Teachers across Georgia are now delivering education in ways they’ve never been trained for or prepared to do as a sole means of educating Black students. Not only is there a huge equity issue widening the digital divide, but there is also a lack of culturally inclusive curriculum in our public schools. Coupled with the stress of creating virtual lessons, maintaining student engagement, tracking internet connectivity, and for some, preparing both in person and virtual lessons, educating Black students has become an even more daunting task
Overwhelming teachers are saying pandemic learning won’t help Black students thrive!
One advocacy group, BOOK, is speaking out about the immeasurable amount of pressures being placed on teachers and educators during this time. The organization is leading a discussion around emotional and mental health this month.
Mental health is one of the most challenging conversations to have in the Black community. The words “therapy,” “counseling,” and “social worker” are bad words to some Black parents and families that haven’t had the best experiences with mental health experts.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “One in five Black youth live with a mental health condition, but less than half of these individuals receive needed services.”
The trauma Black children have been exposed to knowingly or unknowingly this year alone should be enough to show an immediate need for social emotional support in our schools. This impacts not just Black students but their educators as well.
I will be speaking on the Delivering Education in the New Normal: Perspectives From Educators & Mental Health Professionals panel, hosted by BOOK Atl, representing my experiences in Special education. Now is the time to talk about this. Please join us for a robust conversation with veteran teachers and mental health professionals, as we look to remove the stigma around this issue as it relates to public education.
RSVP for the discussion at http://bit.ly/BOOK9222.
Mental health awareness is extremely important in Black communities and schools. Black families served in public schools are affected directly or indirectly by mental illness. Others are dealing with abuse, neglect, and other trauma that can impact Black children socially and emotionally.
As a special education teacher and educational activist, it is extremely important that we support teachers and special educators during the virtual and hybrid models of learning. We must ensure Black boys who are disproportionately represented in special education programs are getting the social emotional support for their IEP goals as well.
Mental health can’t be left out of the conversation or resources. It’s already challenging for schools to provide Black boys this support if they don’t have Black male teachers or counselors.
This important topic about mental health is not only timely, it is necessary. People can RSVP at http://bit.ly/BOOK9222.
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.