Is counselling to relieve teacher stress more than an ‘educated guess’ at a solution?
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Is counselling to relieve teacher stress more than an ‘educated guess’ at a solution?

When it comes to stressful professions there are few that can equal the demands of teaching. The latest results from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) shows there were double the number of work-related stress cases in teachers related to other professions (2,460 per 100,000 v 1,230 per 100,000 elsewhere).

This stress can be triggered from any number of factors, including lack of managerial support and tight deadlines, and, with 75% of ex-teachers identifying it as the reason they left the profession, it is a major issue for a profession struggling to recruit fresh talent.

Left with little to no budget to hire additional support, a job that demands multiple levels of interaction every day and workloads that seem to increase with every new government initiative, it seems that chances for the average teacher to de-stress are non-existent.

For those tempted to hit the internet, print off a ‘top ten relaxation techniques’ sheet to stick in the staffroom and think job done, take note – this is barely scratching the surface.

Counselling is increasingly seen as a solution which goes some way to fixing this problem, helping teachers to reconnect with what ignited their passion to enter the profession in the first place.

Couple this with a way of finding solutions and ways to handle uncomfortable issues their pupils or fellow colleagues could be facing, as well as saving time and money on unnecessary sick leave and the benefits of counselling soon start to become obvious.

So far, so good then. However, is counselling being given a fair shot?

Holistic support is not a quick fix solution, and without a solid commitment (including finance and time) from those involved cycles of stress will continue, especially when other commitments start pressing on teacher’s time or results take longer than expected.

The average teacher deals with being a teacher, specialising in a subject area, expectations to make maximum progress with every child, being a role model, offering pastoral support and being a behaviour management specialist, as well as the daily roll call of emails, marking and planning, alongside preparation for parent’s evenings and open nights.

Faced with so many demands, counselling solutions can fall flat (or those involved can simply give up).

Providing counselling as a solution to stress is much more than an educated guess…however, without proper encouragement, structure and support, it will never make the grade.

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