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Do teachers have adequate mental health support to cope with classroom stress?

Most education programs and initiatives are student centred. They have been developed to address a teacher's approach to pedagogical challenges (How they teach or what they teach). The success of the programs are based on the response of the students. There isn't any consideration for the psychological well being of the individual that deals with the unfiltered mass of humanity that enters their classroom with a sense of entitlement. Nor does it consider or protect their emotional well being from the assortment of parents and their often misguided sense of entitlement. Why isn't there first and foremost a support system for the intrepid individuals who place themselves in the direct path of raw ego on a daily basis?


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    May 17 2013: Teaching can be, as you write, an extremely stressful job. I don't know that it was nearly as stressful a half century ago as now and is more stressful in some geographic locations than others and also in some subjects.

    In answer to your question of mental health resources, three "resources" come to mind. First, particularly in places where there is an ample supply of potential teachers, teaching credential programs and later school buildings will take an applicant's apparent personality, resilience, background level of anxiety, and so forth into account. For example, in the secondary credential program through which I was certified, at least two people who were originally admitted were not allowed to continue, one, I believe, because of a problem with extreme temper and the other for inadequate substantive command of the subject. In student teaching also some teaching candidates were not approved after their practice with the mentor teacher.

    Second, teachers in the US, at least, tend to have good health insurance, which means they have access to whatever mental health services the health insurance covers.

    Third, a school district often, perhaps always, has an Employee Assistance Program that focuses on issues of this kind on an individual or group basis.

    If teachers are lucky they work in an environment in which they have support from peers and from some building administrators rather than an administrative environment in which the leadership philosophy aims to keep people at a high stress level. I don't know how typical it is for district's to consider this aspect of leadership into their evaluations of principals, but it is likely, typically, a minor matter to those distant from the classroom.
    • Gord G 50+

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      May 17 2013: Interesting information Fritzie. It's fortunate that there are resources available. It's unfortunate that work environments depend on luck.
      • Jun 15 2013: In all my years of teaching and listening to my colleagues of various grades, subjects, and states...the problem is administration. There are very few principals that are qualified and understand their job. As an excellent teacher is a special combination of skills and intuitions, a successful administrator needs to have a special mix: an academic, ethical, a person who understands their charge is to support and nurture educators, not as mine put it " my job is every year to focus on several teachers and take them out". Unfortunately for 7 years she has done only that, ending the careers of the most ethical, passionate, skilled educators I have known- they were so threatening as they reflected back to her all her inadequacies.

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