Dear Esteemed Colleagues,
Education all over the nation is hurting right now. Educators in Indiana have to create year long lesson plans for the 2022-2023 school year to be posted online by June. There are states where educators are facing legislation of having their classes live-streamed so the parents can watch. Things are rough for educators. All over the United States teachers are being guilted into codependent relationships and gaslighted because we got into this profession for the kids. Not only am I hearing it in the media, I am also hearing it from our own members. The tremendous weight you carry on your shoulders as you balance staffing shortages, test scores, social and emotional health, student behavior, splitting classes, subbing for other colleagues, learning new technology and curriculum, creating curriculum, and the list increases as we continue to navigate the changes of our noble profession. I didn’t even mention the pandemic yet. I have heard time and time again that this year has been even harder than last year. We have been flooded with the importance of the social and emotional well being of our students, but members, yours is important too.
I write this letter today because I want to remind you that your self care is important. I’m sure you’ve heard the term, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Part of that is setting healthy boundaries. To be able to put our students first, we must put our mental health first. The inspiration for this President’s Message came as I was listening to the podcast, “Teachers Needs a Drink, A Teacher’s Guide to False Guilt and Codependent Schools (Episode 122).” I warn you this is a “not for work safe podcast,” as the host states at the beginning of every show. If you decide to listen to it, please be mindful it is for adults. As I listened to it I thought of how much it resonates with so many of the stories I have heard from my colleagues. It is also very interesting because it is done by a group of teachers from Texas, so it demonstrates some of the differences between a state with collective bargaining rights versus a state without them. Here are some of the take-aways from this particular episode that I wanted to share with you.
Practice Self Care
Learn to set boundaries
Make time for family
Take time for you
Press Pause on the mental replay
The 3 R’s
1. What are you feeling; emotionally and physically. What are you thinking, can you identify it, does your intensity match the emotion?
2. Practice compassion with yourself and others.
3. Acknowledge feelings and thoughts. Awareness is good, but it does not mean you have to fix everything.
Reframe and take a second look
Ask yourself these questions:
1. On a scale from 1-10, how serious is this problem.
2. Am I creating a flood out of a cup of water?
3. Will I remember this in 6 months?
4. What can I learn from this?
5. What are the things I can control versus what I can not control?
6. Then remember you can control your thoughts and what you can influence.
I don’t know about you, but this is often the hardest for me.
1. Stop and check your pulse, pause and step away before reacting. This will help you be more proactive in a situation instead of reactive.
2. Stop the mental replay of reliving negative situations in your mind. That creates more stress.
3. Breathe and let go. Move. Write it, say it and let it go.
4. Make a Mental Shift from work time to personal time. Take some time before you go into your house, or on a walk, or however you spend your personal time. Leave the negative behind you and take time for your family, your hobbies, meditation, for time dedicated to refill your bucket. You can not fill the bucket of others if yours is empty. Flip the switch and don’t feel guilty, make time for yourself and loved ones.
By taking care of yourself, you are modeling healthy habits for your students. We can not do what is best for our students, if we do not do what is best for ourselves. Finding balance between work and self was important before COVID, and will remain to be important as we continue to return to a world with relaxed mandates. I am sure that many of us have had the story sometimes during our career as the teacher who got there at 6:30 am and left at 6:30 pm. I know I did, especially during my beginning years. With this in mind, this four day weekend, please take time for yourself and to enjoy time with the ones you love.
I am sure that you have heard that Governor Newsom has extended the Supplemental COVID Sick Leave (SPSL) retroactive to January 1st 2022. Here is information about SPSL. The form to apply for retroactive SPSL was sent to your district email in an HR Update. Here is the link to the district form.
The state has extended SPSL till Jan. 1, VTA continues to advocate to the district to make it retroactive to October 1, 2021. While we are happy that SPSL was extended, the fact that there is a gap in coverage of three months, where some of our colleagues had to use their personal sick days. This creates inequity for some of our staff members. You can support VTA in advocating for making SPSL retroactive till Oct. 1, 2021 by writing letters to our board members letting them know that other districts around us have used some of their COVID funds to cover this gap.
IFT (Institute for Teaching) Grants
Money for your classroom and dream projects! Check this out!
Know Your Contract
We are still in evaluation season. Make sure you understand the timelines and your rights. Here is some information about Article 26 so you make sure you are informed.
Article 26: The Evaluation Process
VTA Shirts Are In!
If you want a new shirt, contact your rep or come in and visit the VTA office at 2142 Industrial Court #D, Vista 92081. Please call before hand to make sure someone will be in the office 760-758-2690.
Sometime next week some lucky winner will be surprised by a gift bag from Belching Beaver. Congratulations VMMS for having the most amount of members at your site reply . Your reps will be working with us to schedule your pizza parties! If you want to be entered into this month's drawing, answer the google form below. This month the site with the most responses will win donuts and coffee!