I had an awesome day yesterday with many amazing Missoula educators. I always respect and admire educators for their willingness to enter classrooms with large groups of young people. I have many reasons upon which I base the belief–that educators deserve respect and admiration–not the least of which is my lived experience of having occasionally stepped into a classroom with young people. One of my memories is of hearing panic in my own voice, while asking the regular classroom teacher, “You’re not leaving me alone in here, are you?”
Sadly, now is a time in American society when teachers seem not to receive the respect and admiration I think they deserve. For multiple reasons (many of which strike me as misleading and political), it seems like there has been distrust sown between teachers and parents. Yesterday, I spent the day with over 400 teachers, counselors, psychologists, administrators, custodians, and other school personnel who attended sessions I offered. I was honored to be there. Being with them not only strengthened my trust in them, but also renewed my hope in the world.
Here are the powerpoints for my workshop on “Working Effectively with Parents”:
Back in May I received an email from a Belgrade High School AP Biology teacher asking if I could present to Belgrade teachers on mental health. The details have worked out. I’m super-excited to do this for several reasons:
I’m very passionate about supporting teacher mental health and well-being. For as long as I can remember (but especially during these past three years), teachers have been over-stressed, over-worked, under-paid, and under-appreciated. I even happen to have a grant proposal submitted that would give teachers access to very low-cost graduate credit on an Evidence-Based Happiness course. Happiness knowledge and mental health support for teachers is essential.
Education is the central “plank” on my personal political platform. IMHO, to quote myself, “The road to economic vitality, the road to environmental sustainability, the road to excellence in health care and social programs, and the road to good government always has and always will run through education.” We need excellent teachers and we need excellent public education. We need it now more than ever.
Belgrade is conveniently located just off I-90, a freeway that I regularly drive on my way from Missoula to Absarokee and back again.
And best of all, I’ll get to see the famous Nick Jones. Nick is a cool Aussie transplant, a former Carroll College basketball player, and a graduate of our M.A. program at the University of Montana. He also happens to be a school counselor at Belgrade High School.
My big theme will be that although advice is cheap, knowledge is power. We all benefit from knowing more about mental health and happiness. One of my main topics will involve information on understanding sleep. . . because we all have better mental health when we sleep well.
This morning I had the fabulous opportunity to hang out with the staff at Big Sky High School. What I like best about this is that it gives me a chance to be in the presence of teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, and other great people without whom our entire civilized culture in the U.S. would devolve. It reminds me of my political platform (should I ever run for public office). Here it is:
If we want a clean and sustainable environment and if we want a functional economy and if we want an excellent health care system and if we want a country where we have justice for all, then we all better remember that the road to all those things runs right through EDUCATION!
Okay. That being said, I told the wonderful staff at Big Sky that I’d post my powerpoint here and so here it is: