• Adrian Lapadat

4 things that harm teacher's mental health, and what you can do about it.

Mental health matters. Students matter. Teachers matter.

High stress means you’re more likely to develop a mental illness, and it certainly makes it harder to live and work with a mental illness.

Here are 4 ways our current system exacerbates teacher stress and mental illness.

1. Public schools in the United States are funded by local revenues.
  1. If you live in a wealthy community, those revenues are higher, so public schools get more resources. If you live in a poor community, there isn’t as much money to fund schools. (2, 3)

2. Poor students need more resources than wealthier students. Despite this reality, wealthier students in wealthier schools receive more resources. (1)
  1. This means teachers in poor areas must work even harder to provide an adequate education.

3. Teachers in poor areas tend to be less well-educated, which makes it harder for them to rise to the challenges of these environments.

4. Poverty doesn’t make teachers quit. Poor working conditions do.

  1. “Teaching is a difficult job, and working conditions are a strong predictor of teacher turnover—more so than other factors like teaching in a high-poverty school. Studies have shown that teachers in high-poverty schools with good, supportive working conditions are likely to stay.” (1)

By funding schools in poor neighborhoods equitably, we will safeguard the mental health of teachers, the success of our students, and secure a bright future for all Americans.

The future under our current system lies dim.

We must lobby our politicians from the grassroots. Call them. Mail them. Join organizations that can direct you more effectively. Our strength is in numbers; thereby, our victory is assured.

  1. “2017_eqwl_survey_web.Pdf.” Accessed August 9, 2021. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d30f5468f2df10001eae004/t/5ddf2dba305b2260c9763c15/1574907324698/2017_eqwl_survey_web.pdf. Note: A 2017 report by the Badass Teachers Association (BAT) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT), citing a 2017 article from the Harvard Education Press. (4)

  2. Darling-Hammond, Linda. “Investing for Student Success: Lessons from State School Finance Reforms.” Learning Policy Institute, 2019. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/investing-student-success-school-finance-reforms-report.

  3. Darling-Hammond, Linda. “Investing for Student Success: Lessons From State School Finance Reforms,” 2019.

  4. Papay, J. P., and M.K. Kraft. “Developing Workplaces Where Teachers Stay, Improve, and Succeed.” In Teaching in Context: How Social Aspects of School and School Systems Shape Teachers’ Development & Effectiveness, 15–35. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press, 2017. http://hepg.org/hep-home/books/teaching-in-context.