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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: Hi Gord,
    what an important topic this is.

    Educators are undervalued in just about any system, and I agree, they are often subjected to an enormous amount of stress. They are, after all, partly responsible for our most valuable possessions, our children! If they are not mentally and emotionally stable, how can they successfully pass on knowledge and teach kids to be mentally and emotionally stable members of society?

    I live in the Netherlands, where health care is (thankfully) quite good. If someone feels they are 'losing it', and can't cope, there is an intricate network of support in virtually all shapes and sizes to help those who need it. I know many educators suffer from stress-related afflictions, like burn-outs for example, and receive the time and care they need under our current health system to get themselves back together again.
    • May 17 2013: Hi Lizanne - It's great to hear there are resources available to teaching professionals in the Netherlands. There are similar resources available in Canada. I think access to good health care is essential to maintaining a positive environment in a classroom setting.

      Does the Netherlands also take a proactive approach? Are there courses available in education degree programs that teach personal coping skills? I know in Canada most programs focus on goals, norms, and standards for conducting the process of education and don't provide stress management training.In addition there appears to be scant training provided regarding the organizational culture of education institutions.

      I also question whether Principals are provided adequate human resources and management skills when pursuing their post graduate degrees. The lack of effective management skills increases stress levels.
      • May 18 2013: What a good question, Gord.
        I looked up your question, and found a wide range of training and courses designed for educators to cope with and improve their mental stability. Now, whether these courses are mandatory for all teachers, or whether they are initiated after someone has already 'burned out', I don't know.

        I do know that Holland has its feet firmly on the ground when it comes to this kind of thing - mental issues are taken very seriously, but I wonder if they are offered within the school system itself...

        Running is a school can be compared to running a business (which, arguably, is where the problem lies). I agree, principals need those skills too, in order to properly delegate and keep their own heads above water!
      • Jun 15 2013: PTSD is quite common among teachers but it is not acknowledged especially since it is often attributed to the administrators.

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