This has been a difficult holiday season for everyone. Children and teachers both are learning to adapt to online learning. Some teachers and schools took the opportunity to spread holiday joy – in a safe, socially distanced way.
Out of many examples, one elementary school in Virginia held a drive-through for students and families to pick up both more school supplies and small presents. A second-grade teacher dressed as a penguin; another, a reindeer, complete with a flashing red nose. One teacher in Pennsylvania delivered books and school supplies – bought with their own money. “[my friend] and I [went] around the city… so we could deliver the bags to our students to make learning from home easier,” they told me.
This outreach comes at a time when teachers’ mental health is particularly precarious. “According to several studies and reports, teaching is one of the most stressful jobs in the country. The American Federation of Teachers’ 2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey found that 61 percent of teachers said their jobs were always or often stressful—more than double the rate of non-teaching working adults—and 58 percent said they had poor mental health due to stress levels,” Mental Health America says. “That was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and since then, the transition to online learning, debates over reopening, and individual safety concerns are making teachers’ mental health worse.”