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'I go to sleep crying' | Overwhelmed teachers need additional support while educating amid pandemic

The Texas AFT may re-launch a 13-week wellness program to help those in need.

HOUSTON — Cy-Fair ISD’s board of trustees recently heard from veteran pre-K teacher Traci Manley about the toll this unprecedented school year is taking.

“I go to sleep crying," Manley said during the meeting. "I do not sleep through the night.”

Many others in multiple districts have shared their concerns as well.

“I will take a bullet for my students," Manley said. "But I cannot protect them from COVID under these situations.”

"Anybody right now is going through something,” licensed educational psychologist and author Tere Linzey said.

Linzey said teachers may be especially burdened due to remote learning, returning to physical classrooms, or a combination of both.

"And if they already had some anxiety, then that anxiety is just greater now,” Manley said.

Some advice if you find yourself dealing with the anxiety:

  • -Pause, breathe and meditate.
  • -Disengage from technology and social media for periods of time.
  • -Exercise and eat healthy.
  • -Find a mental health professional with whom you can chat.

"Just like you have your doctor, your dentist, and all of these kinds of healthcare providers," Linzey said. "I don’t think you can wait now until something comes up.”

Many school districts have their own resources for faculty and staff who may experience difficulties. And the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers may re-launch a 13-week mental and emotional wellness program.

“I mean, it doesn’t surprise me that people are under pressure because they’re having to do more work and work harder than they would have normally," Texas AFT vice president Zeph Capo said. "Because they’re having to take everything they would’ve done and figure out how to do it in this new format.”

Many teachers are handling things as well as any other time. But those who aren’t may need additional support.

"The little things that used to not bother people are really pushing them over the edge now,” Linzey said.