Teacher Stress Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2701 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 30  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Teaching

Teacher stress and burnout have both been acknowledged as being a problem for many years and researchers have examined this problem from various perspectives in the attempt to determine the causative factors of this stress and burnout among teachers. However, there is little research relating to the health and wellness factors among teachers which are associated with burnout and stress among teachers. The following review of literature examines these factors of wellness among teachers as related to stress and burnout and proposes a case study research examining these health related issues.

TEACHER STRESS

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The work of Charlie Naylor (2001) entitled: "Teacher Workload and Stress: An International Perspective on Human Costs and Systemic Failure" reports the examination of international research and current publications of educational material on teacher workload and job-related stress. Naylor notes the work of Gallen et al. (1995a) who states findings that teachers work on the average, 47 hours each week. According to Gallen et al. "Counselor, social worker, nurse, chauffeur, fund-raiser, mediator, public relations officer, entertainer...the list of roles that teachers are called upon to perform on behalf of their students, schools and communities, is lengthy and diverse. In a separate study Miller et al. (1999) reports that stress is "a complex phenomenon that has been defined and analyzed by a multitude of researchers employing a variety of methods." There has been a great deal of research concerning the stress experienced by teachers due to the "tremendous amount of day-to-day personal interactions that are part of the routine of a teacher..." In order to attempt to understand "the thought processes of teachers and how they are effected by these interactions." (Miller et al., 1999)

TOPIC: Term Paper on Teacher Stress Assignment

Organizational characteristics that research has identified as positively correlating with teacher stress include: "time management, tight time constraints and heavy workloads, professional distress (low income and limited career advancement), discipline and motivation (high student discipline and student interaction problems) professional investment (high autonomy and low participation in decision making) and low collegiality." (Miller et al., 1999) Further noted as a major factor that result in stress for teachers are time constraints. Miller et al. (1999) states that inadequate resources are also a "problem continuously faced by educators." Additionally stated as sources of stress for teachers are "career advancement, professional growth, teacher recognition, student misbehavior, and poor colleague relations..." (Miller, et al. 1999) Administrative bureaucracy is also noted in the study of Miller et al. (1999) to be a source of stress for teachers. Miller et al. (1999) reports a study conducted among three working class communities in a Midwestern school district that has three colleges and several medical facilities that are quite large as well as the largest business community in the state. A new school is reported to have bee built in 1989 to accommodate the growing numbers of students.

The survey was conducted among teachers, students, and parents in questions "that addressed curriculum, facility, student learning, teaching time, technology and teacher compensation." (Miller et al., 1999) Surveys were distributed to faculty and teachers were also given a Teacher Stress Inventory. Miller et al. (1999) states that the Teacher Stress Inventory "is a widely used inventory and is designed for full-time teachers actively involved in the instruction of children and youth. The Teacher Stress Inventory "is an indicator of not only physiological and behavioral stress, but also other symptoms and was chosen because of the interest in the individual and organizational characteristics of stress." (Miller et al., 1999) Findings in this study show significant relations to stress and teachers age in that teachers "over 30 years old with less than 15 years teaching experienced felt less support from their supervisors and experienced higher emotional manifestation of stress." (Miller et al., 1999) Miller et al. states that "it may be beneficial for school systems to determine if additional support from supervisors is needed to reduce the stress for 'older' teachers with less teaching experience." (1999)

The work of Bertoch, Nielsen, Curley and Borg entitled: "Reducing Teacher Stress" states that teacher stress "is recognized as serious by virtually everyone who has studied the problem. A recent search of the ERIC database revealed a substantial amount of descriptive and correlation research regarding teacher stress. However, an extensive literature review failed to produce any reports of project that used experimental design to evaluate the validity of stress reduction treatments by demonstrating reductions in stress symptomatology. Descriptive and correlational studies have provided important information on possible causal factors. However these studies are frequently restricted because of research design characteristics and theoretical limitations." (Bertoch, Nielsen, Curley and Borg, 1988)

This study reports two groups:

1) Treatment group; and 2) Control group.

