By Antero Garcia and Nicole Mirra, EdSource, June 17, 2020
As school districts and county offices of education make plans for safely reopening schools in the fall and helping students cope with their trauma, it is urgent that they also recognize and make space for teachers to process and heal from their own feelings of loss and grief.
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. We experienced this firsthand in our own classrooms when we were high school teachers. 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.
But now, in the face of racial violence and the immense loss of life due to the global pandemic, teachers are coping with tremendous loss, anxiety and sorrow even as they work harder than ever at their rapidly evolving jobs.