How has the pandemic affected teachers’ mental health?
For over a year now, the only way for most students to learn has been through a screen. This unusual event in any pupil’s life has taken its toll not only on their mental health, but also on that of their teachers.
According to a survey carried out by one of the largest teachers’ organisations in the UK (NASUWT), out of 4,700 respondents, 79% of teachers said that their work has had a very negative impact on their mental health, with precariousness and insecurity in the classrooms being one of the main factors. More than 80% of the participants have suffered an exponential increase in stress due to the large rise in workload, affecting 48% of them in their physical health.
This huge escalation in teachers’ mental health problems has led many teachers to take medication to handle the heavy workload and stress that has grown dramatically over the past year.
Among these findings, the NASUWT survey indicates other important data on the impact of the pandemic on teachers’ mental health, stating that 87% of teachers have experienced anxiety, 79% have experienced sleep loss and 30% have increased their normal use of alcoholic beverages.
The general secretary of the NASUWT, Dr Patrick Roach, is alarmed by these findings. He explains that the pandemic can be seen to have resulted in an immense workload for teachers, who although having coped remarkably well with the stressful situation, “Covid-19 and the impacts on working have had a detrimental effect on teachers’ physical and mental health”.
Many people have expressed their concerns and talked about the education system, supporting teachers and students and calling for more help and respect for the mental health of these educators.
In light of the abrupt change in the notion of lessons in March last year, one might consider these results to be expected, knowing that teachers have had to change everything previously known to them to deliver their content via a computer screen, with many of their pupils learning from their bedroom.
We can only hope that sooner rather than later, the situation for both teachers and pupils may start to improve, and that the general atmosphere of stress and fatigue in the education system will be reduced.
And even if the pandemic has taken its toll on the mental health of teachers all over the world, there are some of them who wanted to make the situation a bit more comical. This is why we want to wrap things up on a positive note, but always bearing in mind that mental health is a serious issue to be treated as such, and whenever help is needed, it should be sought.