Dr. David Childs, D.D., Ph.D.
As we have written in a recent article, it is important to attend to the mental health needs of students in K-12 settings in the US and beyond. With the effects of COVID-19, increased stressors in and out of the classroom and with the proliferation of mass shootings, being aware of mental health challenges in the lives of youth is a top priority. As such, we should also be paying the utmost attention to the mental health of teachers. Because when our nation’s teachers are not healthy our schools are not healthy. Educators by virtue of their job description are givers and keep giving at the expense of their own health. There has been growing and much needed conversation about teacher self-care. In light of this great need, we are including some resources below for teachers to practice self-care.
Ryan Raphael for NPR
Mental Health America has important information in regard to teacher self-care on their website. A recent 2022 article states “According to several studies and reports, teaching is one of the most stressful jobs in the country. The American Federation of Teachers’ 2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey found that 61 percent of teachers said their jobs were always or often stressful—more than double the rate of non-teaching working adults—and 58 percent said they had poor mental health due to stress levels. That was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and since then, the transition to online learning, debates over reopening, and individual safety concerns are making teachers’ mental health worse.
Mental Health America offers this advice for teachers
“If you’re feeling tired and disengaged, there’s a good chance it’s related to trauma, secondary traumatic stress, and/or “battle fatigue.” Teachers are often focused on taking care of and supporting others, but without prioritizing your wellbeing, those stress levels won’t lift. Your mental health isn’t only important to you—teacher wellness is also linked to stability in schools and student achievement.” The article goes on to offer six tips for teachers to take care of their mental health:
1. Set boundaries early on – and hold them.
2. Focus on what you can control.
3. Move your body.
4. Stay in touch with friends and family.
5. Keep up with self-care.
6. Maintain Reasonable expectations.
Resources for Teacher Self-care
The 3 R’s for Teacher Self-Care: Reflect. Release. Recharge.
Don’t Forget the Adults: How Schools and Districts Can Support Educator Mental Health
Teachers’ Mental Health Has Suffered in the Pandemic. Here’s How Districts Can Help
We Need to Do More for Teachers Who are Exhausted, Stressed and Burned Out
15 Mental Health Tips For Teachers-Teach Thought
Teachers Are Experiencing a Mental Health Crisis, Too
10 Teacher Mental Health Tips You Can Put Into Practice Today
America’s Teachers Are Facing a Mental Health Crisis, Too
We are open to feedback and discussion. If you see any typos or grammatical errors please feel free to email the author and editor at the address below:
Dr. David Childs
As a future educator and someone who is friends with current educators, I can say that mental health is super important for not only the kids but for ourselves. My educator friends have taught me to always remember that my mental health matters, and sometimes you need to make choices to better it. Like taking summer classes! My educator friends encouraged me to do it to put less stress during my fall and spring semester when getting classes in, and to get my degree at a faster level. This article is very informative when it comes to realizing that teachers’ mental health is just as important as the students.