Rina (she/her) is a high school French teacher in Lexington, Massachusetts. She implements GiveThx in numerous ways in her classroom from teaching French pronouns to using it as a segue to conversations about controversies embedded in the holiday of Thanksgiving.
Yet, she also uses the program for herself and students during difficult moments. She explains, “As a queer person, as a Middle Eastern Jew, there's a lot of really hard stuff that touches me when I go into the classroom and it touches my students. I'm being asked to do a lot of emotional labor for students that see me as a resource.
”For instance, after the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Rina and some of her students were deeply affected. *“There's a bunch of us on campus. I am very visible in my queerness and in my support. And on days like that [after the nightclub shooting], it's really hard because I'm struggling and I want to be a resource for the students that are struggling. My family at home is struggling and I want the students who are struggling to feel seen.”
On those hard days she gives students choices. They can go take a walk, see their counselor, or give thanks and appreciate the community that they’re in. And according to Rina, there's always students that turn to GiveThx in those challenging moments.
“I find it to be a blessing to have a way for people to connect when face-to-face connection seems hard. To have a people to have a way to connect when people don't want to talk about the hard stuff, but want to acknowledge each other and community in hard moments. So I have found GiveThx to be an incredible blessing…”
“…And in hard moments for me, I look to see what the students have sent me. I have saved many, many notes that I’ve gotten from GiveThx. I have really treasured, when teaching's hard, getting that kind of feedback and being able to appreciate my students on a human level”.
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