In collaboration with @Pikmykid
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time when there is a heightened focus on the importance of mental health and wellness and on finding methods or resources to help those who need them. As educators, our mental health and wellness are essential because of their impact on the work we do as educators. We interact with our students, our colleagues, students’ families, and other members of our school community. We take on a lot and it can become overwhelming at times. We’ve all experienced a lot over the past two years as we’ve dealt with COVID and new challenges in our daily work, which can and has led to teacher burnout and frustration. To provide the best for our students, we need to focus on our own well-being and be a source of support for others because of a great deal of responsibility we bear as educators. Our well-being impacts the students in our classrooms and in our schools, our colleagues, and those that we lead and learn with. Dealing with challenges can weigh heavy on us emotionally, mentally, and physically. As this school year winds down, it is important that we all take time to rest and to reflect on what we have been through not just this year but in the past two years since the school closures in March of 2020.
Now is the time to reflect on the progress we’ve made and the ways that we innovated and embraced new ideas that led to improvements in the way we provide for our students and their families. Changes we implemented and risks we took led to benefits that we may not have foreseen. Feeling overwhelmed with so much to balance weighs heavily on us all and when we take a risk with a new idea or make a slight change, it can have a powerful impact on teachers and members of the school community. With teacher burnout and families feeling overwhelmed due to worrying about student safety and changes in school schedules, planning for events happening in our schools, a focus on mental health and wellness especially as we wind down the school year is important.
Finding consistency and reliability
It’s no surprise that teachers have a lot of tasks that they must do each day in addition to teaching the content. The clerical tasks that go along with teaching such as school dismissals, announcements, and keeping parents informed of changes in schedules are just a few of the many tasks taken on by teachers each day. There is stress involved in these tasks that impact teacher and parent wellbeing. For teachers, trying to manage a teaching schedule while worrying about student safety when it comes to dismissal, communicating with and reassuring parents when picking up their child from school, keeping them informed of any changes, and providing that information in real-time is a lot. For teachers, being able to save valuable time by having a solution that enables them to spend more time with students learning, and building relationships, while also having the comfort in knowing when a parent is arriving to pick up their child, makes a big difference and helps to relieve any stress and frustration that can come with what may seem to be a simple activity or school routine. But in reality, it can become a time-consuming and stressful process.
What can we do?
There are solutions available and sometimes it comes down to one simple method or tool that facilitates many tasks and helps to alleviate the stress that can result from the time-consuming or challenging tasks faced in schools today. Innovation enables us to bring about impactful changes to the work we do, not just in our schools and for our students, but for the families and the school community too. With a school safety and dismissal platform like Pikmykid, schools get to not only eliminate the stress everyone normally feels, but they get to focus on what really matters, learning in a safe environment. Since Pikmykid helps to speed up the car line and gets rid of unnecessary steps in the process, teachers and office staff gain more time in their day. Without frustrating miscommunications from dismissal changes, having to run back and forth between classrooms, and experiencing loud megaphones or walkie-talkies, the everyday occurrence of dismissal can become a completely different experience for them. They get to spend less time using outdated processes and more time doing what they love, helping students succeed. And since Pikmykid is all about involving the whole community to make school safer, the built-in safety protocols help schools make that happen seamlessly.
With the safety and emergency tools in their back pocket (aka their phone), parents and staff can gain peace of mind with better communication when incidents do happen. With less traffic overall in front of the school, the whole community benefits from the prevention of car accidents and frustrated drivers. Implementing this kind of technology can make a significant impact leading to safer schools and a more positive learning process.
Mental health can impact our lives in many different ways. It can result in emotional, mental, and physical effects which is why it’s essential to find solutions that take little time but that lead to many benefits. When it comes to school, there are a lot of concerns that we need to consider, and having a way to provide reassurance and focus on safety, will help to alleviate those concerns for parents, teachers, and schools.
Rachelle Dené Poth is a Foreign Language and STEAM Emerging Technology Educator at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney, Edtech Consultant, Speaker and the Author of seven books about education and edtech. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @rdene915
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