One thing you get used to as a teacher is the fact that there will always be some kid's welfare that you're at least a wee bit worried about, and often the worry goes a fair bit deeper than that. It's been that way for me from the beginning and I don't expect things to change for the better any time soon. It's written into the nature of things.
But something has changed with regard to this general area, and I believe markedly so in the last ten years. Put simply, there seem to be more kids to be worried about and sometimes the worry assumes a greater intensity than previously experienced. I don't think this is because I've mellowed and become a more caring individual. In fact, I'm wary of becoming overly 'caring' since this can be debilitating. There's a job to do and it needs to be done coolly and calmly to be done well.
I'm coming to believe that what has changed is the degree of stress being placed on young people. Somehow this has increased and that increase is manifesting itself in concerns about mental and physical well-being in more kids. I see this in this far place and, somewhat to my surprise, I caught a news story from the UK this evening with some startling statistics reflecting a similar phenomenon.
I'm not naïve enough to assume there are simple causal factors involved. In the mess of things the things that mess people up will remain messily resistant to analysis. But the funny thing is that I suspect that in trying to make clear to young people what is necessary to live life well we've got rid of the mess of uncertainty they need to live it happily badly.