The initial transition to virtual learning has been chaotic for many teachers. Induced by COVID-19 and unanticipated closure of schools, the well-being crisis in teachers and students alike was a concerning issue. Analysis by Ieso Digital Health affirms that when schools will resume and faculties will be asked to attend classes physically, there will be an “explosion” of people suffering from depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. At this juncture, teachers are requested to spare attention and care to their social well-being. Talking about mental well-being of educators early can dodge a full-fledged collapse of the entire education system.
To prevent the crisis penetrate deeper, teachers need to set stipulated office hours during virtual classes. It is the teachers who are accustomed or taught to monitor students’ mental health and check for signs of depression, aggression or bullying. The importance of catering to teachers’ mental well-being remains far underrated. About time, there is an open mainstream discourse on teachers’ mental health.
Psychologists highlight how the bulk of assessing lesson plans, adhering to best teaching practices, checking projects, communicating and collective resources can take a mental toll. At each stage, a teacher puts in best efforts simultaneously accelerating their stress level. The occurrence is not merely particular to Indian education system, but prevalent globally.
The Conversation conducted research, examining the mental health of Australian teachers in 166 Australian schools. Respondents aged between 22-63 confessed about their work environment, finances and daily workload being catalysts of stress and dwindling optimism. At least 18 percent of the respondents were prone to the symptoms of moderate to severe depression and 62 percent for moderate to severe anxiety.
Presently, the lack of educational resources and behavioural changes among students due to the sudden shift to virtual learning, has been a disconcerting factor for many educators across the globe. The Guardian reported in January 2020 that 1 in every 20 teachers report mental health issues which span for more than a year. In England, policy-makers are already grappling with the enormity of this scenario amidst poor teacher retention and recruitment rates.
“The teaching profession in England is currently in the midst of a crisis and one potential reason why it’s struggling to recruit and retain enough teachers is due to the pressures of the job,” explains John Jerrim, Professor, UCL Institute of Education.
Why the issue of teachers’ mental health is of utmost concern today? Teachers lay the stepping-stones of success and promote pillars of achievements.
Schools are responsible for providing general recognition to the best mental healthcare practices—stress management workshops and counselling services for self-care– for teachers. Such well-being programmes can improve performance abilities and workload coping strategies. Unless implemented in teachers’ daily schedule, stress might pose as an overwhelming impediment in education.
If educators of our country burn out, it will severely impede students’ academic growth.