- Tempe Union High School District
- TUHSD Newsroom
#WordsofWisdomWednesday- Week Thirteen
This week we are featuring our team from the Teenage Pregnancy Program (TAPP). The team works to provide education and social support to pregnant and parenting teens, which during the pandemic brings a new host of complications to these students’ lives.
When asked about the emotions they are dealing with, Kim Whitmyer shared, “Some days are energizing as we are doing home visits and seeing their bonds with their babies and passing grades and they look happy and healthy. Some days are beyond exhausting with the inability to reach them and no cameras on so can’t ‘see’ how they look physically or emotionally see their eyes and body language.” Kelli Wright concurred and added a sense of perspective, “Emotions are high and perseverance is even higher; there have been a few days that have been absolutely discouraging for me. A few days out of eight months is such great odds.”
Kelli goes on to describe how they have managed the changes since schools were shut down last spring, “Last spring seems like two years ago! So much has changed with the pandemic and our outside world. The online learning platform has been through its learning curve and continues to grow! It took a lot of effort and trials to get a classroom, private groups, and individual sessions online - this was a challenge that we were met with and overcame while keeping energy and momentum for all of our TAPP students.
Kim adds, “I don’t know of a teacher or school worker who doesn’t miss the students, so I am mostly looking forward to (when safe to do so) returning to school. I miss their babies. I’m looking forward to being in the same room with my colleagues. GROUPS. SPORTS, I can’t wait to attend games/assemblies and all the ENERGY our kids bring to our lives. To hear all of my students TOGETHER supporting each other's journey of a pregnant or parenting teen. I learn so much from them and I can’t wait to have them together again.”
Kim offers the following advice, “GIVE. GRACE. To yourselves, your students, the parents, the district. No one has this figured out. I try to believe no one is intentionally wishing harm on anyone. We ALL want ‘normal’, heck I have a senior...my heart breaks for him, but he is learning resiliency and to put others first.”
Kelli adds, “As a social worker, I would like to impress upon educators and support staff, now during this pandemic, more than ever, it is so important to take care of yourselves. Scheduling time for yourself, being thoughtful in what will re-energize you, and choosing what you need is so critical to being able to continue on and care for our students.”
To see more of how this team is responding to the challenge of connecting with their students, watch their special video message.