfulness education to classrooms, the well-being of teachers and school staff has always been a concern.
Now we are, under circumstances that seem lightyears away from “normal,” and it’s no wonder that mental and physical health is reaching these percentages. Though many of the COVID restrictions are lifting across the country, I think it’s a fair guess to say no one has had time to really process all that has happened in the past two years. As I’m writing this, the invasion of Ukraine has the whole world’s attention and is another heartbreak we can’t separate ourselves from. There is much to bear in and out of the classroom.
In schools, the challenges that need to be addressed are complex and long-standing, and many require policy changes and shifts to old systemic inequalities within the education sector. It’s true on a macro-level; these challenges are bigger than a single person or school. But when we take a micro viewpoint by taking a close look at our own life, our own well-being, and that of the children we affect, profound transformation can take place. This is one way we can ALL make a difference.
Now Children is dedicated to supporting the healthy development of young students, to give them the skills they need to be effective in the world. We don’t see a separation between the wellness of children and the wellness of adults guiding them. It’s clear to us that the educators we train are coming away with supportive tools to bring back to their students. We see the development of the educator themselves as they go through training, practicing mindfulness techniques, contemplating what wisdom is, and how to apply it compassionately.
We want to be part of your support network when you’re having a difficult day or when you find yourself struggling to find purpose in your profession. We want to help you be more mentally balanced and equipped not only for the hard stuff but also prepared so you won’t miss those wonderfully fulfilling moments that inevitably come by as well. There is such joy to be found in education, and we want to help you stay mindful of that too.