Teacher's Genius Classroom Board Goes Viral For Very Important Reasons

School can be a really tricky time for anyone and everyone. It's sometimes so much more complicated than picking out a new lunch box or deciding which shoes you want for the next term. What if you struggle to make friends or can't keep up with the other kids academically?

It's not uncommon for students to find themselves suffering with their mental health for the first time. But one high school teacher has created a board to enable children to share their feelings in a discreet way and it's really encouraging.

Erin Castillo's post on Instagram is now free to download and print. Credit: Instagram/makingastatementinsped
Erin Castillo's post on Instagram is now free to download and print. Credit: Instagram/makingastatementinsped

Erin Castillo, a special needs teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Freemont, California, made the mental health check-in chart for her students.

The idea is that pupils will pick up a Post-it and write their name on the back before placing it next to one of the six 'feelings'.

These categories include: I'm great, I'm okay, I'm meh, I'm struggling, I'm having a hard time & wouldn't mind a check in and I'm in a really dark place.

Writing their names on the back means that the notes are anonymous to classmates but Erin can turn them over and have a one-to-one with the students in the bottom two sections.

The chart encouraged other teachers to do the same. Credit: Instagram/milestonesandmishaps
The chart encouraged other teachers to do the same. Credit: Instagram/milestonesandmishaps

Posting on her Instagram account, Erin wrote: "I was able to start some check ins today, and holy cow these kids. I love them. My heart hurts for them. High school is rough sometimes, but I was happy that a few were given a safe space to vent and work through some feelings.

"I also like that students could visually see that they aren't alone in their struggles. It was a beautiful minimum day focusing on self care and mental health."

Erin has now made a printable version of her chart with instructions which you can get free of charge here.

Another one of the charts. Credit: Instagram/jsscytn
Another one of the charts. Credit: Instagram/jsscytn

Speaking to Good Morning America, Erin said: "I never expected it to get beyond my following. To see this being used in multiple countries around the world, having [teachers] reach out from New Zealand and Africa...to hear actual stories of people helping their students, I'm really overwhelmed with joy.

"I've had a lot of students in the last five years of my career that have struggled with self-confidence, self-doubt, image, had suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide and, after seeing all that, I've been making it a theme in my classroom and trying to check in with them."

In an interview with INSIDER magazine, Erin said: "So many people think they're the only ones struggling. Kids need to hear that they're not alone and what that support looks like."

What an incredible woman.

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Featured Image Credit: Instagram/makingastatementinsped

Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd is a Journalist at LADbible. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class BA in Journalism. Becky previously worked as Chief Reporter at Cavendish Press, supplying news and feature stories to national newspapers and women's magazines.

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