As A School Teacher, Here’s Why I Feel My Mental Health Is At Stake

With remote working being the new norm in a lot of places, including the education industry, it is easy to assume that trainers are available 24x7, which makes it hard for working women especially.

Are you someone who believes in discipline and work ethics? Or do you want to indulge yourself in a newly created work environment?

Working from home has been a new phenomenon since the pandemic began, and to some extent, it helps you work from your comfort zone. At the same time, however, it could be equally destructive to your mental health.

Let me explain exactly, to highlight the issue I will discuss in this post.

When classrooms are virtual, hours spill over to our personal time

I left my full-time school teaching job around five years ago. Being a freelance language trainer still allowed me to get in touch with many of my old students. There have been times when students have asked for my attention, to get their doubts clarified at odd hours. By odd hours, I specifically mean the time that is “mine” for my family and children.

As adults, we consciously try to guide kids to detach themselves from screens such as computers and mobile phones. Students don’t seem to understand the importance of this, as they schedule classes or clarify their doubts late in the night, sometimes even at 11 PM.

I am not denying the fact that a teacher must be on her toes beyond working hours sometimes, but such things have an impact on our personal lives. The mental health of trainers like me is at stake.

Overworking is celebrated and marketed as dedication

Even after schools have reopened, our management continues to make us work 24×7 as they used to do during Covid times. Studies have shown the repercussions of the same, such as a decline in our mental health due to the lack of a break from phones and technology. Working at odd hours has also made us lose the personal time that we should be using to focus on ourselves.

I was stunned yesterday by an advertisement that popped up while my mother was watching television. It was of the very famous brand Byju’s – claiming to be one of the best educators in the industry. The ad shows a teacher taking her phone to respond to the query of a student even as she cooks in the kitchen. This shows how our work culture has evolved from the times when punctuality was appreciated. Now it is no longer enough, and educators are expected to stretch their working hours beyond the classroom.

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I know that people voluntarily register on such websites to earn extra pennies. I also understand that dedication from employees is a desirable quality. Yet what bothers me is that marketing is making brands like Byju’s show a toxic work culture just to draw our attention.

The impact of constant availability on our children

Children are nowadays dependent on others for the tiniest things. Their decision-making power seems to be getting worse by the day. If you give them access to us to clear their doubts at any time of the day, will they have the chance to think?

In our times, we had to be patient enough regarding things in our life like the quote from Kabirdas “Sahaj pakke to meetha hoye” (The fruit that ripens on its own on the tree is the sweetest). But in current times, patience is declining, and “Right here, right now” seems to be the new mantra.

With remote working being the new norm in a lot of places, including the education industry, it is easy to assume that trainers are available 24×7. But such an attitude is not just toxic to educators, but also inhibits the important skills like patience and critical thinking that our children must learn to develop. Let us not normalize the culture of constant availability.

Published here first.

Image source: a still from the film Chalk & Duster

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About the Author

Geetika K. Bakshi

A passionate scribbler and wishful bread earner. A working professional in an embassy and a freelancer French language trainer. A voracious reader and loves to connect readers and writers. Author of Ibiza by Geetika Kaura ( read more...

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