Teachers Mental Health and Wellbeing
Normally, teachers have to juggle multiple demands and things. Now, with the pandemic, this has only gone up tenfold. Additionally, with all of this came a higher sense of stress and anxiety. Because of this, it is now more than ever important that teachers take the time to prioritize their own mental health and well-being. Whether you are a teacher yourself or know of some, read below for more information and ways you can help.
As givers themselves, teachers are used to putting the well-being of their students and others above their own. They prioritize and hyperfocus on others and their state of being rather than sometimes focusing on their own. Of course, as one can imagine, this leaves them at the end of the line when it comes to self-care and mental health.
Additionally, teachers are brought up in an atmosphere that is very comparative. There is always a feeling that you could be doing more, with a focus on the other classroom that may be performing better or other schools that have higher test scores. Work-life boundaries are nearly non-existent as well.
All of this of course only deteriorates a teachers’ mental health and overall self. Now, as one can imagine, with a pandemic like the recent one we are experiencing, this only causes even more of an issue. Teachers now have a learning curve when it comes to reaching their students and working, the work-life balance isn’t there at all sometimes, and most of the pressure coming from parents and higher-ups falls on their shoulders.
How we can help
Teachers must have ongoing support and community that can be some sort of backbone for them when necessary. They must also be equipped with the right tools and resources to better perform. Districts and higher-ups can ensure this by implementing time to listen to their teachers’ needs and concerns as well as team-building activities, focusing on a growth mindset, and inputting clear boundaries from the get-go. Vulnerability and compassion should also be promoted within the teaching space, rather than competition and stress.
As a community, we should also regularly check in with our teachers, be more understanding of certain situations, and simply listen to our teachers to give them a safe space. Just like most students during the pandemic, they also struggled with new structures and systems. We must also understand that they also have lives out of their career and may have suffered loss or may have gotten sick themselves. In addition, attempting to school their own school-aged children. Overall, a little understanding goes a long way.
Please share this blog post with friends and family if you feel like it has benefited you and can benefit them. Also, share your thoughts below in the comments about ways we can help the teachers within our community.
Sources: Harvard Graduate School of Education “Safeguarding the Mental Health of Teachers” by Emily Boudreau
EducationWeek “Teachers’ mental health has suffered in the pandemic. Here is how districts can help” by Catherine Gewertz