It’s a challenging time to be a physics teacher. Teachers are expected to balance the rigorous demands of teaching—lesson planning, preparing lab materials, assessing student work, analyzing student data, communicating with parents and families, attending meetings—while at the same time tending to the hearts and minds of students with care and dignity and cultivating community within their classrooms and schools. National evidence points to a dramatic rise in mental health concerns among both youth and educators. Across the country, teachers and students are still acutely feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers and students are also deeply impacted by the suffering caused by systemic racism and injustice. You might find yourself, during a hectic day, feeling stressed, isolated, overwhelmed, or burned out. You are not alone. A recent study found that teachers were 40% more likely to report anxiety than healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased numbers of educators across the nation are considering leaving the profession earlier than planned and teacher mental health and staffing shortages are of high concern. It is within this context that educators are called to support the social and emotional well-being of their students while also navigating their own grief, stress, and challenges, often with limited support to realize the dreams that led them to the profession in the first place.

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