As teachers, we give so much thought to other people–the students, the school management, the parents, fellow teachers, throughout the day. However, we are so fogged by the day-to-day grind of planning and preparing, that we forget to focus on our own mental well being.
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’s 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.
4 Reasons Why Mental Health is Important for Teachers?
A teacher is the first line of defence for their students.
Experts say that stress gets passed on from teachers to their students.
Students in classrooms, which have teachers experiencing burnouts, are said to have high levels of cortisol- a kind of stress hormone. This is the prime reason why all teachers should pay attention to their mental health and well being.
Whether it is memory problems, sleep management, lesson planning, or curriculum completion, a teacher facing stress can end up having a detrimental impact on their students and the school. Let’s dive right in and understand the importance of mental health for teachers in more detail:
1. Direct Impact on Student's’ Emotional State & Learning Environment
All students look up to their teachers. Children are always finding role models and people whom they want to be like when they grow up and a teacher plays a very crucial role in that.
A happy teacher exudes positivity which directly impacts the learning environment whereas presence of a stressed teacher is likely to have a negative impact on the students' learning environment and lead to poor student outcomes.
2. Serious Implications on Mental Health Development of Students
According to the Child Mind Institute, half of mental illnesses begin before children reach the age of 14. Schools can play an active role in the intervention and expand their capacities to create learning environments prepared to support students with mental health conditions.
This doesn’t require a teacher to become a therapist. Rather, it requires a teacher to cultivate the skills and knowledge that help them identify risk factors and symptoms, and provide a helping hand to respond to students before the situation escalates to depression, anxiety, or acts of self-harm.
3. Negative Impact on Effectiveness of Teaching
Living in the era of the internet, students can always use tonnes of digital resources to find and seek information. However, it is the responsibility of teachers to deliver a positive learning environment to process the information that has been sought out.
Only a mentally relaxed and blissful teacher can bring the much-required positive energy to the sessions and give them a true meaning which further results in increased effectiveness and learning.
4. Effect On Personal And Professional Life
For teachers, the excessive workload of curating interactive techniques, learning to operate multiple e-learning platforms, conducting classes, grading examinations, and planning lessons usually takes a toll on their mental health.
This can result in inappropriate anger displacement, diversion of attention, stress, & periodic anxiety sessions. These issues trickle down to other personal aspects as well, which ultimately affects mental health.
Enhanced mental well-being ensures that teachers not only give their best to the school but also to life at home.
We can all agree that the elephant in the room is stress and mental health of our teachers. 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.
For a student to grow in a happy and positive environment, it is important they have a teacher that exudes positivity. Hence, it is crucial for schools to provide professional support, adopt initiative and regularly promote mental well being of a teacher. Because Stress Free Teachers create Stress Free Classrooms.
Simran is a writer here at Suraasa and has formerly worked as a Teacher. She is passionate about learning and making a difference through her words.