California Educator

February/March 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 32 of 63

" It's important to educate administrators that teachers and staff need self-care and wellness support. This is about being the best we can to be healthy role models for kids." — Nellie Finn, Oceanside Teachers Association and a local farmer with boxes of fresh produce for sale. "We wanted all staff to be at the event so ever yone knows what we're talking about. We're creating a self-care culture," Finn says. "It's important to educate the administrators that teachers and staff n eed self-care and welln ess suppor t. is is about being the best we can to be healthy role models for kids." Finn partnered with a yoga therapist and developed a workshop focusing on breathing and stretching techniques to help educators make some mental space to better deal with high-stress situations. They even presented together at last year's California Association of School Counselors conference. Licensed yoga therapist Trevor Haw- kins brings a personal motivation and a unique perspective to the mission: His mother, Marcie Madueño, was a class- room teacher for 15 years before retiring, working with students with extensive needs. Hawkins says that prior to enter- ing education, his mother worked as a paralegal at one of San Diego's most pres- tigious law firms. "I thought that I had seen the most stressful work she could possibly do, but I was wrong," he says. "It was difficult to witness how much of a drain that was on my mom and the teachers she worked with. It seems like you have to be super- human. They are emptying themselves so much every day that their ability to recover is impacted. A weekend of rest isn't near enough, but educators are will- ing to jump back into the fray because they are committed." H aw k i n s s u g g e s t s t h a t a l l e d u c a - tors become "students of themselves" to support their physical , mental and emotional health, so that they can best help their students, many of whom are dealing with dif ficult trauma . As th e son of a t each er, h e wants educators to know that their families understand when their important jobs make them sometimes unavailable. "Ultimately, we all understand because they are giving to other kids," Hawkins says, adding that it helped them both when his mother came home, shared about her tough days and showed vulner- ability to him. "at gave me a chance to be a compassionate family member and understand what she was going through." Self-care, wellness: Bargain it? I n J u r u p a Va l l e y, We n d y E c c l e s i s fo cu sed on e xp andin g and stren g th- ening resources for educator self-care. When an elementar y student recently attempted to jump off a school building and threatened the life of a teacher, it was a source of great concern to th e NEA-Jurupa president. " I a sked th e di stri ct ' W h at are w e doing to take care of the adults?' and th e y h a d n o th i n g t o s ay a b o u t th a t . We're e xp e ct ed to h elp th e stu d ent s through their trauma, but the district's not giving educators what we need for ours," Eccles says. "We're people, too. We have lives outside of work. We have our own traumas. So many people are at their breaking point." Eccles says NEA-Jurupa is attempting to address compassion fatigue and self- care issues as part of a labor- management collaborative model they recently started, and they are examining possible ways to bargain for contractually guaranteed self- care and wellness resources. Addressing the ongoing need for educator self-care in negotiations is part of a strategy that includes organizing around welln ess issues and filing grievances when working conditions are unhealthy. "How do we create a multipronged approach? I want to take this into our LCAP [Local Control and Accountability Plan] meetings," says Eccles, emphasizing that with multiple Jurupa teachers out on stress leave this year, the time to act is now. "is is a serious issue. Nothing else can be done without dealing with this first." W hi l e f i g htin g for b ett er sel f-care resources from the school district, Eccles is also working to make sure her fellow educators know their union cares about them and their well-being. "Just letting people know that the asso- ciation cares and that I care really goes a long way," Eccles says. She wants to expand NEA-Jurupa's self-care program. "I'm always looking for new and different ways to help people take care of them- selves. Selfish is not a bad word." Trevor Hawkins and mother Marcie Madueño, a classroom teacher for 15 years. 31 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 2 0

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - February/March 2020