Time to focus on teachers

The pandemic has not only elevated the levels of stress of students, but teachers too. Working through the pandemic – conducting online classes, making presentations, learning how to correct assignments online and adjusting to students, whose video and audio system was faulty when most required – has been a crucial task.

The pandemic has led teachers to an unpredictable scenario, where the lockdown situation has accelerated, the shift from traditional to online educational methods, and relationships have been altered by the avoidance of direct contact with the others, with implications for their mental health.

Stress

Most teachers face very high levels of stress caused due to the nature of their job, and the lack of cooperation from certain parents. Meeting deadlines and balancing family time, has caused high levels of stress in teachers.

Burnout

Teachers are often victims of burnout caused due to high levels of saturation. This occurs from the fact that they are now tired of the same mundane task that is never ending and a management that is non-appreciative.

Motivation

Low levels of motivation and self-esteem are seen in teachers, which is caused due to the fact that some teachers have not received an appropriate salary and increment, and some face a reduction in the same.

Anxiety

Getting back to school has caused anxiety in most students and teachers. Adjusting to the newness of the new system that was online over the past two years is one such reason. Any transition or change can induce anxiety, due to the lack of understanding about what the future holds.

Inferiority

Feeling less or inferior to a coteacher who does better at work or has a better sense of dressing, can be one such reason. Like in a class one student may get called out often, the same may go for a teacher too, thus causing inferiority.

Self-respect

A teacher holds a position of authority after having the right education, and qualification to avail a position at the school. It is very essential that the other co-teachers and individuals of authority maintain the same. Like every other person, a teacher can make mistakes too, it is important to not correct or scold the teacher in front of the students, parents or other coteachers.

Support groups

It is important for schools to have support groups for teachers to discuss their problems from time to time. Like counseling workshops are conducted for students, the same can be provided for teachers too.

Workload

Irrespective of school being online or offline, all teachers are required to maintain a lot of paperwork, which includes, lesson planning and recording of marks. Deadlines here can reduce the efficiency of the teacher.

Getting back to offline schooling has mixed reactions in many teachers, some of which are happy and some have got used to the offline pattern, where they could also attend to their own kids simultaneously.

In earlier times, teachers called up parents to complain about their child’s low grades, however, now parents often question teachers about the same. Here we also need to understand that all children are different and the pace at which they learn is very different.

Blaming or accusing someone is no solution here. It is important for parents to also spend time with their children, a child’s academic performance cannot depend on school alone.

Teacher burnout can often lead to an unhealthy and negative learning environment for the students and can also hamper the personal life of an educator. Teachers tend to ignore their stress and anxiety levels in lieu of their unconditional love for education and teaching children.

But the gratification from teaching can sometimes come with pressure and performance management that is always looming in a teacher’s mind. It is important that we remember that teachers are indispensable in our entire education system and so is their mental health and well-being a priority.

Teachers regularly have to juggle many competing demands.

They often easily put other people’s mental health and well-being needs ahead of their own. However, it is important that teachers take the time to prioritize their own mental health and well-being, for their benefit and that of the whole school community.

Mental health and well-being activities for teachers should be ongoing and holistic considering that all schools are offline now.

(Alisha Lalljee is a psychologist, psychotherapist, and educator. You can access her website www.alishalalljee.com or contact her at [email protected])

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