One of the major reasons I wanted to be a part of the ILT program is because I want to be involved in ways that help make the lives of teachers easier while still allowing them to teach passionately and with fidelity.
Recently, I read an article that one of my colleagues posted on Facebook titled “Nearly Half of Teachers Struggling with Mental Health, Studies Suggest” and I found it very interesting. The study mentioned was actually held in Scotland, I think it reflects an international crisis that nobody is really looking at deeply. Especially in America, where so many are ready to point out that the education system is failing, we should be looking at helping to improve the quality of lives and work environment for the core of the education system: teachers. I realize that teachers are the professionals, but that does not mean that they should be given all of the blame and pressure to succeed.
I truly believe that the general public has no idea what kind of stress teaching has on people who have to be “on” and directly responsible for other people’s success all day long, while having usually less than an hour at a time (an hour and a half at most) to plan and complete paperwork (grading, data reflection, IEPs/ELL documentation), are constantly old they’re ineffective, all the while feeling guilty that they are not doing enough for their students.
I think we need to start focusing on how we can POSITIVELY change the education system beginning with teacher morale. We need to help teachers feel more valued, not set them up to fail, by giving them respect and more time to reflect on and plan effective instruction throughout the day. This may require hiring more teachers, or at the very least increasing teacher wages to do the work that they do.