LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's National Teacher Awareness week and it's so important to thank our teachers for all their hard work. They've definitely faced some unique challenges during the pandemic, leading to some added stress. 13 Action News anchor Tricia Kean speaks with a local expert about how to handle the weight of it all.
"We didn't really know how to login and do all of these things at first. I think because of that, it put people in a really kind of panic situation in the beginning," says Clark County School District teacher Jessica Maloy.
She admits it's been a long year. The 6th grade English teacher says when things went virtual, the teachers had to become the students. Through it all, she says the key to her sanity is communication.
"Going through this process together where we struggled to learn the system, just being able to talk and be open about it has really helped. I think it just helps us vent a little bit and figure out how to grow and learn from this," says Mrs. Maloy.
ROOT OF TRAUMA
Marriage and Family Therapist Kimberly Malloy says it's important for teachers to acknowledge the trauma of the past year.
"We just went through a year of unpredictability and that's at the root of trauma. Not being able to predict what comes tomorrow," says Malloy.
To help stay positive it's essential for teachers to practice staying in the present. Malloy says be conscious of your current surroundings and thoughts.
"You're not worried about the shame or guilt of yesterday or the anxiety of tomorrow. You're present in the moment," says Malloy.
To do that, it's important to practice self-care. Malloy suggests keeping a list of things you're grateful for.
"Another thing is not just self care, but self compassion," says Malloy.
Malloy says avoid self ridicule or putting yourself down. Don't be afraid to tell yourself, 'I'm doing my very best.'
"I've never taught during a pandemic before. I've not been in this place before. Practicing grace and letting go of perfection. A lot of teachers strive for perfection," says Malloy.
Be sure to also remember to do the things that bring you joy. Malloy says ask yourself, 'What are my core values?'
"Let's say their core values are creativity and family. Are you in alignment with that? Are you spending time with your family? When is the last time you did something creative?" says Malloy.
In the end, Malloy says it's important to acknowledge any negative thoughts or stress and address it now. Those feelings don't necessarily go away just because the school year is over.
"Sometimes what we're left with is the thoughts inside of our head," says Malloy.
As for teacher Mrs. Maloy, she's focused on staying positive. But she admits she's also not afraid to let her students see the reality of things.
"I think having the students see that I struggle with things too kind of levels the playing field a little bit. I don't know how to do this either. But we're going to get through it together and I think it kind of creates a little bit of a team spirit for us," says Mrs. Maloy.