It’s around 12:30a and I know I should be sleep yet I’m up thinking about mental detox. Maybe because I’m speaking at the Texas Alliance for Black School Educators Conference about this topic. Or maybe being a former black educator in public school and reading way too many articles has forced my hand to write my perspective on this topic.
This year will be 10 years of teaching ESL (English as a Second Language). I have taught elementary level, international high schoolers, adults and private clients. So I have a pretty diverse background on this subject. But I’m also an educator through and through. Which means I wholeheartedly understand the dilemmas, stresses and challenges educators especially black educators face in a system that is not setup for success for students or teachers.
So it brings me here. To the place after a year of transitioning from teaching entrepreneurs about networking, business funding, getting started and more to teaching them mental detox. Or should I say teaching entrepreneurs and educators.
Why would I focus on mental detox and address it specifically for black educators?
Well, let me say this. If anyone wants to learn how to create a mental detox strategy, I will work with you. We all need to protect our peace and have a clear and focused mind. But to address the question. I specifically want to target this group as education was a stepping stone for the black community to enter middle class. It held prestige and distinction within the community. And over the years, the prestige and distinction has worn off. Now we are everything to these kids and more. Often giving more to our students than our own families.
And that’s not good for anyone. We can’t ignore ourselves. Our needs. Our self-preservation. And this is why I am teaching mental detox to black educators.
In order for us to be and bring the best to our students daily we must be and bring the best to ourselves first.
It’s not easy to put ourselves first when we entered a profession to serve others.
It’s not easy to invest in what will help us when we pour so much money from our pockets into our classrooms.
It’s not so easy to reach out for help when the teacher is the backbone for both students and family.
But it’s necessary if you want to retire in a great state of mind.
Let’s be real. You don’t want to leave the career you love bitter at all the stuff that was out of your control. Or leave before you want to because of chaos you weren’t prepared to mentally deal with.
There is a plethora of articles out there crying out for us. For others to hear our cry. For others to understand that we are mentally and emotionally invested from the moment we step foot in our classrooms.
A few articles that have stuck with me are:
While the articles I shared stated what’s happening. What’s wrong. They lacked how to give concrete and explicit ways to help us deal with the mental frustrations of the job.
They did, however, share how to bring the love of teaching back. How to ensure that our administrations understand they are the ones who are our protective shield from stress as we support them to lead our schools to success.
I implore you to take time to evaluate your mental capacity today. If you know that you could use some help to fill your cup back up so you give your students the overflow energy you have instead of the drop that’s left, have your Principal bring me in to do a training for the staff. Sometimes teachers have to learn how to help themselves so they can continue to help others.