A knock on my door (Yes, my door is closed — this is the real world — not the fairytale world that is often portrayed in social media). I get up, open the door and am greeted by a teacher who apologizes for being sick. She asks if I have someone that can cover her class for the remainder of the day. Clearly, she is sick. I can hear it in her voice and I can see it in her eyes. I think to myself, I wouldn't have lasted half as long as she did. Then again during my 20 years in education and 47 years on Earth, I have learned that women are much tougher than men.
I have witnessed this scenario, or one very similar to it, many times.
Too many times!
What is my point?
My point is that even when teachers are sick or have loved ones who are sick, they will often apologize for having to leave work so they can go home and simply rest, recover and care for their themselves or their family.
What are we doing to ourselves?
What are the long-term effects?
And what can we do about it?
As you may or may not know, I host a podcast called My Bad in which guests come on and share big mistakes. I believe that listeners enjoy the show because they often see a bit of themselves in the guests. They appreciate that the guests are willing to display a vulnerability that is rare on social media.
I believe their appreciation is largely due to the fact that they themselves are vulnerable. We are vulnerable. A quick peek at the definition of the adjective vulnerable yields the following;
"susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm"
"in need of special care, support or protection because of age, disability or risk of abuse or neglect"
This is us!
I read about it every day.
I witness it every day.
I live it every day.
Underneath my outside face
There's a face that none can see.
A little less smiley,
A little less sure,
But a whole lot more like me
Everything On It, Shel Silverstein
It's time to not only talk about it — it's time to do something about it. I have something that will help with some of the biggest unmet social-emotional needs that every educator has. Let me rephrase that, we have something that can help. I say we because I am alone in my efforts to try and provide what you need — what I need — what we need.
Starting tomorrow — January 23, 2018 — I will be hosting a revamped and reformatted Teachers Aid along with Mandy Froehlich. For those of you who already know Mandy and her work — you know what she is going to bring to this podcast. And for those of you who you don't, I have just two words for you.
Let me explain.
About a month ago Mandy wrote a blog piece titled Destigmatizing the Depressed Educator. It blew me away. She captured what many of us have been thinking and feeling and living for a long time. This was apparent by the number of people that thanked her for her words and honesty.
Oh yeah, the two words that I'll never forget from her piece — Downward Dog.
Because in her piece Mandy wrote that what many of us need to become mentally healthy goes beyond Downward Dog. The yoga pose known to help people relax and decompress — literally. I thought her point was clever, brilliant and spot on.
Yes, yoga is nice.
Yes, deep breathing is relaxing.
And, yes exercising can help us to unwind
But raise your hand if you feel like you could use a little more. That is what we are hoping to provide each week with Teachers Aid. This will be a podcast like none you've ever heard before. We hope you will give us a few episodes to convince you. You can hear a preview of the show below:
"Yes, I Am a Teacher, a Damn Good Teacher, but I Need Help Too"
Mandy Froehlich and Jon Harper
It's a new year and Teachers Aid is rolling out a new format. We've refocused show on meeting some of the biggest unmet needs every educator has. If you are an educator who gives teaching your all, but still feel that you're not doing enough, this show is for you. Tune in, we promise you that you won't hear teachers talking like this every day.
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