5 Tips For Looking After Teacher Mental Health
The role of today’s teachers is constantly growing and changing to involve more duties than ever before – including building emotionally strong students. But rarely does our society look at how this changing role is affecting the mental well-being of our teachers themselves. According to a poll run by the National Education Union, one in three teachers plans to quit the classroom within five years due to increased workload. Many teachers feel overworked, underappreciated, and stressed as a result.
Whilst improved mental health will help with staff retention and less sick -leave, research has shown that poor mental health in teachers has a direct effect on pupil progress. There has therefore never been a more important time to ensure we provide personal support to our nation’s best teachers, keep them in the classroom and ensure they are happy and healthy in their professional and personal lives.
- Designate a Mental Health Leader
The government’s mental health green paper proposes a mental health lead in every school and college, to strengthen ties with external services. Whilst an argument for necessary funding for this role not being available stands strong, there is an opportunity here to put mental health and wellbeing awareness at the center of school life.
- Encourage and prioritise communication
Whilst students have certainly missed out on invaluable social interaction over the last 18+ months, so have our teachers. Plan some social events that get people interacting in groups to rebuild the bond broken by social distancing.
- Thank your teaching staff
Check in with your team members and say thank you to them. They have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, throwing themselves into delivering amazing online classes or maybe even been furloughed. Everyone has contributed in their own way. Make sure to thank them, genuinely, for this work.
- Make support accessible
Your staff needs to know that support is available should they need it. Having a designated mental health lead will give any members of staff who need support somewhere they know they can always go to. If an extra level of support is needed in the form of counselling or specialist help, ensure this is known and accessible.
- Encourage Self Care
Help staff to recognise when their workload is becoming too much and to ask for help. Encourage them to take part in physical activity or spend time outdoors in nature which is a well-known mood booster!
Whilst there is still a lot of work we would like to see done by ministers to ensure that teachers are getting the support they need, these are some great things we can do internally to support our teacher’s well-being.
Let’s give ourselves the best chance for success and ensure our teachers don’t leave the profession they worked and continue to work so hard for.
If you or someone you know in the education sector is struggling with their mental health – call or text Education Support for FREE 24/7 help.
UK-wide: 08000 562 561 day or night
Txt: 07909 341229 (answered within 24 hours)