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We Need to Talk About Teachers’ Mental Health

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

First published in The Jakarta Post (10/7/21).

Ever since schools have had to close down, Ibu Tersih has had to spend five more extra hours every day teaching online and preparing her teaching materials. She had been really looking forward to seeing some of her students in person again in the coming school semester but the imposition of the emergency public activity restrictions (PPKM Darurat) has now made her realize that things were not really going to return to normal anytime soon. She closed her laptop and sighed, “when will this end?”

In normal times, Indonesian teachers have already been reporting extreme stress as a result of work overload, poor working conditions and having to keep up with policy changes. The pandemic only exacerbated the situation further.

For teachers, the transition to online teaching has introduced additional mental pressures as they were expected to adapt, plan and instruct while having to deal with the constraints of distance learning such as miscommunications, student’s discipline, screen fatigue and more.

While it is true that mental health has already been a topic of discussion even before the COVID-19 outbreak, teachers have remained left out. Studies have shown that there was a significant relationship between teachers’ mental health, their effica