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Community Voices

So i have a question, can my teacher force me to hold a presentation when I have diagnosed social anxiety? My teacher doesnt understand me when i say Im terrified of holding speeches and presentations, she is old and doesnt know much about mental illnesses and anxiety disorders. The last time i was gonna hold a speech infront of my class i had about social anxiety, i tried to hold it infront of my class but i got a panick attack as soon as i said one word infront of the class, and walked out. My teacher saw EVERYTHING. But once again she doesnt understand and tells everyone in the class that they have to hold a presentation. I dont know How many times i have told her she just doesnt understand at all. I get bad grades too because of it. In my country we have two written languages, and we have to learn the other one in school. People with dyslexia and other writing and reading problems doesnt have that subject, and gets «exemption» from it. Why cant people with anxiety disorders get an exemption from holding speeches and presentations? The school system is so god damn old it makes me so mad. What should I do? Because i would rather not have to embarrass myself infront of class again and get a panick attack like usual. #Anxiety #SocialAnxiety #Teachers

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Tammy OZ
Tammy OZ @twhammy8

4 Mental Health Coping Skills for Teachers to Reduce Stress

Other educators might agree with me when I say I surely did not learn how to teach during a pandemic when I was going to college. I teach middle school, and I have now been teaching for about 17 years. Last year and this year have been the toughest years yet — by far. There are days when I get home, and I literally throw myself on the couch, close my eyes, and release a big sigh. There are other times when I have chocolate or get fast food just to treat myself.  I know the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for the students, but it affects teachers too. I can only speak for myself, but my brain has been quite packed during this time. The best way I can describe my brain is as a hamster wheel — I feel like I am tripping over my thoughts because sometimes, I cannot keep up! A lot has been put on my plate, and teaching middle school has its own challenges. I prepare for two subjects (health and physical education), and usually my class sizes are rather large (They can range from 30-45 students.) Here is what my typical day looks like. I start out my day with an advisory class then teach three classes of sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders. I have about a 20-minute lunch, and then depending on the day, I  either have a full planning period or a half planning period. I also have to do homework boards, lesson planning, and grading and make sure I meet my students’ accommodations. The list goes on and on. Naturally, my brain is often overloaded. At times, I find myself not being able to keep up, and I feel burnt out. Moreover, I must manage my own mental health condition (bipolar disorder) and cope with extreme stress and lack of sleep. I am not sure if any other teachers are going through this, but I feel my anxiety is at a high when it has not been like this before. I want to share some coping skills I use to help my mental health. 1. Learn how to say “no” to help your mental health as a teacher. I have always been — and most likely always will be — a “type A” person. I have high expectations of myself, and not being able to “do it all” can be hard for me. Trust me, it has been hard to make small changes, but for my own sake, I had to make some. I have always been the one to volunteer to help run an event or help someone with anything they need, but I finally have learned to say the one word that has always been the toughest for me to say: “no.” To be honest with you, having to say “no” has helped me out. I now limit myself when helping others in my professional and personal lives, so this way, I am not completely saying “no” all the time. 2. Take things off your plate to cope with mental health stress. I have coached several sports throughout my teaching career. I have coached softball at both the junior varsity and varsity levels for several years, and I’ve been an assistant coach for boys’ soccer at the middle school level. This year, I was the boys’ soccer assistant coach again, but I decided this is my last year coaching because I need more time for myself. As I get older, I realize I need time to do the things I enjoy. So I am ending my time coaching to give myself more time to live life. 3. Try not to bring grading, lesson plans, or other work home with you to improve your mental health. This one is a tough one — no matter how far ahead I think I may be on lesson plans or grading, something always must get done. I then decide if I can wait until the next day to get these tasks accomplished and do it then. If so, then I might keep my computer bag closed for that evening and do something I enjoy instead. If this is not possible, then I will set a timer for myself. I will get as much done as I can in that time slot and then allow myself some “me time.” 4. Use the weekends to refresh your mental health. I now put work aside until Sunday because I allow my weekends to be a “no work” time. I do not care if I do not have any plans on the weekend. I will use that time to binge-watch my favorite shows, go for a walk, or read. I just need that downtime to practice self-care before a busy week. These are a few things I now do to help me get through the chaotic world of teaching. Even though teaching has been overwhelming, and at times I think, “Can I keep doing this?” I get that one letter, email, or drawing from a student that reminds me I can. To all the educators out there, please remember you are making a difference in someone’s life — but you can live your own life too.

