Teachers, first, THANK YOU for serving kids. Second, here’s a vid about what I would need to feel good about going back this fall with the pandemic and all. I hope this is helpful in some way.
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Video Transcript: Click here to download the transcript PDF.
Hey teachers, what’s up? It’s me, Seth, with SethPerler.com. I’m an executive function coach based here in Colorado and help struggling students navigate this thing called education so they can have a great life, which is why you do what you do. You’re a teacher, or a para, or a school psychologist, or whatever you do, because you want your kids to have a great life, you want to help them plant seeds to build a great future. Now I specifically work with kids who struggle with executive function, and you all have your own role. But in this video, today, I’m going to talk a little bit about what’s going on with a pandemic, and school opening in this fall of 2020. So it is now July in 2020, and we are in a really challenging place. The first thing I want to say to you is, thank you. I know that you all are working tirelessly behind the scenes to figure out creative ways to serve the students you work with, and that is really challenging and really complicated. I know that a lot of people don’t know how hard you work, and how much heart, time, energy, and even your own money you put into your careers to serve kids. So I just want to say that.
Next, I want to talk about how I was a teacher for 12 years. I taught many different grades and many different subjects. But I am a coach now and have been since 2010. But what would I need now if I was back in the classroom? The reason I’m making this video for you is really to hopefully validate for you how you feel, and hopefully give you a context that’s useful. I know you’re talking with your friends and your family and people about this stuff. Hopefully, my thoughts will contribute and put it in a container that’s useful for you. That’s one of the things I like to do is distill things down to some important concepts. So first of all, if I was going back to the classroom this fall, what I would need is one main thing, I am a very big picture person. So let me break this one big thing down to you. The number one thing I would need is I would need to feel safe and secure in my career this fall. So whatever that takes to feel safe and secure is what I would need. Here’s some of the things that I’ve been thinking about. 50% of teachers quit teaching by year five, that means that they spent four years of their life in college, maybe even a Master’s after that, and they spent 2, 3, 4, or 5 years in the classroom and then quit. Why would anybody spend nine years of their life dedicated to serving kids and quit? It’s because they’re burnt out. Because they’re burnt out. Because it’s not fulfilling them, it’s not allowing them to live the life that they want to live, to be able to support their lifestyle, to make a decent living, the work-life balance, to be able to retain their mental health. Teachers work so hard. If teachers don’t feel supported, whatever the case is, for some reason, 50%, half of these people who are dedicated to our kids, what the heck is going on? Why do we have this situation? I have theories about that. I’m sure you do, too. I’m not going to go into that in this video. But the point of that statement is, is that this is a very demanding job. Don’t ever forget it. I just know for me, I was so used to being a teacher for 12 years, that in working six or seven, it took me years to start saying “I can’t work seven days a week, I need to make myself take a day off every weekend,” took me years as a teacher to do that. Teachers go to work early, they work through their lunch, they work through their breaks, they stay late, they take their work home with them at night, and they work on weekends. It’s so demanding and sometimes there’s just not enough support. Not enough emotional support from the admin or from other staff, not enough support with the curriculum. Like the demands, the weight that’s on your shoulders is so big. And obviously this year, it’s even bigger to figure out how to serve your kids. So again, thank you. But yes, this is a lot. So you have to take care of yourself if you’re going to take care of your kids. And again, you have to feel safe and secure in what you’re doing. So all right, what do we need to feel safe and secure?
