State President Sherry Miller of Killeen presided over the Representative Assembly on Feb. 26 during TCTA's 2022 Annual Meeting.
Delegates elected new members to TCTA's Executive Board for terms beginning June 1:
To ensure minority representation on the Directors’ Council, delegates also elected three Directors-at-Large:
Several District Coordinating Councils also elected district directors to two-year terms on the Directors' Council:
During the virtual meeting, delegates and member guests were divided into small groups to discuss policy issues.
The discussions focused on what the Texas Legislature should know about the current state of education and the teaching profession.
Delegates shared concerns about teacher salaries, heavy workloads and the struggle to help students catch up from pandemic disruptions. They also talked about parental involvement in schools and the need for administrators to support teachers and classroom personnel with student discipline issues.
Ideas for attracting and retaining teachers included higher salaries and bonuses, administrators showing more appreciation, designated mental health days and reducing required paperwork and training. TCTA’s lobby team will use the feedback in setting policy positions and in discussions with state officials, other education groups and lawmakers heading into the 2023 legislative session.
A crowd favorite during TCTA’s 2019 convention, licensed counselor and retired educator Dennette Gardner returned as this year’s keynote speaker.
Her presentation focused on ways to help educators unwind and lower stress.
“If you don’t have stress, you’re dead,” she said after asking everyone to write down the first idea that came to mind when hearing “Every moment is _____________?”
Using examples and encouraging participation, Gardner explained how the brain responds to triggers that cause stress reactions and urged attendees to think about how they know when they are feeling stress.
“Constant high levels of stress lead to inflammation, and inflammation is the precursor to all modern diseases that are killing us today — heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia, even diabetes, they all begin with stress. And chronic stress actually eats away over time at the hippocampus in your brain, which can lead to memory loss and new disorders,” she said. “People who live a high level of stress die about 10 years sooner than others.”
But what do we do about stress? Gardner said we use our super power — the mind.
“You get to choose where your attention goes, how long it stays there and how deeply you dive into that topic,” she said. “Your thoughts create your emotion.”
Her presentation explained the importance of connecting emotions to your body’s response so that you can recognize warning signals that stress episodes are coming and take action to unwind.
“Whatever you put your attention on expands,” she said.
Gardner also highlighted the importance of sleep, food and movement on well-being, sharing free resources and recommended reading and demonstrating how the power of dance can help you feel better. “My wish for you is that you can experience life in a way that every moment is precious.”
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by pressures at school or at home, log in and watch her presentation in the Online CPE section to learn her techniques, such as belly breathing, to “delete and disengage” and focus on “joy and happiness” to experience gratitude. You’ll also earn 0.75 hours of continuing professional education credit.
As a gift to all TCTA members to go along with the new swag meeting attendees received, Gardner plans to create a YouTube channel that will include more exercises to focus on mindfulness. The link will be shared in eUpdate as soon as it is available.