N.Y. elementary school teachers talk about mental health struggles

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FILE – In this July 14, 2020, file photo, amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, Aiden Trabucco, right, wears a mask as he raises his hand to answer a question behind Anthony Gonzales during a summer STEM camp at Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas. School districts that plan to reopen classrooms in the fall are wrestling with whether to require teachers and students to wear face masks — an issue that has divided urban and rural schools and yielded widely varying guidance. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- A panel of four elementary school educators spoke about the mental health struggles they and their students faced last school year in a virtual webinar hosted by the Mental Health Association of New York. Teachers said despite the struggle, they are dedicated to helping students any way they can.

Learning how to help students cope with isolation and loneliness while experiencing those same feelings, teachers said was challenging. They said getting caregivers to engage with them and teaching while caring for their own children was also tough.

Special Education Teacher, Julie Robinson, said the majority of her students did not have access to the internet in Orleans County. Because many of their parents are essential workers it meant grandparents with limited technological experience had difficulty helping students. Robinson said she spent time worrying about the safety and health of her students.

Pre-kindergarten teacher, Lisa Howard, said she became depressed and had mornings were it was hard for her to get out of bed. Howard said she had days where she was highly motivated and others where she had to distance herself. She said she also felt uncomfortable being in front of a web camera giving lessons.

When teachers and students go back to the classroom this fall they will have many new guidelines and rules to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Third-grader teacher, Kate Bala, said teachers should find creative ways to continue educating using techniques they enjoy and work well.

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