Education is a basic human need in our modern society. It is extremely difficult to be successful without education. Unfortunately; little credit is given to those behind the teaching. It is not surprising that many people opt for other professions rather than teaching due to its overwhelming and tricky nature. Teachers have always played a significant role in each of our lives. Despite their passion, enthusiasm, resilience and dedication in teaching, most of those in this profession struggle to create a life balance due to teacher stress.
What really causes Teacher Stress?
- Poor working conditions
It is unfortunate that the education sector plays a blind eye to the obvious poor working conditions that hinder the growth of professional teachers. As a result of administrative negligence, challenging classes, too much scrutiny, unsupportive administration, long working hours, inadequate teaching personnel, and limited resources allocation are to blame for the increase in cases of teachers’ stress being witnessed across the globe. It is imperative for schools to create better working conditions that include teacher stress management strategies in order for their teachers to strive in their classrooms.
- Economic pressures
The majority of teachers internationally are underpaid despite their vital roles in facilitating education to scholars. There is no denying the fact that this noble profession requires passion, dedication, enthusiasm, motivation and devotion in order to shape the future or character of different individuals. In addition to inadequate salaries, job insecurity is yet another economic pressure that leads to teachers stress globally.
- Professional responsibilities
Most teachers develop stress due to their disheartening professional responsibilities such as curriculum /courses changes, new teaching methods, limited training, restricted opportunities, teaching complexities, supervisory roles, after school activities, increased number of students, too many lessons, administrative paperwork and managing mixed learning ability groups among others. All these professional responsibilities in addition to their low scale salaries contribute to teacher stress significantly.
- Teacher/Parents relationships
The increment in teacher stress cases can be attributed to complicated, difficult and hostile parents/teachers relationships. Parents are participating less in shaping their children’s futures. Instead, parents are placing all the responsibilities to teachers with respect to their students’ welfare.
- Student discipline
With increased cases of student indiscipline in schools, most teachers have become vulnerable to work-related stress.
Poor student attitudes, drug abuse, gangs’ affiliations, poor students’ motivation, aggression, violence, rudeness, poor grades and big headedness lead to student indiscipline. Handling or managing increased number of misbehaving and uncontrollable students can be overwhelming for any professional teacher leading to stress.
Other major causes of teacher stress include; poor planning/programming, social and personal stress, insufficient financial support, constant restructuring, lack of recognition/acknowledgment, performance issues and increased workloads.
Symptoms of Teacher Stress
The consequences of chronic stress on teachers can be catastrophic. Some of the most common symptoms of teacher stress include;
- High blood pressure
- Poor concentration
- Eating disorders
- Low productivity/performances/work rates
- Low self-esteem/confidence/motivation
- Increased absenteeism
- High labor turnover/apathy among the teaching staff
- Restrained personal relationships
Teacher stress management and Alleviation strategies
Teacher stress can be managed or alleviated using different strategies. These teacher stress strategies include;
- Avoid Negativity
- Exercise regularly
- Drink adequate water
- Eat a well- balanced diet
- Try deep breathing
- Have adequate sleep every day
- Write it down in a journal
- Seek help from a professional/friends/family
- Share laughter with your students.
- Go for leave/take a break
Please leave your suggestions for managing your stress in the comments box below