Being a teacher or an educator is a mission. It requires an adapted training and a learning process as in all professions. Why do so many teachers today lose their footing and how can we deal with depression as a teacher.
Depression among Teachers and Educators – A Status Report
Across industrialized countries, educators and teachers are prone to depression
The Baltimore 2021 study finds that the prevalence of anxiety, depression, and stress is high among teachers, especially during the pandemic.
Although the results vary between countries and situations, the Spanish study shows a higher frequency of occurrence.
The results highlight the need to take measures for the management of teachers’ mental health.
What are some signs of teacher depression?
- feeling tired
- overwhelmed by excessive demands often outside their teaching field.
- having no time for themselves.
- getting insufficient salary
Dominique for example points out:
“A lack of support in my practice. How can I go from general and literary academic knowledge to a coherent, adapted, differentiated pedagogical practice, etc. without really learning it!
…the salary is not very substantial, even after more than 20 years of working in the teaching profession; the expectations are often very high, the programs are full and the time allotted is relatively short. In addition, it is difficult to gain the respect of the students, to be listened to, to be authoritative enough… not easy! As for the internal motivations, they can be sufficient but they can also give way to the discouragement of the teacher.”
Elisabeth, a teacher, testifies that many do not have the vocation for this demanding job and that it is difficult to ask for a retraining.
The impact of burnout
This leads them to serious depression. They stop believing in themselves and sometimes commit suicide.
The students, especially those in difficulty, are left to their own resources because the teacher is there physically, but more and more absent in spirit.
In all countries, the situation is the same.
Les élèves, sont livrés à eux-mêmes, surtout ceux qui sont en difficulté car le professeur, s’il est là physiquement, est de plus en plus absent d’esprit.
What to do if depression occurs
We interviewed and followed many teachers. Well-being at work is essential in all professions
Search for the causes
For a teacher, the first thing to do when he feels a drop in motivation is to look for the causes. Take advantage of a three-day break to take stock of the job, our expectations and the working conditions required to feel good and be able to do it fully.
What makes me uncomfortable? The relationship with the student? Certain tasks that get in the way of my drive? Lack of training in the field? A health problem that I don’t dare to talk about?
Am I cut out for the job?
Once the result has been established, Take steps to improve the situation.
Talk to your hierarchy
Talking to your supervisor is not always easy. But you can always represent that adjusting your time and working conditions would allow you to be more efficient at work. Getting help from a colleague or another acquaintance in the hierarchy can be a good plan.
The fact of being at our own pace will allow us to breathe and to take time for mindfulness during the day in order to learn to master emotions and events of one’s life.
Find help in your practice
The teacher needs freedom to build his teaching and adapt it to each class and each student. He needs to be in control of his practice; he cannot be constrained by shackles that prevent him from doing it. In addition to discussions with colleagues, why not look for a wise and experienced elder in the profession to whom we can talk and who can evaluate or help us with his advice continuously and all the time we need.
Take care of your overall health
Personal health is a key to success. If a health problem has developed on top of our difficulties at school, let’s go for a medical consultation to find out exactly what the problem is and let’s take the time it takes to fix it.
Wellness is different for everyone. One person will feel good reading, while for another, playing music will relax him. For a third, it is only in sleep that he relaxes, another will invest in a sports club or a social cause because it is what is important to him.
Finally, we should make sure to maintain a normal social life outside of school. Friends are important and the relationship with them is a crucial element of personal and social health.
A solution for every problem.
If the person has given up, colleagues must be attentive to help and support him, even in front of his hierarchy, until a solution is found and he regains his balance.