Need to protect emotional, psychological health of teachers: Experts

Students in an open air classroom during COVID-19 pandemic.
[Image used for representational purpose only]
Students in an open air classroom during COVID-19 pandemic. [Image used for representational purpose only]File: Mubashir Khan/GK

Baramulla: There is a need to protect the emotional and psychological health of the teachers in the interest of students as they had suffered a lot during the Covid-19 pandemic, experts said Wednesday.

Aarifeen School of Excellence Baramulla in collaboration with the child guidance and wellbeing centre, Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Kashmir organised a webinar on ‘Stress Management Among Teachers’.

On the occasion, Waseem Rashid Kakroo, child and adolescent mental health counsellor discussed how Covid-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of the teachers and how the teachers could deal with the situation in a proper way.

“The job of teachers was stressful even before the pandemic but with the closure of schools, long online working hours, struggle to engage students remotely has made this job even more stressful,” said Waseem Rashid.

Rashid, the main resource person, said that a recent study done in September 2020 has pointed out that during lockdown, teachers had suffered stress from having to adapt in a record time to provide online classes.

This stress has often been accompanied by symptoms of anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance as a consequence of the increased workload resulting from home teaching.

“A study carried out in three cities in China during the early months of the pandemic assessed the prevalence of anxiety among the teachers and found a prevalence of 13.67 percent with women being more anxious than men and the older ones being more symptomatic. Another study conducted in March 2020, also in China, showed that the prevalence of stress symptoms in teachers was 9.1 percent and that it was important to support them psychologically,” he said.

A study in 2018 found that working from home using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) such as Zoom and Google Meet could create feelings of tension, anxiety, exhaustion, and decreased job satisfaction, and in times of a pandemic these were the only tools that were available to the teachers.

“It is important to protect the emotional and psychological health of teachers since teacher-student relationships are also stressors for the student, and the teacher’s behaviour predicts the emotional well-being and commitment of the students which are also important factors for reducing their stress levels,” he said.

Kakroo advised the teachers to stay healthy and active by engaging in any physical activity for around 30 minutes on a daily basis.

“Stay away from rumours and misinformation about Covid-19 breakout, check facts, improve your sleep, be grateful and realistic, try relaxation activities and do physical activities on a daily basis. These things will help you a lot in reducing the stress level,” Waseem said.

A question answer session was held at the end of the webinar wherein the audience posed several questions to the resource person.

Sandra Mak, Coordinator Aarifeen School of Excellence thanked the guest speaker for the informative session and staffers for participating in the webinar and assured that such programmes would be held in the near future also for the betterment of ASE staffers.

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