Stressed-out teacher finds relief on her terms
Veteran teachers can tell pretty quickly if it’s going to be one of those years. Such was the case with Stacey Morgan, third-grade teacher at Amqui Elementary.
Stacey recalled a brochure left in her school mailbox a couple of years ago. It offered MNPS employees free telehealth counseling through the Connect with Karla® program.
“I’d had experience with counseling before, so I knew what it could do,” she says. “And I was having a particularly difficult year.”
Stacey signed up at sync.health/mnps and scheduled a virtual appointment.
With one-on-one sessions conducted through a computer screen, and sometimes a smartphone, she admits the first few visits were a bit awkward. But she quickly got used to this new way of interacting with a therapist.
“The counselor really put me at ease,” she says. “Over time it got a lot more comfortable.”
The flexible scheduling was a plus for Stacey, since she commutes an hour each way to and from school. She even pulled over occasionally for a session on the side of the road.
She also made use of the Karla app. In addition to scheduling appointments through the app, she used it to communicate with her therapist between sessions. She accessed resources the app provides, like relaxation techniques. And her therapist could send information she thought would help Stacey.
“There were a couple of times I texted her through the Karla app, and she responded,” Stacey says. “It was like having your own private connection.”
She used some of what she learned to help her students, walking them through deep breathing exercises when tensions ran high.
“One of the things my therapist helped me with was improving my self-esteem,” she says. “I learned some things about myself, and I can honestly say my self-esteem improved through that homework. You have to do the work, sure. But do the work...then it’s worth it.”
By the time the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Stacey felt more grounded and able to cope. Her counselor even commented that it seemed the pandemic wasn’t affecting her.
“It was only because I had learned skills beforehand,” she says, adding, “I’m very grateful for the program. I think people should take advantage of it, even if they’re nervous about it. It won’t hurt to try. It can only help.”