Happiness Curriculum is a wonderful initiative by the Government. But, the wellness of the educators are equally important

Happiness Curriculum is a wonderful initiative by the Government. But, the wellness of the educators are equally important

Analyses Ms Sonia Bhatia, Incharge, National Victor Public School, IP Extn, Delhi

With a spring in her steps, plan in her head and a smile on her face, she enters a classroom bustling with forty young individuals. As the session gains momentum, her profile goes on becoming more inclusive with suggestions, strategies and expectations from all stakeholders. Her smile fades and voice cracks but she must deliver, for she is the Nation Builder … 

Work pressure is common to all professions and teaching is no exception. However, if the burden spills in the classroom, it affects the future of the country. Children learn more from who you are than what you say. Are the teachers, now-a-days, equipped with the necessary wherewithal to deal with all and reconcile their poise?

Sonia Bhatia is currently working as the CCA In-charge (6-12) and HOD Science Middle School with National Victor Public School, Delhi. She has taught Science, English and Life Skills to students from classes 1 to 12 in her education career  spanning  for  more than 14 years. She is the recipient of Best Teacher Award by Bhartiya Shiksha Parishad  (2016) and Trans-Yamuna Schools Federation (2010). She has won gold medal for 3 consecutive years(2016-2018) in the largest creative problem solving competition –Odyssey of the mind. Her relentless efforts have also been appreciated and honored by the eminent organisations such as UNICEF, Expressions India, Embassy of South Korea, British Council and Ministry of Environment.

Ancient culture and environment gave strength and space to the gurus to rejuvenate and lead by an example. Can the same be said about the culture in the modern day schools located amidst the concrete buildings, chaotic crowds and filled with toxic smog?

It is wonderful that the government has launched happiness curriculum as the children who are happy are known to learn better. But, what about the wellness of those who have been entrusted with the responsibility to impart it!

Capacity building programs, meditation sessions or random health check-ups thrown in here and there cannot be a substitute for a comprehensive school health and wellness policy. This would require qualitative research and investigation on the causes of stress and various occupational hazards that affect the well-being of teachers by the education departments.

Educators cannot be treated as fragments that merely fit in a role and then be expected to impart holistic education. Behaviour pattern and outlook of leaders trickles down the hierarchy and ultimately touches young lives. Hence, leaders should choose carefully, what they want to spread across the layers.

Besides framing a wellness policy, school leaders must consciously create a positive work culture—A culture where acceptance, mutual–respect and appreciation of any good effort is a norm; a culture where ample opportunities are created to learn and grow and a culture which fosters humane values and work ethics.  This would omit the need for micromanagement. A positive culture can take care of the troubling transients, raise the morale and increase the productivity of the employees.

Teachers themselves have a significant role to play in improving their wellness quotient and overhauling the school culture. How about working towards more pleasant professional relationships? After all, most active part of our lives is spent at the workplace. So why not to take care of yourself and make it worthwhile! Learn to greet, complement, appreciate and share a laugh with your colleagues. Don’t forget to switch off the teaching mode outside the class and smile; for your smile greets the future…There is no point cribbing about work pressure as it only robs you of your energy.

In the past few years there has been growing emphasis on the mental health for all. Education sector has also realised it and a lot of work is also being done in this direction. It is sincerely yearned that the policy makers will address the reasons for job dissatisfaction, psychological distress and burnout amongst the teachers and implement practical measures that promote their well-being. This can play a pivotal role in imparting the quality education which features in the list of sustainable development goals set up by the UN for a better world.

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