- Inspiration for Recovery
- Understanding ED
- Emotions, Feeling and Health
- Supporting ED sufferers: Family, Carers, Friends, Teachers, Coaches ...
- Society's Influence and ED in the Media
- Men and ED
- Talk About ED
- Gallery List
How Can Teachers Help?
Teachers can play an important role in recognising the early signs of ED. It is difficult to recognise ED in the early stages and very often the first people to see the early signs are school staff, youth workers and guidance counsellors. Schools need to provide an intellectually stimulating environment needed for learning where our children feel safe and accepted. This needs to be safe from too much academic pressures, violence, harassment and bullying.
Students suffering from ED are very sensitive, and very prone to stress out. Continuous assessment and project work can create an enormous amount of pressure. Often they do not know their own limitations and have very high expectations and are afraid to slow down or give up some activities. They are often perfectionists and they need to learn to believe that their best is good enough.
Teachers need to be aware of the expectations put on their pupils. While it’s good to encourage pupils to reach their maximum potential, in this competitive environment the pressure can become too much. Pupils need to learn to realise that no one is brilliant at everything and to have confidence about coping with not achieving when necessary. Pupils with this condition need to be encouraged to set their own goals rather than accepting those imposed on them.
Physical educators, science teachers and social studies teachers should learn about and teach how our culture wrongly promotes:
- Prejudice against overweight people
- The conviction that ‘thinness is goodness’
- The belief that people should sacrifice their health in desire for beauty
In schools it is very important to emphasise self-esteem, self-assertion and communication skills. These strengths will inoculate children against pressure they experience to change and harm their bodies in pursuit of images of ‘perfection’ and ‘goodness’.
Sponsored fasts, which have become very popular as ways of raising money for certain charities should not be promoted. Students who are suffering or in recovery from ED may find it difficult to watch fellow peers abstaining from food when perhaps they are unable to participate. These fasts may have a very negative effect on a student with an ED.