At times you may want to talk about general stressful things that are going on in your life, especially with someone outside your family. Talking to a counsellor would have been just nice, only that some schools do not have this provision. Would it then be proper to talk to teachers you really like and trust? you wonder. Would they think it strange and unusual that you have chosen to unburden yourself to them instead of your parents? you ask.
Let’s consider the pros and cons together.
A teacher you like and trust can be just the right person to turn to when you have a personal problem or situation you want to discuss
This is especially true if your school doesn’t have a counsellor. But even if you do have a counsellor, you might find you click better with a teacher. Or you might want to talk to a teacher as well as a counsellor.
It’s natural to want someone to know what’s going on in your life when things are stressful. When there’s a lot going on at home, plenty of people want to talk to someone outside the family, and that’s totally normal. Having another adult to share with like this can make a big difference in how you feel and how you are able to cope.
Letting a teacher know what’s happening in your life gives you relief from the stress of carrying it alone. A teacher can be a sounding board, someone to just listen — and telling someone about your situation, thoughts, and feelings can sometimes help you better understand yourself.
A teacher might be able to help you think of things you can do to make your situation better. If stress is interfering with concentrating on your schoolwork, a teacher can give you practical advice on things like managing assignments. A teacher won’t think it’s strange that you want to talk. In fact, most teachers would take it as a compliment that you value their support (well, the really good ones who chose teaching because they are passionate about it).
How can you approach a teacher to talk? Pick a time before or after class. Say:
I have got a situation I am dealing with, and I would really like to talk to you about it. Is there a good time we could talk?
The conversation doesn’t have to be long. If you want, you can plan ahead so you know what you want to say. For example, think about what you want to get out of the conversation, and then let the teacher know. For example:
I’m having a problem and I need someone to listen as I think it through.
I need your advice on something.
Can you help me figure out ideas to cope?
Can you keep this confidential?
You can end the conversation by saying something like:
Well, I just want to thank you for listening. It helps.
Another reason why it helps to approach a supportive teacher is that reaching out to the adults in our lives can actually help us be more resilient (that is, better able to deal with stress and better able to recover quickly from difficult times). So talking to teachers is a smart idea for lots of equally smart reasons!
This article was adapted from an article on kidshealth.org