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Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

From Lessons to Lifelines- Teachers’ Impact on Students’ Mental Health

Photo courtesy of Defense Visual Information Distribution Service
Photo courtesy of Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

Teachers possess the power to help students in their educational development, but they can also help students in their mental development.

Technology and recent advances such as the Wellness Center have also impacted how teachers respond to students. Some teachers believe that we need to do more to help students.

“We need to have some firm policies,” Ryan Beidler, a math teacher at Granite Bay High School, said.

Beidler recommends that students distance themselves from technology to focus on assignments to reduce the anxiety that procrastination might bring.

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 “It ultimately comes down to personal responsibility,” Beidler said, “Students often choose the path of least resistance or they choose distraction over discipline and I think that lends itself to feeling unprepared in the classroom.” 

Beidler has been teaching for 25 years and has seen the implementation of the Chromebook in classrooms as well as the invention of the iPhone as a teacher. He has seen how this impacts classrooms in addition to how it affects mental health.

“I think it matters what you are doing with your phone,” Beidler said.

Katherine Farias, another math teacher at GBHS, witnesses how different pieces of technology affect her classroom and the students in it.

“I think that the technology and what students have access to is overwhelming, and I do think that it can create anxiety,” Farias said.

Zachary Cuda is a health teacher at GBHS and teaches many important aspects of mental well-being and how to deal with mental issues.

“It’s really starting to make its way into the curriculum and certainly something that we’re informing our students about,” Cuda said 

Heidi McKeen, a biology teacher at GBHS, has taught for 12 years and has also witnessed changes in the way we handle mental health.

“The number one thing for me is that I will stop and check in with someone,” McKeen said, “Just paying attention to people and looking for those signals that someone is in distress, and sometimes if you just smile and say ‘Hey, how are you?’” 

People with mental health issues have sometimes faced stigma in the past, but many teachers try to make sure that students feel confident talking to them about their issues and problems.

“Depending on how a teacher approaches students or treats students can have a huge impact on their confidence, their self-image, how they feel about themselves,” McKeen said, “Sometimes in specific subjects, it could really have an impact on whether or not they believe that they can be successful at what they’re working on.”

Sometimes there are bigger problems that teachers cannot handle on their own which is where the wellness employees, who are trained to help with the more pressing, serious issues come in. These personnel give students a place to talk in confidentiality.

“Getting that extra help by having that on-campus is a really powerful thing,” McKeen said. 

Teachers are not trained in counseling and many are aware that when these problems occur, they should turn the student over to the Wellness Center or someone else who is trained to talk to and help the students with their feelings. 

“If I see that it’s something more than what I feel capable of dealing with, then I will send them to the Wellness Center or ask if they want to go to the Wellness Center,”  Kay Bacharach, an English teacher at GBHS, said.

Marcus Rodriguez is one of the people who works in the Wellness Center and sees how students have been affected by different factors, including their teachers.

“Teachers and staff in general are getting more training on mental health, which is really helping children who need it,” Rodriguez said.

He sees how teachers are seeing students in their everyday lives, and can often see what their struggles are.

 “I know that they are oftentimes seeing the signs of struggle for students and pointing them in the right direction,” Rodriguez said.


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About the Contributors
Chloe Brown
Chloe Brown, Staff Writer
Chloe Brown is a freshman at Granite Bay High School. This is her first year writing for Granite Bay Today.
Esha Suhag
Esha Suhag, Staff Writer
Esha Suhag is a freshman at Granite Bay High School. This is her first year as a staff writer for Granite Bay Today.

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