The mental health of teaching

Nina Boniface
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The mental health of teaching

At times being a teacher is a challenging profession, it comes with many rewards in terms of seeing your students develop, it also has difficult moments.

TES wrote about this challenge recently and were focused on the system itself, you can read things like this:

What should be a beautiful profession has been transformed into something ugly and fear-inducing. Teachers are trapped within it, aware of how things ought to be, but powerless to change their fate until they can find a way to reverse the spell.

Full article

It’s an interesting article and our focus today is not the system nor the pupils, it’s about the teacher and their own mental health. The compound challenges of planning, marking and at times the pupils being less than kind is a lot of mental baggage to carry. When we are taught how to teach it is all about the IQ side of the world, the how-to, there is a missing link.

Emotional Intelligence

Alongside your IQ is your EQ, your emotional intelligence and that is where your mental health resides. How you think and how you feel is based on visuals, your imagination and accessing your subconscious mind. The challenge for keeping balancing and feeling good mentally is that all those feelings and thoughts are inside your head, if you leave them there you risk increasing that burden and overbearing pressure from your day to day working life.

Here are some tips to help you lighten the load:

1. Talking is a therapy

When we share how we feel, particularly with colleagues we realise we are not alone and that others feel similar. It’s not about having a moan but it is about shared experiences. The mental release is the same as therapy, talking is good for us, much better than bottling things up.

2. Stilling the mind

If you feel short of time then meditation will not be your first port of call but there are many ways to still the mind and feel more at peace. It’s about having a hobby and focus that is just for you:

– Jogging

– Boxing

– Knitting (becoming very popular again)

– Gardening

– Guilty pleasures like 80’s movies!

It’s not a text, you just follow your heart and instinct and make sure you take time for yourself.

3. Diary

Whilst talking to others is great, you don’t always want to share everything. A diary is still a very positive thing to do, a little-hidden place to share your thoughts and feelings, psychological it helps you feel a sense of release.

4. There’s an app for that

There is a great app called Headspace which is really easy to get into a habit of using and understanding and rewarding yourself with meditation and mindfulness.

It’s easy to feel that teaching is like being a martyr at times, you don’t always feel appreciated for the effort you put in. It’s important you recognise that you are appreciated and having helped place, 102,437 teachers, we know what quality looks like.

Teachers rule! They just need to put themselves first for the sake of their mental wellbeing.

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