Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Fernando: Teachers’ health


LAST month, a young teacher in Leyte committed suicide, accordingly, “to do away with the many paper works” in school she had to deal with. A co-teacher had to take a leave of absence because of recurrent headaches. If there is one thing teachers need to bear in mind aside from the gigantic stack of works and tasks to do in school, it has to be health.

Teachers face a lot of stress in their work today. All kinds of work certainly give stress but teaching I believe belongs to a different level. It is far different so I often think teachers live in a different sphere. School, education, management, administration, and students are the key personalities in this world.

Sometimes, these concerns are more than enough not to delve with what’s happening outside. They face multitude of students daily while a pile of paper works awaits them on their desks. They have hundreds of students to answer for and administrative heads to answer to. When you have a lot of people to consider, tendency is teachers forget they have a “self” to care for. When they forget to take care of themselves, they forget to think and eat right.

I know many teachers today especially those in public schools who take regular medications. I know many who are consistent visitors of the hospitals. My prayer is with them. The truth is, we have a different generations of students today and its teachers who are adjusting to this change.

Students are not only the main source of stress here. Parents’ attitude and strict administrators often contribute to the difficulties of teachers. They also have their own concerns at home. Teacher must not only teach, they have to teach well. This is just one facet of the job.

As advertisers often say, there’s more. There is a lot more. Teachers manage classrooms, class, and students. People also set an expectation on how teachers, being educators of knowledge and character, live.

The problem is that teachers who are at the prime of their health do not always comprehend the toxicity associated with their job. When feeling sick, they believe it can go away immediately. They tend to care less thinking that it will soon fade away.

Perhaps it is high time for the government through the Department of Education to strengthen the wellness programs for teachers. It does not matter if teachers complain about these programs as long as they help them maintain good health or revive the health that they once have.

There are different exercise routines that teachers can do to take care of their health. I have co-teachers who visit the athletic bowl early to jog or brisk walk. One teacher says jogging or brisk walking regulates the nervous system of the body. I am not familiar how it literally regulates the bodily system but it is one best way to keep nervous breakdown away.

Baguio is good place to jog or walk. There are lots of park here, the Athletic bowl is in the heart of the city, and there are many sidewalks here that are best for jogging and brisk walking. Many of the roads are also uphill so just a plain walk to an uphill street like the session road can be a good exercise. But of course, one needs to avoid the countless restaurants there tempting you to make a sudden turn to sit and sip.

Teachers dream to discover some features of life after retiring but it is sad that many teachers retiring today stay at their homes because of sickness. Many are forced to retire because of illnesses. We know they can’t all be blamed. It was not all self-abuse. Many got sick because of too much dedication to their work. That is why the government, in showing love and appreciation to the teachers, must do its part. Give teachers reasons to smile to ease their stress. Perhaps they can lessen paper works so that they can find time to breathe air outside the faculty and the classroom or even raise their salary to remind them that teaching is not all sacrifice and self-giving.

Teaching is almost always associated with stress. As a result many experience burnout and sickness. Others who cannot process them properly commit suicide. Teachers are encouraged to take care of their health. We know we can never be rich financially in teaching but at least we should have wealth in health. Teachers cannot solve all problems in school and they must not beat themselves if they fail to do some of their tasks.

Teachers are humans and humans get sick. They die too and many teachers die in sad state because they fail to give themselves a break. If there are too much stress in school, hit the gym, walk the oval, travel the roads because if not teachers will surely hit rock bottom.


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