For my Teacher as Advocate badge, we were required to meet with Antero Garcia to discuss our questions and ideas about what it means to be an advocate in the world of education. The first thing I asked him was what he believes is the biggest issue is education, currently? To which he bluntly responded,
He smirked, but was dead serious with this response. I was not surprised by his reaction, but was surprised by the next answer he gave me…He started to explain how something which has been on his heart is about the lack of support for teachers. There is no practical methods for helping teachers cope and heal when students are hurting. Helping prevent teachers from “burning out,” because how can a teacher effectively cultivate a healthy classroom environment, when they themselves are worn out. The more he talked about this issue the more I reflected on how exhausting teaching must be, and how vital it is to have outlets for teachers to be human.
Two weeks later after meeting with Antero, I unexpectedly received the opportunity to witness exactly what this “burn out” looks like. Each Thursday, for my education 34o lab, I help in a classroom at Blevins Middle School. On this particular Thursday, my teacher pulled me aside to prime me about what we would be doing for the day. She went on to tell me how her students were being disrespectful all week, and her response to their behavior resulted in a parent email which scolded her. She vented to me about the email did not accurately depict what was said in the classroom, and that the student had misunderstood what she said. For class, the students took a self-reflection on their behavior in the class. Long story short, the class discussion regarding this self-reflection led the teacher to break down crying in front of her students.
She was exhausted, over-worked, unappreciated, and frustrated. Therefore, Antero’s idea of advocating in regards to this issue, suggests how we can stop her from reaching this point of emotional stress in the first place. Which is why I am targeting my Advocacy Plan after this idea..because providing support for teachers should be highly prioritized.