kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,

Heavy workload; stressed-out teachers need help

In the recent Bumiputera Education Roadshow in Kuala Nerang, April 22, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid mentioned the necessity in ensuring assistance to teachers in Malaysian schools said to be suffering from stress or depression.

However, he seems to understand that the cause of stress may come from the principal, headmaster or head of departments themselves and teachers could report to the district education office or state education director.

And  when teachers report their problems to the district education office or state education office, their plights and grievances does not show well.

The person or teachers will be said as the ‘whistleblower’ and normally the whistleblower will then take the stick. So will there be teachers or educators who are brave and daring enough?

Like the case of one higher education teacher statements and report against his institution,  ended up in court. Luckily, he’s educated  in law.

He did write about, is there really a channel for teachers and educators to put up their minds.  And how sure is ‘what we write is what we get’?

A group of teachers then created a group in Facebook for teachers in hoping that the top brass could at least go through their writings, initially it was good but later (of course) the Director General and the Minister has a lot more other things to look into, and the group now is more on ‘social networking’.

Teaching is a distressing calling under the best of conditions. You should be always connecting with an amicable before a gathering of learners, almost constantly.

 Your work day habitually extends well past 3 p.m., and work duties (and stresses) overflow into your extra time. You're evaluated on measures, (for example, students performance in test) over which you have little control. And very frequently, you're working without the assets or bolster you have to truly carry out your employment well.

These issues are challenging for all teachers. They’re super-challenging for teachers who have depression and anxiety disorders.

Then came the assessment and standardized teaching. Curriculum maps were written. Workbooks were distributed. All the things that had made great teacher creative, like owning lessons and assignments, finding just the right resources to teach what needed to be taught became liabilities.

Teachers do not have autonomy over how or what was taught and what to be done. No one encourage teachers to teach better. Doesn’t that depress them?

Many love teaching, but teaching was no longer a source of joy for most. Newspaper stories and editorials slamming teachers and touting reforms would make any stomach turn.

Thus physical symptoms of stress began to show.

Research evidence has shown that the main sources of the current high levels of teacher depression and stress include:

  • excessive workload and working hours;

  • poor pupil behaviour, which itself is often compounded by issues such as large class sizes;

  • pressures of assessment targets and inspections;

  • management bullying; and

  • lack of professional opportunities.

Don’t let depression and anxiety steal your love of teaching or your ability to enjoy life.

Maybe teachers do need colleague who can step in and take over for you as necessary. Some recommended counseling session or medical appointment, especially when depression and anxiety are affecting too much.

Doing exercise boosts the amount of feel-good chemicals in the brain, and can help ease the symptoms of both depression and anxiety. Getting out into nature really balanced oneself.

It’s so easy to let teaching take over your life! But teachers who’ve learned to live with depression and anxiety say it’s important to set boundaries and establish routines.

And while many people would recommend relaxing self-care activities,  for you need some time off.

As many would prefer to stay anonymous, most likely says they would appreciate the kind of support or direction needed.

Counseling and medication may ease the symptoms but what helped most is switching to a different, more supportive working environment.

nst.jpgAzizi Ahmad Kuala Lumpur NST Letters 30 April 2017
Original title: Does anyone care to ask why teachers or educators are said to be depressed?
Tags: stress, teachers, writings

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