Ways where Teachers Support the Mental Health of Students

8 ways teachers can support students’ mental health as they return to school

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The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns have impacted students around the world by keeping them away from their peers, reducing physical activity, and making them miss key aspects of their growing up. This affects their mental health. 

What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act and determines how we deal with stress, make choices, and interact with others.

Is mental health important for students?

Most of us spend most of our youth in educational institutions. As such, the people we meet, the things we observe, and the behaviours we experience can influence our development. This includes:

  • Improve learning ability
  • Positive social behaviour
  • Increasing productivity
  • Developing creativity
  • Development of better physical health
  • Life expectancy

Here are different ways through which teachers can support the mentail health of the students.

Teachers and personal peers are critical in supporting children’s transition to in-person classroom learning, especially after the extended closure of schools.

1. Listen to the children’s concerns:

As a teacher, it is important to listen and empathize with students’ concerns. Give students a chance to talk one-on-one with the teacher so they can reconnect and discuss anything. If children share something that is of concern, contact the concerned persons who can take action.

2. Check the children’s wellbeing:

Before initiating academia, teachers and school officials should take time to assess the child’s mental well-being. Teachers must realize that children may have difficulty concentrating initially and may need sufficient time to acclimatize into a schooling routine. Teachers have to provide children with the opportunity to relax, move around, and reconnect with friends and peers.

Also Read: 5 Mental Health Tips For School Leaders

 

3. Seek children for suggestions:

Teachers will have to involve children in making the classroom a safe, secure, and comfortable place. For instance, students’ suggestions can be sought to help decorate the classroom walls with colorful and positive messages.

The students can be grouped into small teams to support each other in their learning. Teachers can appreciate children for their efforts. Teachers can nurture their feeling of safety and security by interacting and developing positive relationships with each student.

4. Observe children’s behaviour that interferes with their ability to explore, play and learn:

Teachers must be attentive to changes in their student’s behaviour. If significant changes that interfere with their ability to work or play are noticed, they seek additional support and guidance. However, if the teacher feels that the student needs professional help, then the teacher should seek additional support and contact related professionals. If the child is struggling to study or concentrate, give additional support, or go at a slower pace.

Also Read: 5 Resources to Support Mental Health of Teachers and School Staff

5. Encourage sports to promote bonding/team building amongst students:

When children return to school, make sure they have plenty of opportunities to connect, play, and interact with their peers whom they have missed during the pandemic through school safety protocols. This is the place where they learn team coordination and communication.

6. Build meaningful connections with students:

Teachers are role models for their students. Children will always look up to and learn from the skills teachers use daily to deal with their stressful situations. Teachers should be caring, honest, and calm and demonstrate a positive attitude toward children. Students want to be noticed and heard. Plan to connect with your students and their families at the start of the academic year.

7. Engage student voices:

We have seen that children know what they want and what works better for them. Be mindful of going beyond those students who have already established leadership skills. Pick the students who do not typically volunteer to create spaces for children to share what they need.

8. Provide accurate information to children about COVID-19:

As children return to school, they may have various thoughts and questions about the pandemic. The teachers are required to give them information. The protocols set by the schools should be in line with standards laid down by appropriate authorities. Teachers should continuously remind children about safety protocols at school, including measures to be taken if they are exposed to COVID-19 on the school premises.

Being a teacher can be an extremely stressful profession. The teachers should themselves ensure good personal physical and mental health.

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