A Conversation on Pan-Canadian Teacher Mental Health During COVID-19

book in front of bookshelf

As a regular podcast listener, I very much enjoyed Julieanne Mawako’s interview with Dr. Pamela Rogers and Nichole Grant where they discussed the Canadian Teachers’ Federation’s (CTF/FCE) latest pandemic research report. The report focused on mental health and well-being of teachers and education workers from across Canada, and the results were unexpectedly quite uniform from the 2300 participants. Educators around the country  experienced stress due to losing the classroom as a physical space, protocols making it nearly impossible to maintain relationships with students and colleagues, and the constantly changing learning environment from in-person to on-line to hybrid. They found these and other COVID-19 related changes to the learning environment to be significantly deteriorating to the mental health and well-being of all education workers who took part in the study. Other factors, such as the education worker’s complex and entangled private/professional life balance and the erosion of that balance was exacerbated during COVID-19. It was also found that education workers often felt at the center of social-political-economic decisions where they were neither consulted or listened to but which they were expected to support. The report not only identified what has impacted education workers’ mental health and well-being but it also identified that some employer solutions, though well intentioned, did not meet educators’ needs. For example, their findings showed that “add-in/stir-in” solutions don’t work because the culture and systems affecting well-being were not being addressed. A broader interconnected “ecological view” of mental health and well-being was needed to have an impact. The interview concludes with a few words from Sam Hammond, President of CTF/FCE, who stresses the need for federal support for all K-12 public education systems and a need to support and strengthen public education in general. The podcast left me wanting more and I was happy to find the report and the related infographics on the CTF/FCE website.

About Carlo Fusco
Carlo Fusco is a teacher in District 24, Waterloo.

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