As our students return to school for the 2020-21 term, it’s more important than ever for teachers and parents to work together. Parents may see behaviors at home that teachers aren’t seeing in school and vice versa.
That reality is, things are different this year. It could be one of those times in life that we may have to sacrifice a bit. Sometimes we are asked to give up things we counted on and expected. Sometimes life doesn’t turn out as we planned. It’s okay to be disappointed. It’s even okay to be angry. But it isn’t okay to demand we be given something just because we’ve come to expect it.
Keeping open lines of communication with each other (parents and teachers) will create consistency in working with students who have emotional or behavioral struggles and to minimize misunderstandings.
Help each other with a plan that helps all to communicate regularly, especially with families who need more frequent contact than others so that they’re in the loop. What is going on in the classroom and at home?
Early school closures across the United States last spring were intended to keep students safe during the pandemic, but for many, it’s ushered in a different set of dangers: anxiety, depression and other serious mental health conditions.
Even before COVID-19, about 15 percent of school-age kids were thought to have a mental health or behavioral disorder, and schools were having a hard time providing enough mental health support.
“Unfortunately school mental health is chronically underfunded and understaffed,” said Sharon Hoover, co-director of the National Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland. “The student to student support staff ratios are not what they should be, so a lot does fall on the shoulders of our educators when we don’t have the proper student instructional support personnel in place.”
Parents should be particularly understanding of the potential extraordinary issues and challenges educators face.
Tens of thousands of people experienced serious mental health symptoms in July as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to take a huge toll on the mental health of the nation, according to Mental Health America (MHA).
MHA, which has been using its online mental health screening program – www.mhascreening.org – to track the real-time impact of the pandemic on mental health conditions, reported that more than a quarter million people took a mental health screening in July.
That was the largest monthly number in the six years of the program, which has now reached more than 5.5 million people with tools and resources to learn more about their mental health conditions and improve or maintain their mental health.
“In July, more than 72,000 of our screeners indicated moderate to severe symptoms of depression, more than 39,000 had moderate to severe systems of anxiety, and more than 19,000 had symptoms of psychosis – the highest numbers we have ever seen,” said MHA President and CEO, Paul Gionfriddo.
“Collectively, since the end of February more than 263,000 people over and above what we would have expected have screened moderate to severe for depression or anxiety,” he added. “This reflects how pervasive mental health conditions are becoming in the general population as a result of the pandemic.”
Screening respondents cite loneliness and isolation, relationship problems, current events, and, increasingly, financial problems as reasons for their mental health conditions at the present time.
MHA offers these tips for teachers:
1. Start fresh.
2. Draw on past experiences with students, but don’t necessarily rely on them.
3. Put yourself in the right frame of mind.
4. Expect some disorganization and forgetfulness.
5. Reduce classroom stress.
6. Look into evidence-based programs that support social and emotional learning.
7. Find the good and praise it.
8. Be familiar with options for accommodations.
9. Avoid embarrassment.
10. Exercise compassion.
Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.