KSL AT NIGHT

Utah first lady Abby Cox initiative to help teachers succeed

Jul 27, 2023, 6:00 PM

Abby Cox new initiative to help teachers...

Utah first lady Abby Cox speaks at the Show Up for Teachers Conference at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Wednesday. (Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah first lady Abby Cox’s initiative “Show Up for Teachers” advocates for supporting teachers, so they can succeed in the classroom.

The initiative is part of her “Show Up” movement, and it is focused on addressing the stress and burnout many educators face by emphasizing mental health.

According to the website, “Utah has a high number of teachers leaving within their first five years of teaching, and we are losing some of our best and brightest educators.”

First Lady Abby Cox joins KSL at Night to discuss how its mission is going to help educators all across the Beehive State.

The mission

Abby Cox says she is very passionate about the issue because she, her mother, and her grandmother are former teachers. “It’s more critical than ever for us to make sure that the teachers have the tools and resources they need to take care of their own mental health.”

To learn what educators needed, Cox says they spoke with administrators, principals, teachers, students, and more to listen to their concerns. “Over and over we heard ‘We are not ok. We are not ok mentally, and we are not ok emotionally,'” Cox explains.

According to Cox, the pandemic brought many of these issues to light. Many parents struggled to have their kids home and provide what the students needed to be successful in learning from home.

After the pandemic, Cox says some teachers felt like the villains. “There’s been this negativity towards education and educators, it was so disheartening to our teachers,” Cox said.

To help teachers, the first lady started the Show Up for Teachers Conference. The conference helps provide teachers with wellness, mental health, and emotional intelligence tools.

Over 2,600 educators and community members attended this year’s conference. Including more than 125 businesses providing teachers with discounts, donations, gifts, and more to show appreciation. Also, at last year’s inaugural conference, 97% of attendees said that they were very satisfied with the experience.

How to help

Cox’s advice to people who want to help ‘Show Up’ for teachers is simple. “First of all, ask a teacher what they need. Second of all … volunteer in the classroom,” Cox says. Finding a moment to volunteer at the library, classroom, or front office, can really help educators.

According to Cox, anyone can volunteer their time at schools without the need to have educational background or experience.

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Utah first lady Abby Cox initiative to help teachers succeed