Morocco World News
Fez, August 29, 2012
No one can deny that the majority of Moroccan teachers show unsatisfactory attitudes towards their jobs. Some of them consider their teaching as just a way of earning a living that is forced upon them because there are no alternatives. Often, they also feel disillusioned, helpless and completely worn out.
Generally, these feelings and attitudes can be identified as symptoms of a “burnout” which can be defined as a state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion caused by personality traits and agitated by the unrelenting stress.
I can even say that anyone who is undervalued and overworked is at risk of a burnout which is often the case of most Moroccan teachers– from a poor teacher who hasn’t a raise in fifteen years to the frazzled female teacher struggling with her job and the heavy responsibility of taking care of three kids, the housework, and her aging father.
Emotional intelligence and emotional skills are required from teachers in order to endure the hardships and fulfill their mission, because teaching is considered to be “emotional labor. “As a result, people holding these jobs are at risk of a burnout. Emotions are an integral part of the teacher’s occupational role and they have an impact on a teacher’s effectiveness, behavior, cognition, motivation and students’ behavior.
In theory, the nature of a teacher’s job requires from him or her emotion-related skills in order not to fall prey to negative thinking and other psychological problems which can certainly affect their productivity and spoil their lives. Hence, emotionally intelligent teachers would hold an optimistic view of life and raise their self-esteem. In addition to that, they can persist in the face of difficulty despite all the hardships and the ongoing attacks and barriers set to destroy the image of teachers and prevent them from fulfilling their noble mission.
Undoubtedly, the reforms to come should by no means train teachers to be emotionally intelligent. Observing the last note the minister of health sent to doctors we come to the conclusion that teachers in Morocco do not have the right to get ill or just have a rest if they feel mentally or physically exhausted. Obviously, a teacher who feels mentally or physically exhausted should not be asked to provide a medical certificate because teaching is totally different from other labors as I mentioned above.
Similarly, a teacher who is trapped in the same scale for ages will certainly suffer from the symptoms of burnout and feel unappreciated and even unwanted. Admittedly, the emotional sides of the learning process in general and the emotional health of teachers in particular have been neglected in all the reforms since independence.
Teaching is after all a work of the heart. However, emotionally “handicapped” teachers would not achieve the awaited goals. A teacher who feels he is unappreciated, unwanted and the dozen balls he/she juggles in the air are not noticed, let alone rewarded needs determination of Hercules to drag themselves from their beds and head to their schools each morning.
Programs should be launched to increase teachers’ awareness of the importance of emotional intelligence skills to enhance their abilities to implement it within their professional and personal lives. In fact, the presence of social workers and psychologists as a part of the educational staff is a necessity due to the fact that both teachers and students need psychological assistance.
I do believe that emotionally literate teachers who are trained to use emotional intelligence skills will not be only highly qualified teachers but also effective ones. I do believe also that these teachers will experience greater job satisfaction and avoid occupational burnout. Being emotionally intelligent means that they have the ability to create a warm classroom climate and prevent classroom management problems as well.
Te view expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
Edited by Laura Cooper