“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.”
Chapter 1: The circle of life (lessons)
From our grandparents, our parents and us, to our kids, our grandkids and our great-grandkids – teachers will never be more than a ‘doubt’ away. Considered to be the oldest and noblest of professions for centuries, a teacher’s job is no child’s play. They are invaluable in moulding the minds of yesterday, today and tomorrow. A teacher’s work isn’t limited to just academics – they are also instrumental in the moral and social development of their students. This massive responsibility entails constant dedication to the profession and to their students, which sometimes can have adverse effects on their overall mental health.
Chapter 2: It’s not as easy as ABC
One of the biggest factors owing to depreciating mental health among teachers is the sheer workload which leads to burnout. A teacher’s mental well-being is pivotal not just in their own lives but also to deliver professionally in an effective and efficient manner. Just like with any other profession, a high-stress environment can result in mental distress and a lack of being able to perform optimally, especially when it comes to education.
The challenges faced by teachers today include:
- Over-burdened curriculum
- Over-demanding parents
- Over-powering technology
- Rebellious or difficult students
- Low compensation and extensive evaluations
- Lack of infrastructural facilities
Chapter 3: A clear mind = An unhindered mind
Clarity and peace of mind are essential for a teacher to be able to effectively inculcate their teachings in students. While many teachers manage to suppress their stress and anxiety for the sake of their students, it is important to understand and realize that being in a state of constant worry can have a debilitating effect on their mental and physical health. This hinders not just their teaching ability but also their everyday life.
The hindering effects of mental distress include:
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Inability to focus
- Sadness or apathy
Chapter 4: …And they lived happily ever after
So, just how do we go about ensuring a less stressful work environment for our teachers? It all begins with being a little more understanding of their hardships and proactively ensuring the alleviation of their concerns.
Some initiatives that may help combat stress among teachers include:
- A self-care plan provided by educational institutions
- Special in-school sessions to hear out their grievances
- Patience and understanding
But the onus essentially lies on us. We can help reduce their stress by being more empathetic toward their ordeals – be it during our teenage years or our parenting ones, a little recognition does go a long way.