Although I have been working in education for over 20 years, I tend not to express my views much about children, schools and the educational system. And it's not because I don't want to, it's because I feel a bit embarrassed to analyse the self-evident: that children deserve better.
It's a drum I will keep banging, mental health is a priority in all ages, and in youngsters especially. We need to set a good example, show them there is light at the end of the tunnel and help them become confident young adults. Ignoring the signs from an early age will only result in another generation of growing number of adults with mental illnesses.
From a teacher's perspective, and I can only speak for myself, doing my job, ticking the boxes, going home has never been my thing. I have always been considering and challenging how we as adults make all the decisions regarding children. Decisions that impact directly on them and their lives and form their personalities.
A child-centered approach in education and in life, where children are involved, is the way forward if we want to see any improvements in children's lives and mental health. We must do education differently as it's no longer acceptable to allow children to be harmed or traumatised without any professional stepping in to advocate for them and protect them fiercely.
As a teacher, it is my role to make sure my students are safe and happy. I am there to make them evolve and achieve and to give them tools that will help them cope with life later on. I educate them but I also care for them, I try to understand them and get to the root of their problems. I always feel that I have a moral duty to advocate on their behalf as I see that children are usually ignored or disrespected in society.
Education is the simplest and far more reaching way to improve society's mental health crisis so let's start there. And by education, I don't just mean schools and teachers; I mean educating everyone about children's wellbeing, recognising signs of ill mental health, knowing what support systems are in place and becoming their champions.
It's the causes that need tackling, not the symptoms. We all have a part to play and each person the child comes into contact with can subtly make positive changes. So let's keep banging that drum, even louder for those at the back.
My two creations