Teachers’ stress tells on students | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Teachers’ stress tells on students

Anjali Thakur (32) is a primary school teacher and works 13 hours a day. After sending her own children to school and wrapping up household chores she leaves for work, where she has to deal with the demands of 35 students.

mumbai Updated: Oct 24, 2009 01:31 IST
Serena Menon

Anjali Thakur (32) is a primary school teacher and works 13 hours a day. After sending her own children to school and wrapping up household chores she leaves for work, where she has to deal with the demands of 35 students.

Amidst work pressure, when a 12-year-old student asks her to explain a science concept again, she loses her temper. The student, embarrassed at the scolding, shudders at the thought of ever asking another question.

Teachers’ inability to balance work and home pressures seems to be a reason responsible for the increase in cases of stress, depression and suicidal tendencies among school students, found a year-long survey conducted by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

The survey studied the personal and professional lives of 100 primary school teachers from 30 aided schools in Mumbai and Thane to examine levels of emotional intelligence. Sixty-seven per cent of the teachers were unable to strike a balance between their professional and personal lives and became irrational in class without realising it, said Arundhati Chavan, chairperson of PTA and principal of the Swayam Siddhi B.Ed College.

The PTA, that has members from over 160 schools, works towards ensuring better communication between managements and the parents. Its study also found that 30 per cent of the teachers lacked empathy. According to psychiatrist Harish Shetty, empathy is about accepting a student as he is. “At a stage where a students can be affected for life, a teacher cannot do without empathy,” said Shetty, a panel member of the PTA survey.

Shetty pointed out that there has been a 500 per cent jump in cases of depression among the youth over the last 10 years. Shuttling between school and tuitions, students often lack time to relieve stress, which bottles up and causes a breakdown.

“Parents too add to the stress because we want them to perform,” said Seema Parekh (35) a parent and a child counsellor. “Teachers often get vindictive on petty issues, which is totally uncalled for,” she added.

In an attempt to improve levels of empathy among teachers, Chavan plans to organize workshops in B.Ed colleges. “This is a serious problem and needs to be addressed at the teachers’ training level,” she said.