School is one place that is supposed to be every child’s safe haven. Many children these days suffer from mental pressures from a very early age. This could be due to several reasons like-
- working parents not able to give enough time to their kids
- performance pressure and competition among siblings or friends
- improper lifestyle
- ignorant guardians or teachers
- compressed family
- less social interaction with peers
These above mentioned reasons are just the tip of the iceberg, whereas the actual problem is much worse. Children are often seen or observed complaining about their traumas they’ve suffered, and this problem becomes more difficult when the child is quiet about their problems. The parents or the school is unable to recognize this issue resulting in increased rates of teenage suicides.
When it comes to safety and security of the children, it is an absolute responsibility of the school to ensure the required measurements to make the kids feel safe in the campus and comfortable in sharing their problems outside as well. The need for a professional student counselor becomes crucial here. They are given one job to do- to monitor the mental health of the students.
But it is not just the counselor’s job; it is the duty of the entire school staff and most importantly, the teachers. Teachers are the first contact the student makes and indubitably the most trusted one. Exercising simple, reassuring smiling gestures and” how have you been?” and other general talks with the students when you see each other in the hall would go a long way. The children need to feel safe and comfortable and happy when they are in school because when they know they can trust you, they will do great in academics. You cannot just expect them to do a science assessment while they are down with energy because of something that might have happened at home or in the school that disturbed their mental peace. The teacher has to always be empathetic towards their students. You have to be their friend first, and only then they would allow you to be their mentor. Building positive and strong friendships in the school with teachers and other students is imperative.
Implementing positive thoughts, posters, language and some songs too in daily conversations with the children will make them feel empowered. This empowerment ensures them that they are entitled for a successful life or at least gives them the confidence to win the day first and the rest of the life can be sorted later as well. The child feels positive when they know that someone in the school is excited to meet them or is waiting for them. Even the famous schools in Dehradun, like Ecole Globale International School, do there best to maintain the positivity in the environment they have created for the students.
Another approach that could be used is to decorate or redecorate the classrooms with calming colors and upbeat posters or room fresheners- using room diffuses induces relaxing sensations in the body. The positivity that colors bring in is more effective than any other powerful tool one might think of. Allowing your students that they are humans and are allowed setbacks make them feel confident about themselves. This confidence is what keeps the trauma at bay or gives them a fighting chance to acknowledge their mental health and resolve any issues with the help of their teachers.
We all realize that you can’t help other people until you help yourself. In some cases, this activity of keeping a check on every student is hard; this activity is debilitating. Some of the times you- as a teacher, simply need a moment to breathe. You can comfort other teachers by helping or by asking help for yourself, “hello would you be able to cover my class”, or “would you be able to allow me a second so that I can resume my class” etc. What’s more, everyone will happily cover each other while taking care of the teacher’s mental health as well. You, some of the time, need to request for help. Also, it’s alright, and it’s promoted in every school that believes in making their school a safe place for their students.