It has always been said that teaching is a noble profession. It is one of the earliest professions introduced in this country in the arrival of Europeans. The teacher is a member of a larger society. The teacher’s mental health plays an important role in the teaching or learning process. A teacher that is not of sound mind may do incalculable harm to the nation in terms of poor guidance to the students. He cannot do justice to his job. His personality would be negatively affected by his maladjustment of the children put under his charge.
Teaching as a profession is clean and free from corrupt practices in comparison to other professions. The teacher remains in contact with the youth and their constant company keeps him mentally alive and physically alert. Ad teaching involves a wide range of activities, the variation in activities eliminates boredom and releases tension.
Teaching provides opportunities to meet professional workers. Teachers can discuss their academic problems and devise means to solve them. Teachers can discuss their academic problems and devise means to solve them. They can also plan for their professional growth and professional achievement throughout their teaching career. A devoted and conscientious teacher gets personal satisfaction from teaching. Hme feels satisfied after teaching a class because he feels that he has done something concrete to the nation.
Teaching’s greatest advantage his in the fact that it provides the teacher with the opportunity to move with time. The teacher remains in touch with recent researches in his field of specialization. It is only sad and indeed disheartening to note today that teaching has been regulated to the bottom among all professions in our country. In our country today, teaching is accepted as a profession not because an individual is interested in teaching but because he could not gent entry in other profession. Young men and women have ambitions of entering in administrative and executive posts irrespective of their personal competencies, but on their being rejected from these jobs, they accept teaching as a last resort to earn their livelihood. In our country most of the teachers lack professional oaptitude and devotion to their profession. Teaching is also faced with the following frustrating conditions:
- Teachers are faced with frequent criticisms from the public. We often read in the frequent criticisms from the public. We often read in the newspapers that teachers do not work,and that education is useless. Even the known never-do wells in the society join the good ones in such criticisms.
- Several types of restrictions are imposed on teachers. Teachers are often subjected oto restrictions concerning clothing, food, religious affiliations and participation in politics. Private institutions in our country are mostly run by politicians who in time of elections employ the services of teachers for canvassing and clerical work. Every time a dignitary comes, jthe teachers and the students are ordered to welcome him.
Lips sympathy is only seen to be given by all leaders and educationists to the importance of teachers. All agree that they are builders of future nation. The slogan sounds very sweet to the ears, but what is the importance of the teacher in the eyes of the society? In spite of the high cost of living, the salaries of teachers have not been increased in that profession. The society expects that a teacher should be a saint. The teacher must present a model of his ideal behavior before the student for imitation. But in actual practice, how many students imitate or identify with the model or ideals of the teacher? In our schools, load of work is too much. The teacher has to teach seven out of eight periods in a day. This excessive work develops emotional tensions and mental fatigue which if continued for a long period, leads to anxiety.
The teachers lack recreational facilities in school. Some administrators are autocrats. They behave in official manner and impose their orders on teachers. Teachers are unjustly accused, maltreated and sometimes dismissed because they do not flatter the authorities or resent against malpractices and injustice of the authorities.
Many of our schools today lack educational facilities. Most not having science laboratories and those that have cannot get equipment. There are also no libraries and audio visual aids. Principals are not given appreciable money for running the schools. The meager salaries of teachers are paid almost fifteen days after the month end. All these cause frustrations in the minds of teachers and make them feel alienated from the teaching job. It has even gotten to the point that teachers now decline marrying their fellow teachers.
The suggested ways of improving the teacher’s mental health are:
- Goodwill should first be created among members of the teaching staff. Frequent meetings should be held to discuss the problems so that there would be a clarification of any misunderstanding created between members of staff.
- Principal should listen to the problems of teachers in free and frank environment.
- Unnecessary restrictions should not be imposed on teachers because they create tension in the minds of the teachers.
- The principal should take major decisions by holding discussions with the members of staff. He should not impose his decision on the staff in an authoritarian way.
- The principal should not be partial; he should avoid favouring any member of staff on the basis of caste and creed.
- The principal can discuss school problems with the staff in teachers’ club meeting. Teachers’ club should be established in every institution to bring the teachers close to each other. The principal should respect all teachers. He can support the teachers when they need help. He should not form cliques of teachers on the policy of “divide and rule.” He should not create pets because other teachers would resent this attitude.
- If the principal has to correct any teacher regarding his method of teaching or behavior he should call the teacher in private. No teacher should be criticized before the students and colleagues.
- The principal should not be rigid, traditional or conservative in his thinking and ways of dealing with teachers’ problems. He should change his strategy with the time. He should evaluate his own role as an administrator. He should set up an example.
- The principal should plan in advance: Everything should be planned in the beginning of the academic year and should be communicated in advance to teachers for execution. Team spirit should be encouraged and the principal should work as a true leader of the team.
- In service Programs should be arranged for teachers to refresh their knowledge of the methods of teaching. The principal should make arrangement for good library facility and teaching material.
- Payment of teachers’ salaries should be made regular and promptly.
It needs be pointed out that however, that in spite of the above mentioned frustrating conditions that teachers are faced with, they are still able to work. Teachers do not go on strike as often as many other workers do. Teachers account for the highest number of working professionals. They are contented set of people. People often say that the reward of a teacher is in heaven; but this is very unfair. Teachers should reap their reward here on earth like other workers too. It is only when the society accords teachers the respect, regard and esteem they deserve, that teaching would be seen as an end in itself. As things are now, teaching is only seen as a means to an end or as a stepping stone to better things by people and the earlier the impression is corrected, the better it would be for our country
Linda Darling-Hammond., Gary Skyes., Teaching as the learning profession: Handbook of policy and practice.