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What can I do to make a difference?

As a teacher, one has to wear many hats. They are involved in planning lessons, marking assignments, attending meetings and workshops, in addition to teaching classes. With a schedule so choc-a-bloc, one wonders why a teacher should even consider investing time in the emotional wellbeing of a student.

Here are two key reasons. Firstly, teachers spend a considerable amount of time with students and this gives them the advantage of observing mood changes or unusual behaviors that last longer than average. In some cases, these changes could be indicative of a deeper issue or a mental illness. By being aware of these imperceptible changes, teachers can mobilize early intervention. Secondly, emotional wellbeing impacts learning. Students who are mentally healthy are more motivated. Motivated students engage more actively with what is being taught, and as a result, demonstrate better academic performance.

When one chooses teaching as a career, one is also presented with another choice: to either be a transactional teacher or a transformational teacher.

  • Transactional teachers transmit the subject matter to the students. They plan lessons, effectively deliver them, grade assignments and get paid in return for all their services.  

  • Transformational teachers on the other hand, go beyond. They listen, guide, motivate and assist their students. They invest time in getting to know their students and encourage them to become reflective, independent thinkers. Transformational teachers may not get rewarded monetarily for their efforts but they do earn a priceless income—a strong sense of satisfaction. Needless to say, it is this transformational teacher that we talk fondly of at the college reunion many years down the line.

You can make a difference by choosing to be a transformational teacher, a teacher who cares.