Prepared by Suzanne DeVore, volunteer, Alamosa Prevention Coalition
The role of teachers in students’ lives cannot be overstated. As our Alamosa County Prevention Coalition members continue to work to prevent risky behaviors among our youth we want to send a message of support and thanks to all local teachers.
The impact of teachers has been documented from scientific journals to novels. Check out research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Two outstanding novels are “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” and “The Glass Castle.” Tributes to teachers are common at graduation ceremonies, from current graduates as well as alumni who return to schools as commencement speakers, reporting on their successes in life in part due to the influence of one or more important teachers. Here in Alamosa the influence of the late Mr. Reed with his spirit of acceptance and love for all students continues to touch generations of students and their families.
Teachers often fill the role of a “trusted adult” for young people, and at times they may be the only such figure in a young person’s life. The concept of a “trusted adult” is someone a young person can talk to about anything, problems, things that make them feel scared, uncomfortable or confused, or anything that makes them happy, too. This role does not undermine the authority of teachers. Instead it is the foundation for a rapport with students who need everyday and lifetime-level guidance.
Recent local events highlighting the difficulty of adolescence have been hard on students and teachers. Alamosa High School students held the recent forum entitled “Depression and Anxiety in Young People – Creating Hope for our Community,” and they are to be commended for bringing these topics out in the open. This forum initiated community dialog and encouraged the removal of the stigma from discussing mental health topics. In the wings are teachers, school nurses and counselors who support and guide such activities, requiring their own courage and a willingness to serve students’ needs.
So, thank a teacher!
Prevention Coalition participation is open to all who are interested. Contact Ann-Marie Peterson at 719-587-5191 or [email protected], or visit our website at https://www.AlamosaCares.org for more information. For efforts in our other local counties, visit the San Luis Valley Prevention Network at https://sanluisvalleyprevention.org. “Trusted Adult” training is offered by Diego Pons who can be reached at Center Schools, at [email protected]