Most teachers, as I said, burn out, 50%, and quit by year five, so that does not feel safe and secure to them. So first of all, what you need is support, to not be burnt out, support from your admins, support from your family, support from your staff, support from the people around you. You’re going to need support to feel safe and secure and not burn out. You’re also gonna need money, money. The average teacher in America makes about $40,000 a year before taxes, that’s not a lot of money. Hourly, if you break that down, and if you work a 40-hour workweek, which most teachers don’t most teachers work 50-60 hours a week. So look at how long you work, how much does that work out to hourly? And then how much time do you have for your own family, your own mental health, your own fun, your own physical health, your own chores, your own errands, you have to run? Like just life. Okay, so the money has to be worth it for you. So for me, if I was going to feel safe and secure, I would need to know that I was making good enough money. Now, obviously, with the pandemic, we need to feel safe and secure. And what would I need? What I need is physical distancing in the classroom. What I need everyone is to wear masks. What would I need? Look, this is a tough time, we may not be in the classroom. I am the type of person who believes in safety and health in life first. Okay, that comes first. As Betsy DeVos was saying, whatever percent of kids might die of this thing, as if that’s acceptable, it’s just like, really? What if that’s your classroom or my classroom? I can’t imagine it.
Anyhow, one of the things I’ve been thinking about as a teacher is that I need to feel safe and secure, as far as my health is concerned. So we need to feel safe in the classroom and in the school building. But also I would need to feel safe and secure that if I got sick, one, my lesson plans for a sub would be sufficient. Can you imagine? I was in a coma with ARDS in 2000. Okay. When you’re in a coma, you don’t know you’re in a coma. Nobody tells you “Hey, you’re about to be in a coma.” I just woke up nine days later, I had no idea what happened. I’m intubated. I can’t talk because I’m intubated. Like, if that happened, what would happen with the lesson plans with subs? Who would the subs be? Would I have enough time to plan for them? So that’s the safe and secure thing, would my staff and my admin support me to make sure that those things were taken care of, because if you get sick, if I got sick, there’s no way I’m going to have the energy to do that stuff. So that’s something to consider with the safety and security.
The other thing that I think about is looking at how, so I know a lot of my followers are in other countries, but here in the United States, because we pay for our own health care. I do as as a coach. But anyhow, the health care in America, I know for me, anytime I go to the doctor, and things are supposed to be covered, basically, one of the things that happens is I call my insurance company, I’m like, “Hey, I need this.” And my insurance company will be like “Oh yeah, we cover that 100%, after you pay a $7,000 deductible and $350 a month for your regular monthly fees.”” How much money are you making as a teacher? How supported do you feel by your insurance company, whatever one you’re in, whatever district you’re in. Then looking at the doctors and the nurses and how our country dealt with giving them the equipment they needed to protect themselves? It’s been a nightmare. Am I going to trust that if I get sick, the people that are risking their lives to save my life or help me in a medical situation that they even have what they need? Are they burnt out? Cn I trust, can I feel safe and secure that my government and my insurance company will take care of me. Then after everything is over when I came out of my coma, I had 10s of 1,000s of dollars of medical bills that, I was a young man at the time, took me years to pay off my medical bills. Years. So if that happens to you and you’re making 40K a year. I would need to feel secure that my school, my district, my government, and my insurance had my back. Woud I feel secure about those things?
So anyhow, that’s about it. I wanted to put what I think are some of the key core concepts that have been running through my mind over and over during this time as far as your teachers are concerned, what mine are. So anyhow, my name is Seth Perler I’m an executive function coach in Colorado. If you liked this, give it a thumbs up, leave a comment below. And what I’m interested in the comments here on Youtube is this. What would you need to feel safe and secure to go back into the classroom this fall? What are some of your thoughts? What inspiration, encouragement, creative ideas do you have? Do you agree with me? Are those things that you would need to feel safe and secure? And how close are you to getting that? Leave a comment, tell us where you’re at. Let’s have some dialogue about this. Anyhow, I hope that you and your family and your friends are safe and healthy. Have some peace of mind and some joy today, and have some real connection. Again, teachers, thank you, and principals, and school psychologists, and paras, and everybody watching. Thank you for what you do, bending over backward, taking the time, energy, and as I said before, and your own personal money to serve kids and try to do the most important jobs in the world to help raise kids to have great lives. Be well, I will see you soon. Take care.