As education stakeholders consider improvements to school climate, school safety, and student well-being, many have turned their attention to the role of schools in promoting mental health. While most of this attention focuses on students’ mental health needs, it is also essential to explore ways of supporting teachers and school staff who often experience high levels of stress.
Relative to professionals in other sectors, educators experience significantly more stress and suffer more often from mental health problems. In fact, 61 percent of educators reported that their work is “always” or “often” stressful. Failing to address the mental health needs of teachers (concurrent with our focus on student stress and trauma) may affect their ability to address critical needs among students. Teacher wellness has been linked not only to teachers’ physical health, but also to stability in schools and to teaching effectiveness and student achievement. Moreover, teachers’ emotions and stress levels have been found to influence those of students and other teachers. In Child Trends’ preliminary research on creating healthy school environments, students, educators, and policymakers all mentioned teacher wellness as an important factor in the overall health of a school. Verbiage from Childtrends.org.
TIE has a Learning Specialist available to meet educators’ needs in all areas of well-being, including the following:
- Cultural Proficiency in Education
- Mindfulness for Educators
- Family Engagement
- Self-Care for Educators
- Trauma-Informed Practices
- Social Emotional Learning
- Relationship Building
- Cultural Competence
- Equity & Inclusion
Lindsay Frankenfeld’s passion for accessibility and interactive digital learning experiences for multilingual students in rural areas began while teaching English in Hokkaido, the north island of Japan. Later as an ESL teacher in South Dakota she leveraged technology to welcome, teach, and advocate for students and families who spoke Japanese, Korean, Georgian, Turkish, Spanish, Tagalog, German, Farsi, and Vietnamese. Now she teaches online courses, manages digital media for two federal grant programs, and consults rural school districts as a learning specialist for BHSSC. She holds an M.A. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Colorado, a South Dakota K12 Teacher License, English as a New Language Endorsement, Reading Recovery certificate, and is a Microsoft Innovative Educator, Google Certified Educator, and Nearpod Certified Trainer. Along with this education experience, she was a reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) radio for five years; operates a freelance User Experience (UX) design business; and co-founded Startup Weekend Black Hills.