Jodi Grubb

Seeing Beyond Tests and Supporting All Students as Special Educator

“I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”– John Steinbeck In high school, I drew the picture on the below during art class. I worked as hard as I could. I remember determinedly trying to use shading techniques like I was shown. It took a lot longer than it looks. It was one of my best pieces. Renowned artist, Phillip Philbeck, painted this picture below. I have three of his landscapes hanging in my house. He graduated a year before I did. We had the very same art teacher, Doug Pruett. I remember Mr. Pruett’s teasing grin as he tapped his fingers on his desk saying, “I just don’t have the talent in here I had last year.” If Mr. Pruett’s teaching abilities were judged solely on the artwork we produced, Phillip would be making him look pretty dang good. Me? Eh. I mean really, is that the best he could do with me? I should be pretty ticked in comparison. Except that I remember Mr. Pruett as one of my greatest teachers — someone who had an impact on my life, a true artist who shaped my mind and spirit. I’m sure it took way more skill and creativity and a whole lot more patience to teach me, than it did to teach Phillip. The truth is, I could take art classes until my last breath, and I would never have landscapes hanging in anybody’s house. But you know, since I still remember the term cross hatch and dipping a pencil eraser in ink to give my football texture, I must’ve been proud of my work. Although there’s no way to measure it on any standardized test, that’s what makes Mr. Pruett a great teacher. He recognized my individual potential and weaknesses, and yet I left his class with a lifelong confidence in my creativity and a desire to always find a way to express myself. Mr. Pruett inspired me to be my personal best and to realize there is no one standard of beauty or one single measure of success. He could’ve crushed my spirit by holding me to Phillip’s standards (or pretty much any other kid in the class), but he chose to focus on my strengths instead. As I recently administered standardized testing myself as a special education teacher, I thought about this a lot. I thought about it every time a student significantly affected by autism spoke one of the three words he is beginning to use to ask for something rather than take it by force. I thought about it when I was required to ask him to “solve for x” on a 7th grade math test. I thought about it when I watched tears well up in a teacher’s eyes who just gave an 8th grade reading test to many students who came to her barely reading at a 3rd grade level. I thought about it when she whispered, “What can I possibly say to convince them how much they’ve grown, when they make another Level 1 on another standardized test?” I thought about it as I tried to find words to convince her of the infinite ways she helped them grow, when they made another Level 1 on another standardized test in her class. Not to take anything away from teachers and students who performed well—I love my Phillip Philbeck paintings. They need to be admired and gazed upon. But so do the best attempts at footballs and tennis shoes. There are some teachers whose hard work and passion and insight will never pay off in excellent test scores, but their impact will be manifested in countless other ways. To the true artist teachers who wonder how those kids who struggle academically will know how much they’ve grown, I just wanted to tell you about Doug Pruett. If you spent every single day for nine months focusing on a child’s strengths and pouring your heart into working with the most precious of mediums, you can’t help but have positively shaped minds and spirits. I am certain that you’ve helped instill in your students a lifelong confidence in their personal worth that will stay with them long after test scores are forgotten.

Community Voices

Are there any teachers here with Borderline Personality Disorder or other similar conditions? How do you cope?

I am a teacher in the UK and I’m finding this remote teaching is killing me. I can back on a phased re-entry from 6months off sick with stress and social anxiety, and a sheer lack of control over my BPD.

I’ve walked back in to a different job. I’m stuck at home which is making leaving the house even harder than before. And HR are treating me as though it’s a normal term of re-entry for a non-BPD staff member. The standards are unreachable for someone in my position with my condition.

This is my last attempt at teaching, I’ve tried for enough time now to know that if it this doesn’t work then I’m not cut out for the job. It seems HR may have already decided that though, making every hoop slightly higher than the last one waiting for me to trip up and for them to have an excuse to get rid. My monitoring period has been extended to the maximum 3 months, if I’ve not sorted my self out by the end of March, it escalates to their legal advantage.

All alongside this, I’m doing a job I hate because I hate technology and I miss the classroom, there’s a global pandemic, we are in lockdown (not that you would know since everyone seems to be ignoring it) and I miss my family.

How do you cope? With the pressures? With the organisation? With the admin?
What is the secret?

#BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #Teachers #Education #GeneralizedAnxietyDisorder #Work

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Community Voices

What is the most rewarding thing you’ve done this week? #Caregiving

<p>What is the most rewarding thing you’ve done this week? <a class="tm-topic-link mighty-topic" title="Caregiving" href="/topic/caregiving/" data-id="5b23ce6a00553f33fe98f1c5" data-name="Caregiving" aria-label="hashtag Caregiving">#Caregiving</a> </p>
5 people are talking about this
Community Voices


Any teachers on hear I need some tips. I found im getting transferred to another school. How did you cope with it? How do you say goodbye to your kids at the old school while having to get to know the new kids? What are some memorable ways to say goodbye? #Teachers #transfer

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Community Voices

Are there any teachers out there who have BPD or something similar??
I just had a very disheartening meeting where I was basically told I can’t be a music teacher because I have BPD.

8 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Teacher friends! Whats the easiest way to pack things to move them into your classroom?

Im trying to avoid more than 1 trip. I have 2 hand carts and a ton of reusable bags. Mainly moving decor and supplies. Any tips are helpful! #Teachers #2020schoolyear

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Community Voices

I feel like a failure!

<p>I feel like a failure!</p>
4 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Excited for next week #excited #Teachers #SpeechTherapy

The past month I have been at home unable to work and missing my students. As of next week I will be able to see them via Zoom and I can't wait. Before this stay-in-place order, I was always asking myself, "Oh my gosh, when is our next long weekend?" I now have a greater appreciation for seeing my students in person and knowing how they are doing. I miss our interaction and the laughter. Something that I do hope comes out of this situation is that there is a deeper respect for teachers. I hope those who blame the teacher as to why their child isn't behaving or their child isn't learning will realize it isn't the teacher. I know this may sound harsh, but in my time as an educator the parents who respect the teachers and follow through at home are the ones whose child excels and achieves great things.