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Advocating for the Well-Being of Educators

Updated: May 20

Educators are instrumental to the lives of students, extending their reach beyond the classroom and into our communities. Their work has a profound impact on many areas of a young person’s life like providing academic support, creating invaluable learning resources, and facilitating enriching opportunities that continue well after graduation. However, this list does not account for the immeasurable daily interactions educators have with students, caring for their well-being and social success. These are some of the most impactful moments where our staff can truly demonstrate to our young people that they matter and that there is someone unconditionally on their team.

This means that educators aren’t just leading classes; they are caregivers, serving as the first line of defense for students experiencing complex emotional situations. They work with students navigating personal trauma, anxiety, stress, depression, and more. For students like ours at the Mission Society, these interactions are vital–enabling them to overcome challenging obstacles, achieve their goals, and explore limitless possibilities for their lives. 

Despite the importance of this work, educators are often overlooked and lack their own mental health-focused resources, leading to high turnover rates, teacher burnout, and a diminished capacity to provide for the students who need them most. According to a report published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, educators working with students experiencing significant trauma are at a higher risk for the negative health consequences associated with burnout. No educator should feel this lack of support when they pour so much of their time, energy, and compassion into building brighter futures alongside students. 

It’s crucial that our communities come together to ask that educators receive the quality care they need to thrive. All of us can start conversations around interventions, and encourage local city councils and state governments to include more funding considerations for our teachers. Increasing salaries, providing health insurance that accounts for long-term mental health care, and balancing workload by expanding a school’s hiring capacity are solutions that should be on the table. Parents can participate in school board meetings to advocate on the behalf of teachers, and stay up-to-date on school priorities. Hiring mental health professionals to work onsite in schools or introducing programs focused on educators’ well-being can also form a safe space where they can effectively navigate their own emotions and stress.

Educators are at the forefront of creating strong communities, instilling lessons that stick with us for a lifetime, and caring for us during some of our most vulnerable moments of growth. Now, it is our turn to give back to these incredible advocates, and ensure that they are met with quality mental health services– sending a clear message that they matter and their efforts are seen and valued.

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