I spoke today at the FACTE (Florida Association of Colleges for teacher Education) Fall Conference in Orlando.
The group is comprised of professors, deans, directors and coordinators for teacher candidates from colleges/universities throughout Florida.
I was asked a few weeks ago to be the keynote speaker. I was honored to be able to speak to such a distinguished group of educators.
I shared my story, spoke openly, honestly and candidly about 2/14, my time since, mental health, school safety, my PTSD and the struggles I’ve had with anxiety and depression over the years.
I then sat on a panel with two college representatives and Coy Pilson, principal at Rutherford High School in Panama City, Florida. He shared, in great detail, about the struggles of his community a year after Hurricane Michael devastated his school and community. He also spoke openly about his own struggles with mental health and that he goes to counseling to deal with his trauma and survivor guilt.
I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given to speak out. I don’t take my charge lightly, and know that I have a long road ahead. I care so deeply and feel so strongly about social activism. I know that I need to continue working to make a change. I also know that I need to take care of myself and not crash and burn.
I hope that my experience and my story stay with the conference attendees. I hope that they share it with their teacher candidates. I hope that the country changes and we don’t have to continue to raise and teach the lockdown generation.