Teacher depression may affect kids' learning
Children who are taught by depressed teachers are more likely to struggle with learning math.
To conduct the study, researchers looked at data on 520 third grade students in 27 classrooms in North Florida during the 2010-2011 school year. In the winter, the teachers used a 20-item questionnaire to rate their frequency of depressive symptoms such as loneliness, trouble sleeping and “the blues.” The researchers also used classroom video observations to rate the quality of the learning environment, using individualized instruction, organization and teacher warmth as metrics.
According to the results published in Child Development, as the teachers’ depression symptoms increased, the learning environment tended to drop in quality. Interestingly, the researchers found that the teachers’ depression seemed to only affect the students' math scores. Students with weak math scores in the fall and a teacher with depressive symptoms improved less by the spring that similar kids with teachers who weren't depressed.
Teachers tend to have higher rates of depression than the general public, but researchers said they still aren't sure why that's the case.