Letters: Relieve stress for Philly teachers, too [philly.com]

 

Kerri McGinley, PhD a former teacher and principal with the SDP, thoughtfully responds to my letter to the editor regarding the end of kindergarten suspensions with her own letter (below).  Dr. McGinley urges all to consider teacher stress too. Thank you Dr. McGinley for raising this important point, reminding us that addressing employee stress and secondary traumatic stress is an imperative if we are to develop the trauma informed education and other systems we strive for.  

Ease teachers' stress

I have no doubt that "trauma" and "toxic stress" have a significant impact on students ("Curtailing K suspensions a good first step," Aug. 26), but when will we recognize the stress and pressure that employees are experiencing in the School District of Philadelphia?

Daily exposure to violence, pressure, misdirected anger, being understaffed - all while working to support students with significant needs - can be draining and overwhelming. Many young teachers now list anxiety medication as a school supply.
 

We must include employees in our attempt to support those experiencing trauma and stress, because it does not happen in isolation. We must support the adults who work so hard to support our children.

I proudly served the district for 23 years as a teacher and principal and worked with many caring and dedicated people, who operate in very challenging conditions. Let us acknowledge that the stress is real and provide support so that they can be role models and demonstrate healing and resiliency for the students they serve.

We can and should do more; toxic stress does not happen in a vacuum. Students will be the ultimate benefactors if we support the employees.

|Kerri McGinley, assistant superintendent, Atlantic County Special Services School District,

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