Being a teacher is not always about educating young people. As a teacher, you will have a unique relationship with your class and can sometimes be the one person that a student turns to for emotional support if they are struggling.
Mental health and wellbeing are much more prevalent in the mainstream nowadays; it’s refreshing to see intervention being implemented at an earlier age. What I mean by that is mental health doesn’t just affect teenagers and adults, but it impacts the younger generation too. There are already several coping strategies in place and education should be no different. Just remember it’s alright to discuss feelings, speaking to someone personally or professionally really can make all the difference!
It may be difficult to notice when a student needs help, so it is a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and take note of some simple techniques to help support those who may need someone to talk to. You can take steps to recognise mental health issues within your classroom and educate yourself on how to approach these situations. This will ensure that the children have a safe environment and will feel comfortable confiding in you.
You may notice that a student is acting differently and it is starting to affect their learning. Some signs to look out for could be:
- constantly thinking or talking about their problem/s
- acting and being very out of character (for example, a quiet person becoming loud and wild or an outgoing person becoming quiet)
- changes in mood/unexpected outbursts of emotion
- feeling/looking tired
- unable to focus
- changes to eating habits
- avoiding friends and social events that they would normally be part of
If you have concerns for the welfare of a child, there are a few ways in which you can approach the subject:
- Listen - It is important that students feel they can express their concerns without fear of judgement or unfair treatment. If this means simply listening to their issues, that may be all they need.
- Offer help – without enforcing help that they may not want, you can make them aware of counselling/support services that are available to them.
- Seek advice - If the issue is more serious than you originally thought, you may need to make the student aware that you cannot keep it confidential and the details may need to be passed on to a higher authority.
For more information about our Team-Teach courses please contact your local branch!