“It is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”Mahatma Gandi
I am compelled to dedicate time to this topic because I care about teachers and I have personally experienced the negative effects of neglecting my health. So, while schools focus on student-centered awareness days, I will focus on teacher-centered health awareness days.
As we welcome the month of October I want to raise awareness around some common and sensitive areas of health to consider.
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month (10/16 Mammography Day)
- Emotional Wellness Month (10/10 World Mental Health Day)
- National Depression Education & Awareness (10/8 National Depression Screening)
- Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
Over the years I have really pondered the bladder infection rates among teachers. Going to the bathroom for most professionals is just a matter of getting up and going. However, for a teacher, it requires a lot more planning, “Who will watch my students while I go? Will I have time during lunch? Maybe I can go during my planning period? I have bubble guts, maybe I should just stay home but wait can I get a sub in time?
Anytime I bring this up teachers share bathroom horror stories. It can become funny pretty quickly but the neglect can spill into other areas. Like, annual check-ups, going to the dentist, going to the eye doctor. I will admit many of my former colleagues and I scheduled our appointments over the summer because missing school during the school year was an “unofficial” sin. It’s that serious! A tunnel vision is created that communicates I handled it over the summer, now full steam ahead with school. Blinders the remainder of the year!
My heart is still heavy over colleagues that were diagnosed with cancer, had a stroke, or even died. Much of this could have been prevented or treated early with simple screening and awareness communicated often. I recall one year one of my students ingested a bottle of pills. The student became very sick at school. The ambulance and fire department was called. They carried the student away and she was so still it looked as if she didn’t make it. The students and I were traumatized. At the time I was unaware that I contributed monthly to services that provide counseling through my employer. Awareness is vital!
Pay it forward and share these resources and the gift of awareness with others.