With 46% of teachers facing high stress levels on a daily basis - is it any wonder that some of our children may find it difficult to concentrate when the people who are supposed to be shaping them for their future are unable to remain focused themselves? More than a third of school staff have seen a rise in mental health issues surrounding colleagues. How can we trust schools to look after our children, when they can barely look after their staff?
High stress levels can cause significant compromisation of mental health- especially being experienced on a daily basis. According to an article written in the Times educational supplement, when teachers are stressed their students can begin to show lower levels of academic performance and social adjustment. As a whole, the stress in teachers is a crisis that needs to be addressed before it reflects negatively on educational outcomes in students and further impacts educational professionals mental health and wellbeing.
According to a study in social science and medicine, when teachers are stressed, their students are stressed. The research consisted of assessing teacher burnout levels (exhaustion from work) in comparison to cortisol levels (linked with stress) in students. The conclusions drawn from the study were: "Teachers who experience higher level of burnout reported to be more stressed, less effective in teaching and classroom management, less connected to their students and less satisfied with their work". In short, teachers are not teaching to their best of their ability due to stress, which means, in turn, our children aren't learning to the best of theirs.
It is claimed that, the increasing burnout in teachers is not only affecting our children's learning - but also their own stress levels. From the same study, it is noted that students with teachers feeling stressed and exhausted are more likely to have heightened cortisol levels, suggesting higher stress levels. This negatively impacts academic progress as those experiencing high levels of stress tend to be more likely to struggle academically.
Teacher burnout is a known crisis and while the relevant organisations are doing what they can to reduce the workloads, increase the pay and more - there is one union who may have found a solution to reduce teacher stress to help our children perform to the best of their ability. Voice- 'The union for education, early years and childcare professionals' have teamed up with 'Thrive therapeutic software'- a company founded and developed by leading psychologists and psychiatrists who have created an app, 'Feel Stress Free'. The app uses clinically proven techniques (such as CBT) in order to reduce and to build resilience to stress, anxiety and mild depression.
Though this doesn't solve the issues teachers may face daily, it is a huge step in the right direction- allowing those people who are going to be shaping our children's future to reduce their stress levels- benefiting themselves and our children.
You can download 'Feel Stress Free' via www.feelstressfree.com