Guest Post #6

Are you alright?

This is the most important question I ever ask a student. Some days I could see a student who looks sad, or worried, or fed up, or stressed. I always ask 'Are you alright? If the student wants to talk, I'll make myself available to them, if not I let them go but I will always ask one of the school counsellors to check in on them later. 

Talking is important. Most teachers I know would be happy to talk with a student and afterall school is where students spend up to 7 hours of their days so it makes sense to find a teacher that you feel comfortable talking to. If a student chooses me to talk over their problems with, great, if not there are always other teachers, tutors, year heads and counsellors. As the old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved, and often that half gets reduced even more when you verbalise your thoughts. Talking helps us to express feelings we never expressed before and this can help us find what to do, heaaring us speak our problems helps us find our own solution so to speak.

Talking is even more important when you have mental health issues. If a student talks to me I know when their problems are beyond my capability to solve and I suggest they see one of the school counsellors who are more able to help. While we are happy to listen, a teacher's area of expertise is in their classroom afterall and a counsellor's area of expertise is in the welfare of our students. So don't feel rejected if your friendly teacher suggests you talk to someone else.

I know this system works. I've been teaching for 32 years and have been a shoulder to cry on, or a listening ear, to many students. I also have seen the whole system come together to help students reach a positive outcome. Isn't that what is most important?

Talking gives people an opportunity to tell their story, and, in the telling, they find relief and an easing of their emotions. So find a friendly teacher and take the opportunity to talk - you'll feel so much better.

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