High school can be a pretty rough stage in a teenager’s life. This transition period from being a child to an adult can be pressurizing either in terms of managing school and after-school activities or in making choices about the future. However, one teacher from the San Francisco Bay area has found a creative way to check in with her students on their mental health, and this indigenous idea is now making waves in classrooms around the world.
Erin Castillo is an English and special education teacher at the John F. Kennedy High School in Fremont, California. In her five years of teaching high schoolers, she came across many students who attempted suicide.
We all have struggles.•••Reaching out for help is a difficult task for many individuals, but it doesn’t need to be….
“I’ve had a lot of students in the last five years of my career that have struggled with self-confidence, self-doubt, image, had suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide and, after seeing all that, I’ve been making it a theme in my classroom and trying to check in with them,” Castillo told Good Morning America.
Thus, she brought up a colorful and anonymous way to give her students a means to let out their mental health status. The “Mental-Health Check-in” chart works in a simple way. Students are required to grab a post-it, write their names behind it, and stick it on the list of what describes their state of mind on that particular day.
The list includes six different categories such as, “I’m great”, “I’m okay,” “I’m meh,” “I’m struggling,” “I’m having a hard time and wouldn’t mind a check in” or “I’m in a really dark place.”
Made this mental health check in chart after seeing @missjohnstonsjourney use a similar system on her #okayteacher…
According to GMA, Castillo shared that if a student happens to fall in the last two categories, they will have a conversation with her and a followup conversation with the counselor or the school psychologist on campus.
In an interview with the Insider, she said, “So many people think they’re the only ones struggling.”
She further added, “Kids need to hear that they’re not alone and what that support looks like.”
As per the United States Surgeon General report, “at least one in five (20 percent) children and adolescents has a mental health disorder at some point in their life from childhood to adolescence.”
Castillo was inspired to create this platform after a friend and fellow teacher launched a mental health community for teachers on Facebook.
Xem bài viết này trên Instagram
If I’ve learned anything this year so far, it’s that life is much harder at 9-10 years old than I could ever possibly remember. So thankful for @makingastatementinsped and her brilliant ideas, looking forward to implementing this in the classroom tomorrow. • • #mentalhealth #mentalcheckins #students #teacherswearmanyhats #iteachfourth #teachercommunity #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #firstyearteacher #bayareateacher
Not only has this helped students share their feelings, but many of them also reach out to her for academic assistance.
Seeing the success of these charts, Castillo decided to create a free digital resource for fellow teachers to incorporate the chart, with points for their classrooms on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Suicide Awareness / Prevention, a Facebook page, picked up the concept after a teacher named Jessie Cayton posted a picture of a Mental Health Check-in chart she created using the resource by Castillo. The post caught the internet by storm, receiving over 52,000 reactions and some 175,000 shares.
Started class with this check-in today & I’m so glad I did. .Students wrote their name on the back of a sticky note…
“I never expected it to get beyond my following,” Castillo said, alluding to her chart. “To see this being used in multiple countries around the world, having [teachers] reach out from New Zealand and Africa…to hear actual stories of people helping their students, I’m really overwhelmed with joy.”
Xem bài viết này trên Instagram
Took a page out of @makingastatementinsped book and recreated her Mental Heath Check in poster 💭 . . It is SO important to have students become aware of their own mental health, and for teachers to create a classroom community where students feel safe to express their own feelings and realize they are not alone. Looking forward to conducting more check ins in the future! Also, Erin has a free download that includes set of instructions/posters to use in your own classroom, too- go snag those ASAP! ♥️ . . . #teacherspayteachers #mentalhealth #mentalhealthcheck #checkin #tpt #anchorchart
Witnessing her board concept go viral, and help inspire the community, the teacher was moved to tears.
“I just started crying,” she said. “My husband asked me why I was crying, and I said ‘Because kids are being saved everywhere.'”
One post-it at a time, this concept might help students vent their emotions, and in turn, this might be the step in the “right direction.”
Indeed, some teachers take the time to go above and beyond their call of duty to care for their students.
Kudos Castillo for going the extra mile to help your students.
Hello friends of the gram!It’s been a bit since I’ve introduced myself here and there have been quite a few new faces…