Opinion: Our Teachers Need More Time to Heal

In the rush to get schools reopened and students learning safely again, it’s easy to forget the mental anguish that both students and teachers have endured these past few months. Before we resume classes, we should take stock of our educators’ wellbeing and allow them some space to heal, write Antero Garcia and Nicole Mirra at EdSource.

“Nearly every teacher we have ever worked with puts their emotional needs aside in order to address the emotional needs of their students when tragedy inevitably occurs in our schools,” they explain. “That capacity to harness deep empathy for others is one of the most admirable characteristics of teachers — but is also deeply damaging for their mental health in the long run without support.”

The pandemic was hard enough. Then came the economic fallout and racial strife. In a recent USA Today survey, almost two out of three of teachers said they don’t feel ready to return to school. One in five may not come back in the fall.

Antero and Mirra have some suggestions to help teachers process their trauma and grief, including online sessions where they can vocalize their feelings. But the most important remedy is time. In the mad dash to return to normal, we shouldn’t forget that.