Tag Archives: stress

Admin Affecting Teacher Mental Health

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I’m getting a PhD, which yeah, is cool. But my writing time is pretty filled with research papers and Blackboard threads (ugh, Blackboard, I’d forgotten how much I despise you) instead of blogging or working on the second novel…

Becoming a professor was always the end goal though. I found a super old Word doc the other day titled “Life Goals” (way to be discreet, young Alysha) and at the top, starred and bolded, it read: “As long as you accomplish three of these, you’re good!” Ha! So three life goals, that’s all I need to be fulfilled. Going off of that list, I’ve actually already reached fulfillment. Getting my PhD, traveling the world, and publish a novel. Done!

I’m finally teaching at a school where I feel respected. My AP is an amazing woman who never belittles teachers in any way. My dissertation is going to focus on administrator behavior and how it affects teacher mental health and my new school is a shining example of how things SHOULD be in public education. Are there still kinks? Of course. There always will be in a K-12 setting. But it’s great to be in an environment where admin trust teachers to help with the kinks instead of an environment that simply blames teachers for the kinks.

Everyone is pretty weird about openly discussing anxiety and depression, but I hope to be able to break those barriers. Maybe one day soon I’ll post something more in-depth about my own personal struggles, but for now, I wanted to post about my dissertation topic. Teacher mental health is so damn important! Why is this not talked about more? More specifically, why isn’t it common practice for administrators to be trained on how they affect teacher mental health?

When I started this program, there were so many topics floating around my mind—topics I’d love to study. But the one issue that continued to pick at me was teacher mental health—and how administrators can make or break your entire experience as an educator.

I had an absolutely awful experience at my last school. I was bullied and demeaned until I finally applied elsewhere. It was traumatizing. The sad part is, I’m not alone. Countless teachers are treated this way, or worse.

Now that I’m in a completely different environment, I’m having to remind myself that I AM a good teacher and a good person. I’m still getting over the terrible way I was treated at my old district. My coworker joked that I have PTSD, but it really does feel like that at times.

Teachers should never feel scared to go to their administrators, ask for help, or work with them toward a common goal. In these times especially, people should be uniting and working together toward a brighter future, not tearing each other down. I know one dissertation can’t change the total atmosphere of administrator-teacher relations, but maybe one dissertation will lead to another and another and another…until something does change?

P.S. I reached 3,000 followers today! Hollaaaa! Super cool. If you haven’t read The Waiting Room, I’m sending out free e-copies to willing reviewers 🙂 shoot me an email if interested: alyshakaye@gmail.com

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The Stigma of Therapy

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I used to be one of those people–you know who I mean–the people who think that you only go to therapy if “something is WRONG with you.” The people who think that “mental health” is only important if you’re having suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

Ugh.

I’m so glad I’m not “one of those people” anymore. However, I AM broke–and sadly, to take care of ourselves mentally is significantly more expensive than taking care of ourselves physically. I can afford a gym membership, a massage, a whole grocery list full of fresh fruits and vegetables, daily vitamins, FREE birth control, and all of my yearly medical expenses, yet…I can’t afford to go to therapy as often as I’d like? THIS IS BULL. Insurance should cover this 100%…but that’s a separate blog post. This is not about that. Moving on.

I’ve always wanted to go to therapy–this mainly stemming from movies I’ve seen and books I’ve read, where the character lies down on a couch and it all seems so…cool. But also, I always knew I’d have things to talk about–I’ve never considered myself perfect, I’ve never considered my childhood drama-free, I’ve never considered all of my relationships healthy…I wanted to talk about these things with a professional. If, for nothing else, just out of pure curiosity. What would they say? Would it be helpful at all? What would they write in my file?

Late last year, I finally made that leap. My life was a frenzy of stress and anxiety. I felt…helpless. So when a friend of mine started raving about her therapist (she was going through an ugly divorce), instead of just listening, I said, “Hey, can I get her name and contact info?”

It was great…and I mean GREAT. I should make it clear–when I said stress and anxiety, I literally meant stress and anxiety. That’s it–normal, extremely common feelings of stress and anxiety, weighing down on me. Life, career, family, friends, relationship…everyday stressful, anxiety-causing stuff. I wasn’t depressed, I didn’t want or need medication of any kind…I just needed to talk. And that’s the amazing thing about therapy–you’re talking to someone who a) isn’t biased b) has an education and work experience in psychology c) doesn’t treat you with pity or annoyance or judgment and d) isn’t tired of hearing you talk about a subject, like some of your friends or family members might be.

These people listen WHOLEHEARTEDLY and give fantastic advice for a freakin’ living. They are basically YOURS for an entire hour, completely tuned in to your wants and needs and thoughts and emotions and rants and frustrations and…need I go on?

Granted, you may need to search for a therapist whose personality fits what you’re looking for. Not everyone will be as lucky as me (my therapist looks sweet and innocent, but has a mouth like a sailor when need be and doesn’t take anyone’s shit…I adore her). After my first session with her, I felt immensely better about my situation–not just because she listened, but she also gave me some things to think about that no one else had even thought of. My swimming, muddled mind was, for the first time in months, clear.

Let me wrap this up before this turns into a novel-sized stream of conscious on the benefits of therapy.

  1. If you’ve never been, you should! It’s pretty awesome sauce and can truly help with any issue that’s itching at you, big or small…
  2. DON’T FREAKING JUDGE PEOPLE FOR GOING…that just means they take their mental health seriously, which is super mature, proactive, and beneficial to them and everyone around them. It’s 2015. Don’t be “one of those people.”