Watch out for high stress levels

The New Paper

Stress could have been a contributing factor in the teacher's alleged actions against her pupils.

Accumulated stress can take over and control the actions of a person, said psychologist Daniel Koh of Insights Mind Centre.

He told The New Paper yesterday: "A stressed person tends to become irrational when her impulse controls are overridden by stress." He pointed out that teachers are constantly on high alert in class, and this can cause their stress to accumulate.

Stressed teachers can also be sensitive to external triggers, such as noise or misbehaviour by students.

WARNING SIGN

Mr Koh said that school administrators must be aware when teachers become stressed - and the best way is to know the teachers' normal behaviour so that any sudden change will be a warning sign.

Retired teacher Ho Kong Loon, 69, told TNP that teachers nowadays do not just have to cope with their teaching duties, they also have other responsibilities such as managing co-curricular activities and attending meetings.

He said the principal and relevant authorities should meet the teacher in question and listen to what she has to say about her actions.

Mr Ho, who had 40 years of teaching experience, added: "If there is a pattern (of abuse), then there should be counselling of the teacher or probation of six months if it is more serious."

Mrs Marietta Koh, a curriculum development consultant in her late 40s, said: "Teachers have to learn to pace themselves in order not to burn out.

"They have to restrain themselves from 'sweating the small stuff' and to prioritise instead."

lowzlc@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on July 16, 2016.
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