This teacher's viral 'check-in' board is a beautiful example of mental health support

Update: We have found the teacher who created the mental health check-in board! Kudos to Erin Castillo for the brilliant idea and for sharing how she's using it to help kids. She is offering a free download of the board as a poster along with instructions for utilizing it on Teachers Pay Teachers. Thanks, Erin!

This teacher is making a difference in her students' lives, one simple Post-it Note at a time.

Excellent teachers do so much more than teach. They can be mentors, role models, guides, and even confidants. Sometimes a teacher is one of the only trusted adults in a child's life—a fact that drives home the immense responsibility educators hold in their hands.


Perhaps that's why a photo shared by Facebook user Tara Mitchell Holman has touched so many people. It shows a teacher's whiteboard with "Monday Check-in" written on top and sections underneath labeled, "I'm great," "I'm okay," "I'm meh," "I'm struggling," "I'm having a tough time & wouldn't mind a check-in," and "I'm not doing great."

Wow. This teacher has her students write their name on back of a sticky note and place it on the chart each Monday. She...
Posted by Tara Mitchell Holman on Thursday, March 21, 2019

"Wow," wrote Holman in the caption. "This teacher has her students write their name on back of a sticky note and place it on the chart each Monday. She then talks privately throughout the week with each child about where they placed the sticky note and if they need to talk. A weekly check in on her students. ❤️❤️ Maybe we could pass this along to teachers."

The photo has been shared more than 135,000 times.

This kind of "check-in" is a beautiful example of supporting students' mental health.

Childhood can be hard. Being a teen can be even harder. That's nothing new, but studies have shown that mental health issues among young people are on the rise. Some of that may be due to the pressures of social media or the ubiquitous 24/7 news that stresses all of us. It could also simply be that we are getting better at understanding and diagnosing mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.

Whatever the reason, kids and teens can use all the mental and emotional support we can give them. Since young people spend the majority of their waking hours in school, teachers are in a prime position to offer that kind of support.

But figuring how to do that most effectively can be a challenge. Most teachers are already tapped out from their actual teaching work, and it's a lot to expect them to act as counselors on top of that. At the same time, people who work with students understand that so many issues can be remedied by staying in tune with their emotional well-being. This Post-it Note method of checking in with students is simple enough to help teachers determine which students might need some extra attention or help with their challenges outside the classroom.

This board is also a good reminder of how incredible teachers can be.

I started my professional life as a teacher and have known countless teachers in my lifetime. Few people I've encountered have been as dedicated and caring as the folks who educate kids, and their work always extends far outside of their classroom teaching hours. Teachers don't just impart knowledge; they are emotionally invested in their students and care about much more than just their academic performance.

I wasn't able to track down the identity of the teacher who made this check-in board, but perhaps the anonymity of it is fitting. So many teachers regularly go above-and-beyond the call of duty to care for their students, and this photo is a great reminder of how awesome educators find ways to help kids in every way they can.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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