October 11, 2018

Educators for Excellence-Chicago Hosts World Mental Health Awareness Day Event for Educators

October 11 (Chicago) - Educators for Excellence-Chicago (E4E-Chicago), a teacher-led organization, hosted “Think, Plan, Share: A Chicago Educator’s Guide to Mental Health” on October 10, for World Mental Health Day. The event brought together 75 E4E-Chicago educators with representatives from Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union, including CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade. Educators at the event engaged in conversations surrounding current issues they face, created self-care plans to help them manage stress, and shared resources to prioritize their mental health.

Kenya Butts, an E4E-Chicago member and social worker at Butler College Prep said, “As a school social worker, my entire job is centered around the emotions of our most vulnerable youth. Because of the nature of this work, I often find myself taking these issues home with me, affecting my interactions with the people I love. There are many educators that don't know how to practice self-care and because of that, teacher turnover is high. We need to help these teachers take care of themselves in order to be the best they can for others.”

“When addressing student trauma and school climate and culture supports, it’s important to remember that the issues students face also impact the educators trying to help them,” said Stacy Moore, Interim Executive Director of E4E-Chicago. “In order to best address student needs, we need to help educators also prioritize their own well-being and mental health. It’s heartening to see district leaders and union leaders talking with teachers about how they can help ensure educators have the resources and training they need to care for themselves so they can, in turn, care for their students.”  

E4E-Chicago educators have been advocating for school climate and culture-related issues since June 2017 when they published their educator-written policy paper, Sounding the Alarm. Nationally, 46 percent of teachers report high daily stress, resulting in lower student achievement and higher teacher turnover. Recognizing that trauma impacting students often impacts educators, E4E-Chicago members have focused on addressing educator needs this past summer.