Stressed Teachers: Learning to Care for Our Educators
Some people think that stressed teachers are the only ones who feel the consequences of that stress. Feeling unhappy and exhausted negatively affects your performance at work. This is especially relevant if you think about what happens when a teacher’s performance declines. After all, they are the ones who are, for the most part, in charge of our children’s education.
That’s why it’s important to think about what we can all do to make teachers less stressed. There are many different factors that influence a teacher’s stress level. All of us have the power to influence these factors and make it easier on teachers so they can do their best work.
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
– Henry Adams-
The problem of stressed teachers
Many studies have looked at work-related stress in many different professions. In the 6th National Survey of Working Conditions in Spain (2007), researchers found that 54.2% of teachers experience work-related stress. Considering that this is half of all Spanish teachers, the numbers are discouraging, to say the least.
The same study showed that 19.6% of teachers believed that their work negatively affected their health. And that’s not all. Similar numbers indicate that they were also having trouble sleeping and often felt tired. Many reported having headaches and feeling tense and irritable.
In 2011, researchers carried out another National Survey of Working Conditions in Spain (2011) and found that 33.9% of surveyed teachers said they had a heavy workload. To finish all their work, they had to work more hours without pay. Unfortunately, these numbers correspond to findings in other similar studies.
“If you have to put someone on a pedestal, put teachers. They are society’s heroes.”
– Guy Kawasaki –
A study by Gil-Monte (2012) indicated that around 50% of teachers have high or very high stress levels. Not only that, but they found that these high stress levels in teachers predict mental and physical health problems. Lastly, dissatisfaction and pressure at work correlate with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
What stresses teachers the most?
But what is it exactly that stresses teachers out so much? Are they internal or external factors? We will answer these questions. Different studies have found that the main sources of stress for teachers comes from students and their families. One of the main reasons for this is lack of interest in studies or lack of motivation. Discipline problems in the classroom also cause significant stress.
The students’ families are a major stress factor for teachers as well. That is because they tend not to recognize the teacher’s work. It can also be stressful for teachers when parents don’t collaborate or provide support to their work of educating children and teens.
This is where each of us can do our small part to reduce stress for teachers. As a society, and as parents of students, we should recognize and acknowledge how difficult this work can be sometimes. We need to remember that these are education professionals, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to follow the advice that they give during parent-teacher meetings.
“I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.”
– John Wooden-
These guidelines can be difficult to follow, but if we all keep them in mind, things will significantly improve. Not just in the classroom environment, but also in your home life, and your children’s lives in general. Motivated teachers who feel recognized and supported will be less stressed and do their work better.
Images courtesy of Tra Nguyen and Lonely Planet.