Self-care for Black male teachers makes a positive difference in student achievement. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. The way we show up in our classrooms to positively impact the social and emotional development of our students is determined by how well we’ve implemented self care. However, this is most definitely impacted now that we aren’t physically able to go to our classrooms or schools.
As many citizens in America are working from home, Black male teachers are even more stressed about revenue for taking care of their household as we cannot work out part-time jobs. Most importantly, the emphasis on self care has dwindled as many are hypersensitive to economic needs for survival. Self care in and out of the classroom makes a difference in our well being. More school districts are learning that it’s not just the inequities in the teacher pay scale but the immense pressures teachers face in public schools.
Black male teachers are leaving education as quickly as they enter!
Especially now that the COVID-19 virus has hit. It’s not as easy to perform as a high quality teacher in a general or special education classroom. Teacher burnout is real! The notion in schools was that burnout is something that only occurs right before spring break. Now it’s happening more frequently in public schools as more teachers are leaving the field. It’s especially happening with Black male teachers. I can attest to it. Online learning isn’t a easy or engaging as many believe it to be.
Earlier this semester, one of my students passed away. It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized the impact of Aziya’s death on my professional and personal life. I was so focused on being strong for my students, I failed realized that it’s not simple to grieve the passing of a student. In fact, walking the journey alongside her mom was hard. It was hard to encourage a parent daily knowing the inevitable ahead.
Black boys and girls don’t just depend on Black male teachers to be superman, but public school do too!
We are asked and other times assumed to be the disciplinarian, mentor, tutor, counselor, coach and expert on all things Black boys face while in school. Imagine the pressure on Black male teachers to be all of these roles for our students confined to virtual learning? I have found myself fixing, implementing, repairing, reteaching, empowering, leading, mentoring and teaching in what feels like the final hour. It can be overwhelming balancing all the requirements and tasks of teachers and doing it all well.
That’s why I encourage fellow educators to take a “self” day occasionally to get their mind, body, and soul level back where it should be. Many times we become off-balanced from trying to manage all of the life challenges we face. I believe it’s even more critically important for educators to be well physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually because our attitude reflects in our performance. When we aren’t at our best, it’s even harder for our children to reach the academic goals and success we all desire to see for them.
Here are 4 ways Black males can include self care in their daily lives
#1 Exercise & Working Out
NOPE, no excuses here. Our physical well being is just as important as any other requirement needed to teach, lead, and support academic programs and teaching. Creative ways to work out and ensure physical wellness is to walk the steps of the school, track, or build a perimeter 30 minutes after work. If you live near your job, walk, or ride your bike. Try early morning running with family and/or neighbors.
#2 Be Mindful of What You Eat
Oftentimes, we’re so busy ensuring that the children we rear and those we serve eat healthily and regularly, we forget about ourselves. We must do the same! Breakfast and lunch are needed boasts of energy to keep us going. Be mindful of the amount of coffee and sugar intake! We’re in front of computer screens and on our feet a lot. We must have a good balance of foods that build our sight and agility.
#3 Get Enough Sleep
It’s honorable to think doing 5:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. days through the week are helpful, but you’re only hurting yourself. A best practice I’ve worked on over the years is setting boundaries and letting work stay at work! Finding the balance in work and home life is evident when you’re getting enough sleep. Enough sleep allows our bodies to rest and be prepared for the next day. When you aren’t getting enough sleep, it’s reflective in your ability to produce quality results. Most importantly, it’s reflected in your attitude.
#4 Schedule Relaxation
Whether it’s watching Ozark, catching up on shows, movies and documentaries on Netflix, reading, MUSIC, find time to relax.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, take a break and get off social media, cut the phone off and simply relax. Having so much on our minds causes undue stress. Hypertension in Black males is extremely high putting us at even more risk of the COVID-19 virus.
For more ways for Black male educators to stay safe and sane during the COVID-19, visit Profound Gentlemen.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.