On empathy for teenagers

Video transcript:

Kids are really resilient, and they just want to be kids at the end of the day. They want to be kids, and they want to have fun, whether they’re just hanging out with their friends or actively learning too. 

Students have so many things that they have to do, both academically and non-academically, and I think it gets very easy for adults, whether they work in classrooms or not, to not have empathy for what students are going through developmentally, emotionally, academically. It can be overwhelming for them.

I think with everything that has happened with COVID, it’s really accelerated a lot of unease and nervousness that students are still trying to unpack and are really struggling with on their own. 

Teaching high school, I’m constantly surrounded by both emotions and secondary trauma, unfortunately, and it’s very easy, especially in urban education, to just take on all of that secondary trauma and let it destroy you, but then that doesn’t end up helping your students.

If you can’t help yourself, then you can’t help them.

I love it from the bottom of my heart and cannot imagine doing anything else.

But it’s tough.

And we’re really trying to engage students and just make sure that they are okay and growing up okay — and learning what they need to learn. 

–Beatriz Thomas
History Teacher at Somerville Public Schools
Somerville, MA

This video is one of 20 teacher interviews created to encourage the general public to #passthe🎤 to a teacher. You can view all video interviews here, on YouTube, on Facebook, or on Instagram Reels.