UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Tuesday night, Eyewitness News brought you information regarding mental health services at Utica University, but while making sure students are doing okay is usually a main priority, teachers have to take care of themselves as well.
You may have heard the viral story of Meg – a teacher from Indiana who was recently bullied by her middle school class, via TikTok.
After leaving the school in tears, Meg tweeted, “Today was such a rough day. My students thought it was appropriate to make several TikTok videos of me. I feel gutted. Education may not be for me. Not sure I’m going back in the AM.”
The tweet then gained national attention – earning over 650,000 views and responses from people all over the world.
“It’s been crazy the response I got, and the support I’ve gotten,” she said, “And to know that this is not normal and to know that there are other schools that take these precautions seriously, so they don’t allow kids to have cell phones in the classroom.”
Although this all started with social media, she says when it’s used positively, it can make a difference.
“Honestly, if I had not had the support of others, there’s no way I would’ve gotten through this because I have felt so violated,” said Stoner.
“I have felt so bullied, and I felt like I didn’t have a voice in my own classroom – which is really hard as a teacher.”
After speaking with Meg, Eyewitness News reporter Shelby Pay then started thinking about the teachers right here in the Mohawk Valley.
Certainly, they deal with a lot of stress as well, so I wanted to catch up with the Utica Teacher’s Association to see what programs and services are available.
“I do know that the district has an EAP program, which is something that’s open and free to anyone,” said Jamie Green, VP of Elementary Education at the Utica Teacher’s Association. “And the union itself, NYSUT, also offers many programs.”
Green has been a teacher for over 26 years, so he knows firsthand how important it is to find that home/work balance.
“I know for myself when I get in my truck, there’s always music playing, so I’m singing as I go home and it kind of puts me in the right frame of mind to enter my house in a nice, calm manner,” he explained.
“Because, like I said, as educators, we bring things home, and I’ve talked to many teachers where you’ve rolled over and you’re like, ‘Oh, that’d be a good idea’ – And it’s like one, two o’clock in the morning.”
He continued, “Or you know, there’s a student that’s just weighing on you and you can’t get them, you off your mind.
“So, you’re up at night worried and concerned again about their wellbeing – So you can see that’s a little trade-off there.”
He adds that although the job can be daunting, his goal is still to have his students reach their full potential.
“I love my students, and I care very much about them, and it’s important that they’re successful, because if they’re not successful, then I haven’t done my job,” said Green.