The past few years I've visited 100's of schools across the country, and spoken to many teachers of different years and subjects. It's obvious to me the passion these teachers have in educating their students and, most importantly, the overall wellness of the student's mental health.
It's a tough time these days for teachers and parents - with the rise of youth depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, dealing with this can cause a huge amount of stress and also effect their own mental health.
I've spoken with teachers who confide in me the pressure they have in helping and dealing with these growing issues. Not only do they have to keep up with the syllabus, but then they hear from parents who are unsure on what direction they should take after noticing their child withdrawn, sad, or socially awkward.
The mounting pressure on teachers is enough for anybody to break.
From the outside looking in, a teacher looks like they're "on a good wicket". I mean, they're on holidays for 12 weeks a year! Who wouldn't want that?
Well, who would also like to deal with teaching, counselling, mentoring, being a shoulder to cry on, father or mother figure, for 30 - 40 different kids? On top of that, chuck in the pressures to perform from other teachers, principals, parents, and school boards. Not to mention late nights spent marking papers while your own family is eating dinner.
So what am I getting at here?
Before I speak about the teachers, I want to point out that there's been a huge amount of focus, funding, and awareness for the mental health of our kids - and rightly so! Being on the front foot myself as a motivational speaker for primary and high school students, it's been great seeing the shift occurring. I get messages daily from students looking to share their thoughts, emotions, and how they're progressing. The feedback and input from students & teachers has been incredible.
So, this is all fantastic. But...
What about those at the top? What about our leaders of the classroom? The teachers that are on the phone to me, organising a visit to help their students, sometimes crying when talking about different incidents. What about these guys?
There needs to be more focus on helping our teacher's mental health.
You can't pour from an empty cup.
I think the people up top, and those decision makers at schools are realising this, and now when I'm organising a visit to a school, once they hear about my reducing teacher stress workshop, they're all over it! The workshop has been working extremely well, and I get messages most days from teachers who have told me the improvements they've made for themselves and their family.
A happy and peaceful (as much as you can be) teacher results in a better learning & work environment.
So what can you do right now to start helping reduce your stress? Be "Selfish"! I wrote a recent blog about this recently, and the feedback from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. Check it here
"Thank you Luke. It was a fantastic session today. I have never before been to a staff PD day where EVERYONE stayed focused and loving it the whole day! Well done to you! Your insights and information come from first hand, which really makes everything so relatable and interesting. The Gratitude lists, the Achievement lists and the I Am statements are going to used in all of their glory!"- Teacher, St Brigid's, Emerald.
I wish you all peace of mind xx
Luke S. Kennedy is Australia's most sought after guest speakers for primary schools, high school students, Parent Evenings, and reducing stress workshops for teachers & students.y his presentation;