Last week, I came home after a particularly challenging day, and I said to my husband, “I’m just going to sit here and watch Ted Lasso.” He looked up with real concern and said, “That bad?” To which I nodded and made my way to the couch, where I escaped the day’s drama with the escapades of Ted and the Richmond Footballers.
If you have seen the Apple+ show, Ted Lasso, you will probably understand immediately why this was my coping mechanism of choice. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Last summer, I had heard a few people here and there talking about it, but it wasn’t until I was searching for a show that would continue to bring joy to my evenings when the Olympics were over that I met Coach Lasso. We were not Apple+ subscribers (I thought Hulu and Netflix were plenty!) but after a rave review from a trusted source, we decided to opt into the free trial just to check it out.
I instantly fell in love with this community of characters. For those of you who have not yet had the chance to experience Ted Lasso, let me give you the high-level overview: Ted Lasso was a Division two football coach in Kansas and is recruited to coach a soccer team in England. From episode 1, you learn of the plot that Ted is being intentionally set up to fail, and thus, the antics begin. There have been several articles written about Ted’s leadership style, but what I love most about Ted is his authentic commitment to the care of others.
In our classrooms, SEL is about creating the conditions where kids can thrive, and it’s also about holding space for kids to recognize and explore their emotions. It’s about helping kids – and adults!- develop more empathy for each other. It’s about seeing someone struggling and doing what you can to help lessen that struggle. In the show, Ted lives out these values by checking on all of the members of his team, and meaning it. It’s sad that this is such a surprising concept for the general TV viewing public, but teachers and school leaders know that kindness is not as readily available out in the world as it should be. As educators, our schools are our teams, and today more than ever, we need to check on EVERYONE, not just those who may be outwardly struggling. Our strongest teachers – the ones who seem to have it all together and are holding it together for everyone else – need to be checked on, too. During the pandemic, #checkonyourstrongteachers was trending on social media, and I’d like to gently remind us all to come back to this. Recently, I have heard a few very personal stories from these ‘strong’ teachers who finally hit their breaking point. The good news is that these teachers often have high stores of resilience and so they do bounce back, but it doesn’t change the fact that more and more of us are reaching these limits.
So how do we help? In a We Can Do Hard Things podcast from November 2021, Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, and Amanda Doyle interviewed Dr. Brené Brown. Brown offered this wisdom on how to support those who need it:
“But the small thing is when we see someone struggling, especially someone we care about, [our] job is to be in connection with, not to fix.” Glennon Doyle summarized this by referring to an earlier part in the conversation as, “when life gets hard this week, don’t fix it. Just walk with it.”
So this week, Dear Educators, check on your strong teachers. Check on your leaders. Check on your teammates – even the ones you might not know very well. For those you do know well, bring tissues and chocolate and hold space for your colleagues to cry or vent or just be quiet so they can refocus their energies to be there for their students. Life is going to continue to be hard; we know this. Hopefully, though, if we continue to walk with each other and these difficulties, we might just walk our way through.
Thank you, Educators, for showing up, and in the words of Rita Pierson, teaching ANYWAY.
We Can Do Hard Things Episode 48 transcript November 30, 2021
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With more than two decades of experience in education around the globe, Kristen Moreland is committed to bringing humanity back to education. A former middle school English teacher and Instructional Coach, she is currently serving as the Director of Teaching and Learning for the Littleton Schools in Littleton, New Hampshire. You can follow her on Twitter @kmorekin and on Instagram @educatorsforhumanity