I just randomly wrote an abstract for (another) conference in 2013. Would YOU give me the green light?
‘Managing the Emotional Demands of Working in the Education’
Teaching: the profession that makes all other professions possible. It can be such a highly stimulating profession, so very rewarding and enjoyable but as a result of rapid and unprecedented societal evolution, the role of working in schools is becoming increasingly complex.
It’s an inherently emotionally laden profession, teaching. As staff based in schools, we spend many of our waking hours either preparing for or being face to face with our students, attending to all manner of situations and circumstances while adhering to the rigorous agenda of creating stimulating learning environments in order to implement the curriculum required. With this focus on curriculum and the wellbeing of our learners, there’s little attention given to the OH&S issue of staff psychological wellbeing.
The notion of burnout often manifests in situations that are emotionally demanding. It is three dimensional in nature and is characterized by co-existing exhaustion, emotional numbness (or compassion fatigue) and a sense of reduced accomplishment. Burnout tends to builds up over time and can leave those experiencing it feeling jaded to the extent that they may leave the profession altogether.
Vicarious trauma tends to result from single isolated incidents. This secondary kind of trauma comes from hearing about another’s traumas and can result in the same automatic nervous system response as the person who experienced it in the first instance.
As the psychological effects of burnout and vicarious trauma can be significant, and in order for school based staff to work at their highest capacity, more focus needs to be given to educating teachers about the potential risks that are associated with working with young people. Without this awareness, the incidence of those taking stress leave and leaving the profession altogether will continue to increase, a situation of further detriment to the students in the schools of today.