Our students face challenges like never before. Screen time, smart phones, social media, bullying (online and in-person), and childhood traumatic experiences all are having an impact on our children’s mental health.
The need for a strong human interaction between teacher and student (and student to student) has never been greater.
The first and most important characteristic of being a successful student is having a loving home environment under the influence of at least one caring adult. Unfortunately, not every child has that. And many children in loving homes still have experienced traumatic events.
Many children find a caring adult in our schools, churches, or community. It may be a teacher, a principal, a custodian, or a librarian who expresses genuine interest in a youth, and makes a connection – one that helps that child understand that there is someone who cares about them.
Those connections are significantly more difficult to make with large class sizes (see my comments on that topic here).
When I taught in the classroom, I tried to make each student feel loved and safe. That positive message from me and my fellow teachers solved many of the mental health issues of my students. Despite that sincere message from teachers, some children need more. It is important that children have access to quality mental health care professionals. I have seen first-hand the impact that a trained, experienced mental healthcare professional can have in the life of a teenager. I have been privileged to work at some schools with excellent school psychologists. They offer an expertise that helps many of our children overcome their most difficult mental health challenges.