School Depression and Student Anxiety: Does My Teacher Notice?


As a substitute teacher, you can probably
guess that my role is different from… day-to-day when I’m at a school. On
some days, I am the science teacher, and… on others, something completely unrelated.
I see more students in a week than most… permanent teachers do, and this is
because of the nature of my current… position when working at a school. More
recently, I hosted an “ask me anything…” thread on Reddit, where I was asked a
wide range of questions from teenagers… adults, and even other teachers, most of
which pertaining to my role as a… substitute teacher, my opinions about
education, and the inclusion of… technology, and personal questions that I
will invite you to go and look at in the… description section below. One of the
more prominent topics in the “AMA,” that… routinely came up in discussion, was this
curiosity about whether teachers really… see what is going on in the classroom.
For example, questions like… “What does… bullying look like from a teacher’s
perspective?” and “How can you tell if a… student is depressed?” This seemed to be a re-occurring theme, in that people were… curious about my observation skills. It
is important for me to mention and… clarify that I am NOT a licensed medical
professional. I am an educator, but I am… not legally able to diagnose a student
with generalized anxiety, depression, or… other mental health conditions. It is
worth it for me to mention that, based on… actual conversations with students, some
believe that this is part of my role. Before I open this dialogue, I should
note that I have taken mental health… preparation and First-Aid courses in
university when learning to become a… teacher. I have first-hand experience
with forms of irregular mental health… and, in addition, I routinely discuss with
students about their lives, their… problems, their fears, and their troubles,
while noting anything disconcerting, and… reporting back to permanent teachers.
Students have asked me if I notice that… students are being bullied in the school
and what it tends to look like from my… perspective. Bullying, and subsequently
mental health damage… can look like students with their heads
down, shying away from any interaction in… the class, and at the same time, these
students may just be introverted or shy… and prefer to be in spaces that have
limited amounts of external stimuli. Bullying can look like groups of
students joking with another lone… student, and then claiming that they are
just having fun. At the same time, this… could also just be a group of friends
bantering or hazing each other. There’s a… distinct line of social context that
must be considered in each scenario and… as a professional adult, it is within my
responsibilities to investigate and… ensure that students are safe. Stress and
anxiety can look like students demanding… homework answers from peers who do not
want to give them away. Sometimes, it… takes the form of students being loud or
obnoxious and disruptive to students who… want to spend their time learning or
working. And visually speaking, it can… look like violence, malicious intent, and
verbal assault. At the end of the day, it… often looks like students hiding their
actions from authority. I have been asked… if I think that the regimented school
system, the school day, and school work… are contributors to depression in
students, and while I cannot diagnose… anyone’s depression, I can say with
confidence that everyone’s mental health… is unique and the resultant combination
of many factors; of which, can sometimes… be long nights, piles of homework, social
anxiety, and stressful environments. I… have been told by students that their
teachers make them depressed and… subsequently asked why this is the case.
First and foremost, it honors me when… students open up to me about their
personal lives. It’s challenging to… discuss these types of issues with a
teacher, let alone one that is a… substitute. It takes great courage to be
transparent about emotions, dark thoughts… and unsafe behaviors. I need you all to
realize and understand that my role as a… teacher is to observe.
I take note of almost everything that I… see or hear that might be perceived as
significant or critically important when… concerned with students. One of the most
challenging parts about my profession is… that I am the grown adult around young
minds that are constantly being… bombarded with anxiety, depression, or
mental health issues. At the same time my… role as a teacher is also to care for
you. Despite what you think, teachers are… meant to be on your side, and while some
of them are extreme boomers and have… little patience, they are responsible for
your safety. You may be surprised at how… far you can get with them if you are
brave enough to have a conversation. And… while I cannot speak for all teachers, I
can speak from my own heart about this. Let it be known that, if you ever see me
in person, or if you have questions or… concerns that can be conveyed through
the comment section down below, please… feel free to reach out to me. I can be
the listening ear that you may need, as… well as provide some generalized help
that may get you to where you want to be. This one act may be the stepping stone
to a series of solutions that conquer… your problems. If this is the first time
that you’re dropping by Discourse with… Dobson, welcome! Whether you’re from
YouTube, or TikTok, maybe even the more… recent Reddit AMA, thank you for dropping
by the channel. I invite you to subscribe… for similar content, give the video a
thumbs up if you enjoyed it, leave me a… comment in the section below and I’ll
try to get back to you, and if you want… you can even turn on the bell and you’ll
get notifications about when I release… more videos like this one. Mental health,
stress, depression, bullying, anxiety; all… of these topics and issues… they’re
important and we need to talk more about… them and raise awareness. As your teacher,
as all of your other teachers are meant… to be, I’m the one talking to you about
it right now. Spread the message. Tell… other people. I have nothing else for you
today. Mr. Dobson… out!

15 Comments

  1. I wish I could’ve made it to the AMA, I sort by new so I sadly missed it (I also went through the comments, and you seem like a cool/good teacher)

  2. Honestly I wish you could teach me. You don't just enjoy your job, but genuinely care about your students. You are probably the best teacher I've seen and heard about. Thank you so much for everything you do, Mr. Dobson. Have a good one.

  3. Came from the ama, wish we had subs like you where I live lol. Most of the subs down here are complete boomers, but the ones that aren't are constantly bullied by the people in class and the subs can't really do anything about it. Great video!

  4. Hi! I'm from the AMA. I just wanted to say thank you for talking about this. It's such an important topic that really isn't discussed enough.

  5. Came from the AMA I am amazed that you go to such lengths to connect to the students, especially for a supply and you don’t do that annoying stuff that belongs on r/Fellowkids

  6. I just really really hope that one day you will enter my classroom so, that you can substitute our class that day. My biggest wish is to make a tik tok with you! 😂❤️

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