Waco ISD is hiring consultants for employees

WACO, Texas – Susan Duty is a former Waco ISD teacher. She quit her job mid-senior high school year due to mental and physical health issues.

“As a teacher, you learn to live with stress, and I’m no stranger to that,” Duty said. “All the stress started to manifest itself physically in my body and in my life. I just couldn’t see how I was going to make it to the end of the year.”

While Duty said she’s still passionate about pursuing a career in education, the stress that came with teaching during the pandemic was too much.

“Not only did we have to teach kids content for that particular class and subject, you also had to take care of what other students were missing,” Duty said. “And it’s been ups and downs everywhere. Some kids have been learning online and it’s been fine. Some kids don’t.”

Duty said she needs a few months to focus on her health.

“There were some ups and downs,” Duty said. “It was really good for me to sit down and take a break, but at the same time I felt guilty that I didn’t make it.”

Waco ISD is now working with Ascension Providence to help their employees and prevent stories like duties from repeating themselves.

“This is about direct, immediate access to free support for the employee because we can pay for it through federal stimulus funds,” Chief of Staff Kyle Debeer said.

A licensed consultant will now be on site to assist staff in any way possible.

“We anticipate that there will be some availability before and after school, as well as during the school day,” Debeer said.

Debeer said the district encourages its employees to make their mental health a priority.

“It’s just difficult to support other people when you’re not doing well yourself. That’s why we want to support our employees to ensure their well-being, both physical and mental, is taken care of,” said Debeer.

Waco ISD is one of the first districts in the state to offer such a benefit.

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