The first of two interviews with EDGs on mental health, during Mental Health Awareness Month
Written by Katie Ginder-Vogel
Reviewed by Kevin Hernandez
“I don’t think I have a work-life balance,” says Google Workplace EDM Alice Keeler. “I could use some. I’m not very good at self-care either…my idea of a good time is coding.
Alice may be humble, but she successfully juggles many responsibilities. In addition to his freelance programming work and the books she posted, she has five children, all of whom have various mental health issues. An educator known for posting Google Classroom add-ons, planners and tips, Alice teaches math to high school students. She says they also have mental health issues, often due to poverty and family issues.
“As an employer, mother and teacher, I see with my own eyes how mental health issues affect people, but we expect everyone to accept and go to work, go to school and respond. family events,” she says. “I really thought about it a lot, because I see the challenges that my family and my students face. I try to offer a lot of grace and flexibility to others.
She points out that mental health is very personal. “Of the 20 people I feel closest to in my life, no solution would work for all of them,” she says.
Coding as personal care
In Alice’s experience, technology has provided a means of self-care, career opportunities, and academic support. “I think one of the benefits of coding is that it doesn’t have to be done at a certain time and can provide flexible creative options for people,” she says. “I can code at 3am, and nobody cares. It’s not very social, which is helpful for people who struggle with social expectations.
And during those coding sessions, Keeler builds creative solutions.
“You can do some really cool things,” she says. “When I solve a problem with ten lines of code, it’s a great way for me to feel valued.”
Alice found the GDE community being extremely supportive, although at first she was worried that no one would want to hear from her.
“I post in the GDE chat, and people respond with, ‘Alice!’,” she says. “I teach mathematics; I’m not a full time coder. I am self-taught; everything I do, I understand myself. I no longer feel like an impostor. I had 14 add-ons approved.
She realized over time that even the “experts” are still learning.
“You think everyone knows everything, but they don’t, and people may be considered experts, but you may post something they hadn’t even thought of,” she says. “You quickly realize that it’s not like a tower, and you’ve reached the top, it’s more like scattered LEGOs: I know some of this, and some of that, and you know this, and it’s scattered.”
Alice’s expertise in coding grew out of her desire to create technology solutions for herself and other teachers that simplified their processes and reduced stress. She is excited about educational technology tools that help both teachers and students reduce stress and improve well-being.
Educational technology for better well-being
Alice enjoys technology in the classroom which makes life easier for teachers and students. For example, she cites the tablet as “one of the best things to happen to special education” because it gives students learning challenges another way to share their thoughts and demonstrate their understanding of school materials. . Alice explains that tablets and Chromebooks make it easy to give students extra time for homework and assessments when needed.
“It brought a huge amount of inclusivity that was impossible,” she says. “It literally gives some kids a voice; they can submit questions and answers digitally, without raising their hands. »
Alice, as an educator, developer, and parent, focuses on using technology to streamline tasks and balance responsibilities, which reduces stress, improves well-being, and benefits her mental health. During the pandemic, she has enjoyed how technology has allowed her to teach online, write code, and also be there for her family. She had more time to attend her children’s events and was able to reduce her stress. Like all of us, she is still thinking about what will come next, but she is committed to supporting her loved ones and her students.
Google Workplace GDE Alice Keeler on balancing responsibilities and using coding as self-care was originally posted on Google Developers Experts on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.