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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Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

"Can I buy you a drink?" is a loaded question.

It could be an innocent request from someone who's interested in having a cordial conversation. Other time, saying "yes" means you may have to fend off someone who feels entitled to spend the rest of the night with you.

In the worst-case scenario, someone is trying to take advantage of you or has a roofie in their pocket.

Feminist blogger Jennifer Dziura found a fool-proof way to stay safe while understanding someone's intentions: ask for a non-alcoholic beverage or food. If they're sincerely interested in spending some time getting to know you, they won't mind buying something booze-free.

RELATED: States are starting to require mental health classes for all students. It's about dang time.

But if it's their intention to lower your defenses, they'll throw a mild tantrum after you refuse the booze. Her thoughts on the "Can I buy you a drink?" conundrum made their way to Tumblr.

via AshleysCo / Tumblr


via AshleysCo / Tumblr

The posts caught the attention of a bartender who knows there are lot of men out there whose sole intention is to get somone drunk to take advantage.

"Most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality," the bartender wrote. "They're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down."

So they shared a few tips on how to be safe and social when someone asks to buy you a drink.

From the other side of the bar, I see this crap all the time. Seriously. I work at a high-density bar, and let me tell you, I have anywhere from 10-20 guys every night come up and tell me to, "serve her a stronger drink, I'm trying to get lucky tonight, know what I mean?" usually accompanied with a wink and a gesture at a girl who, in my experience, is going to go from mildly buzzed to definitively hammered if I keep serving her. Now, I like to think I'm a responsible bartender, so I usually tell guys like that to piss off, and, if I can, try to tell the girl's more sober friends that they need to keep an eye on her.
But everyone- just so you know, most of the time, when someone you don't know is buying you a drink, they're NOT doing it out of a sense of cordiality, they're buying you a drink for the sole purpose of making you let your guard down.

Tips for getting drinks-

1. ALWAYS GO TO THE BAR TO GET YOUR OWN DRINK, DO NOT LET STRANGERS CARRY YOUR DRINKS. This is an opportune time for dropping something into your cocktail, and you're none the wiser.

2.IF YOU ORDER SOMETHING NON-ALCOHOLIC, I promise you, the bartender doesn't give two shits that you're not drinking cocktails with your friends, and often, totally understands that you don't want to let your guard down around strangers. Usually, you can just tell the bartender that you'd like something light, and that's a big clue to us that you're uncomfortable with whomever you're standing next to. Again, we see this all the time.

3. If you're in a position to where you feel uncomfortable not ordering alcohol:
Here's a list of light liquors, and mixers that won't get you drunk, and will still look like an actual cocktail:

X-rated + sprite = easy to drink, sweet, and 12% alcoholic content. Not strong at all, usually runs $6-$8, depending on your state.
Amaretto + sour= sweet, not strong, 26%.
Peach Schnapps+ ginger ale= tastes like mellow butterscotch, 24%.
Melon liquor (Midori, in most bars) + soda water = not overly sweet, 21%
Coffee liquor (Kahlua) +soda = not super sweet, 20%.
Hope this helps someone out!

RELATED: Permit denied for 'straight pride' parade in California

If you do accept a drink from someone at a bar and you want to talk, there's no need to feel obligated to spend the rest of the night with them.

Jaqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says to be polite you only have to "Engage in some friendly chit-chat, but you are not obligated to do more than that."

If someone asks to buy you a drink and you don't want it, Whitmore has a great tip. "Say thank you, but you are trying to cut back, have to drive or you don't accept drinks from strangers," Whitmore says.

What if they've already sent the drink over? "Give the drink to the bartender and tell him or her to enjoy it," Whitmore says.

Have fun. Stay safe, and make sure to bring a great wing-man or wing-woman with you.

Well Being

There are reasonable arguments to be had on all sides of America's debates about guns.

Then there are NRA lobbyists.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer spoke to state economists last week to explain why a proposed assault weapons ban would devastate gun manufacturers in the state. The proposed amendment, which is being led by the aunt of a student killed in the Parkland school shooting, would ban the future sale of assault rifles in Florida and mandate that current owners either register their guns with the state or give them up.

The back and forth between those proposing and opposing the amendment appears to be a pretty typical gun legislation debate. Only this time, the NRA lobbyist pulled out one of the most bizarre arguments I've seen yet.

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Democracy


Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is a name you should remember. If you don't follow politics closely, remember his name because he's the first Republican in Congress to openly join the call for a renewed federal ban on assault weapons.

If you're a Democrat or a diehard progressive partisan, remember his name because it's proof that as a nation we can put principles before party and walk across the political aisle to get things done.

If you're a Republican, remember his name as evidence that real leadership in politics sometimes means risking your reputation to do what is right even when most of your colleagues disagree or lack the political courage to go first.

But let's allow Rep. King to explain himself in his own words:

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Democracy
via PixaBay

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has brought a lot of attention to the idea of implementing a universal basic income on America. His "freedom dividend" would pay every American $1,000 a month to spend as they choose.

In addition to helping Americans deal with a future in which the labor market will be upended by automation, this basic income could allow Americans to rethink what we see as work and nurture what Yang calls a "human-centered" economy.

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