“TM has made me a better teacher. It doesn’t matter what I’m teaching. It all requires huge creativity, energy and enthusiasm. And you have to love kids. I have so much love in my heart each day that I come to school and I know it’s because I’m refuelling myself daily through TM.”
—Rhonda Day, BA, BEd
Teachers: Overcoming Job Burnout
Teachers work in increasingly complex work environments demanding a high degree of flexibility, oversight and skill. Compassion for individual students, responsibility for student learning, dedication and stamina are required along with technical knowledge. Inclusive classrooms bring considerable pressure in terms of students with special needs, while student-teacher ratios remain an issue. Curriculum requirements continue to shift and grow, while time to plan and prepare for the teaching day is impacted by increased administrative work, and mandated extra-curricular activities with students. Learning technologies often do not meet the needs of the classroom.
A study published in 2005 looked at the psychological well-being, physical health and job satisfaction of a number of professions and concluded that teaching is one of the most stressful jobs in the world (Journal of Managerial Psychology, 20(2), 178-187). In Canada, there has been a significant increase in recent years of teachers’ workload and classroom size leading to higher levels of stress. A recent study done in British Columbia also indicates that increasing mental health issues with students has contributed to teacher burnout (Social Science & Medicine, 159, June 2016, 30-37).
As a result of heavy workloads, challenges with ever-growing classroom size and the high expectations and increasing demands on teachers, many leave the profession within 5 years.
The effects of teacher burnout include:
- Increased physical and emotional symptoms;
- Increased absenteeism;
- Compassion fatigue;
- Increased errors in decision making and routine tasks;
- Decreased quality of student learning;
- Increased cost to institutions.
The Transcendental Meditation technique is a useful tool in any initiative to combat physical and psychological stress. TM has been shown to significantly lower stress, and to help the body and mind recover more quickly from stressful situations. Beyond remediation of the physical and mental symptoms of stress, TM can strengthen and calm the nervous system on a daily basis to bring increased alertness, focus under pressure, and clearer decision making to the working day.
Both the psychological and physical stress involved in the work of teachers can be mitigated through regular practice of TM.
Transcendental Meditation is:
- Evidence-based—over 675 scientific studies; 406 have been published in independent, peer-reviewed journals or other edited scientific publications;
- Simple to learn—standardized instruction ensures consistent results;
- Easy to practise—does not involve concentration or controlling the mind;
- Confidential and portable—can be practised privately, anywhere, at any time.
Benefits of the regular practice of the TM technique include:
- Reduced symptoms of PTSD and depression;
- Reduced anger and hostility;
- Decreased reliance on alcohol;
- Reduction in high blood pressure;
- Reduction in high cortisol levels;
- Increased resilience;
- Decreased perceived stress.