Photo: Rodessa Mitchell, Vice President, Education & Workforce Development of The Winston Salem Chamber of Commerce
This week we had a young lady call the office, reeling in pain. She was suffering a migraine episode that was indescribable. She has suffered from migraines since childhood and there are very few things that curb her pain, other than heavy medications, which leave her feeling groggy or Massage Therapy. In our initial consultation, she said she typically experiences a migraine once a week, however, it had jumped to a whopping four this week. The plot thickened when she was asked what had changed. She explained that she had been on vacation all summer, with the exception of this past week, when she began preparing for her first week back to work as an Elementary School teacher.
Later that week, I stopped by the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce to talk with the Vice President, Rodessa Mitchell. Rodessa, who is a mother of two adult children, recalled how hectic life became as summer was winding down and the impending school year started to creep in. Now, in her current role, one of her main tasks is working with local principles and teachers to bring the graduation rate up to 90% by 2018. This, being an outstanding and remarkable goal, is a lot of added pressure on all of those in the world of academia, however, especially on the teachers, who have direct contact with the students.
You see, with so many requirements and changes in the curriculum, teachers are under a tremendous amount of pressure. Couple this with the fact that a majority of North Carolina teachers are paid at a lower level than the national average. This results in more and more work and less to bring home to their families. Being a teacher is not a walk in the park. Statistically, children having behavior challenges are becoming more prevalent. The teacher is often a proxy parent, advisor, educator, and at times a stern voice, when things occasionally become heated in the classroom. This would give the average person reasons for stress headaches or in the case of those with a migraine history, increased episodes. So the question is…Is it okay to bribe the teacher?
Naturally, the word bribe brings up all sorts of negative images or thoughts, so maybe the wording should be different. Is it okay to reward your child’s teacher on a regular basis with Massage Therapy? As someone that has been a teacher, I would say, YES for a few reasons.
1) Do you remember in a bygone era, when it was considered good manners to bring an apple to school, as a gift to your teacher? Do you recall, if you were the generous student, how it made the teacher feel? They felt appreciated and even loved by the student! Today is no different. Today, teachers take on many roles, wearing multiple hats, and are unfortunately, not always recognized for their extra efforts. Did you know that most teachers work more than 60 hours a week including weekends? Imagine the amount of time it takes to review papers, grade them, correct them and offer suggestions. This generally does not occur during the school hours either. Unknown to many, teachers use their own limited income to better the classroom and leaning experience for their students. So, wouldn’t it be nice to thank the teacher with Massage Therapy?
2) Often we are told, if you give people what they want, they in return, will give you something. In this case, your child is in need of some extra help and the teacher takes the time before or after school to offer additional tutoring. However, being human, the teacher will more than likely go the extra mile where your child is involved.They do so, by staying after hours, with no extra charge, and give it to the ones that show more effort or to the ones who have the parents’ that show the appreciation for their hard work and personal time. Troublesome kids are sent to the office. Troublesome kids, that the teacher has built a relationship and has acknowledgment from the parents’, get the extra help and even clemency, up to some point.
So, it is a perfectly okay and wonderful gift, to encourage and thank a teacher with Massage Therapy. However, it is important to check with the teacher first, to make sure that they a comfortable receiving such acknowledgment. Our guess, given the amount of teachers and school affiliated staff that we have coming into our office complaining of headaches and muscle pain, due to stress, is reason enough to believe it will be a welcomed gesture. If you are not comfortable donating Massage Therapy to your favorite teacher, consider telling them about the discounted rate we offer teachers, via the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce Bus Stop Program. To learn more, contact our office and ask about ways to give the gift of a stress reducing, headache mitigating relaxation massage to someone you value and appreciate!
By Nike Roach, MS, LMBT