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Many local teachers feel anxious about start of the school year

In-person learning increases concerns of teacher shortage
Posted at 8:07 AM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 19:18:27-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — As districts finalize their back to school plans, many teachers across our area say they are feeling anxious about the upcoming school year for many reasons.

News5 spoke to two District Three educators about how they are coping with their mental health.

Angela Bird, a French and Science teacher, says around this time last year she was thinking about decorating her classrooms. This year, the excitement is just not the same because she truly doesn't know what to expect.

"There are so many things beyond our control in just being able to create a safe environment," Bird said.

Bird told News5 her husband is also an educator, and they have a teenage son who has a compromised immune system. Even though he is doing in-person and online classes this year, she's still concerned about his health.

"There are so many questions that still exist," Bird explained. "Is it really safe to have so many people in one building and in one classroom? Will social distancing and wearing masks be enough?"

Ian Meyer, a music teacher for District Three, says his mental health has had its ups and downs lately. Meyer says he is a strong believer in talking with a counselor and has learned skills to help cope with his stress.

"It's a feeling of weight that you feel as a teacher because you want to see your kids and you want to educate them," Meyer explained. "But if the education in-person causes a wave of death, it's almost a disservice to the community rather than a help."

Both teachers say everybody is scared in some way or another, but right now they're focused on how to educate and take care of their kids as best they can.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, if you're feeling restless, anxious, experience changes in your mood or energy, these are signs of anxiety. One way parents can support the mental health of our teachers is by making sure they are engaged in their child's education. Parents can also send thank you notes to remind educators that our teachers are valued during a time like this.

For more information on how to cope with anxiety, click here.