Bertoch, Nielsen, Curley and Borg state that in relation to treatment "various processes were used in the 12 2-hour treatment sessions, including lecture-discussion, small group sharing of progress and problems, audiovisual presentations, written test evaluations, and homework. Two experienced clinical psychologists conducted the treatment sessions. Activities from the past week(s) were reviewed at the beginning of each session." (Bertoch, Nielsen, Curley and Borg, 1988) the sessions were stated to include those as follows:

Session One: Introduction. Administrative details, program content, and processes were covered. The clinicians managed the group-forming process while establishing norms of participation, respect, and openness, and modeled the relaxation response.

Session Two: Concept of Stress: Stress, distress, eustress, Type a and B personality characteristics, and other manifestations of stress were covered. Stages, common causes, consequences, and symptoms of stress were presented.

Session Three: Task-Based and Role-Conflict Stress. Task-based and role related stress were compared. Participants' unique stressors were identified with force-field analysis planning sheets and stress logs. Group members shared individual analyses in small groups.

Session Four: Assertiveness Life Style. The importance of assertiveness was discussed, along with confusions, myths, differentiation from aggression, and the relationship of assertiveness to self-confidence

Session Five: Relaxation and Breathing. experiential breathing and relaxation processes were introduced. A process of systematic relaxation of all muscle groups was then practiced. Members were encouraged to practice regularly until a "relaxation response" became automatic.

Session Six: Meditation. Meditation was described as an alternative to achieve a deeper level of relaxation and of contact with the self. All subsequent sessions were initiated with a short session of guided relaxation or meditation.

Session Seven: Nutrition. A nutritional evaluation inventory was discussed relative to the participants' current diets. A lecture-discussion of nutritional habits important in stress management followed, with individual commitment to make changes.

Session Eight: Exercise, Mini-Relaxation, and Stretching. A physical exercise evaluation provided individual assessment of needs in this area. Group discussion furthered insight into personal needs for more exercise and methods that could be used. Mini-relaxation and stretching exercises were taught.

Session Nine: Holistic Living, Mind and Body. The concept of mindfulness, defined as awareness of self and environment and awareness of choice and personal creativity were discussed. The importance of making a balance in one's life was emphasized.

Session Ten: Coping with Disappointment and Chemical Stressors. The place of disappointment in the development of stress was discussed. Participants discussed customary ways of coping with disappointment and explored less stressful alternatives. The endocrine system was described briefly to show how sympathomimetic agents such as caffeine and nicotine trigger an elevated baseline of activity. Agents that reduce this baseline of stress, such as alcohol, minor tranquilizers, barbiturates, and narcotics, were discussed.

Session Eleven: Support System, Life Stressors, and Teacher Stress. The importance of having an adequate social support system, both at work and in one's personal life, was discussed. It was emphasized that to maintain balances, information about stress, and the various coping ideas and techniques need to be utilized from day-to-day.

Session Twelve: Understanding Situations, Letting Go of Resentments, and Where to from Here. A review of the experiences and learning from the previous sessions was held, with planning to maintain gains made during the workshop. (Bertoch, Nielsen, Curley and Borg, 1988)

Results of the study state: "After the treatment, the experimental group demonstrated substantially lower stress levels than control group members. The experimental group demonstrated a substantial decrease in their stress level after the treatment." (Bertoch, Nielsen, Curley and Borg, 1988)

Variables and Significant of Changes Between Pre- and Posttreatment for Treatment vs. Control Group

The work of Susan Moore Johnson entitled: 'Teachers at work: Achieving Success in Our Schools" offers policy and practice recommendations that "emerge from the teachers' accounts" of changes that are needed in the workplace. Included in these changes are the following five recommendations:

Policymakers must secure sufficient funds to ensure that public schools are well-financed;

Public schooling should be decentralized and deregulated so that the school site, rather than the district becomes the primary unit of organization and so that teachers, principles and parents can institute practices that address the needs of the school community;

Policy maker should abandon industrial models of schooling that prize standardization or promote narrow measures of productivity; they must redirect their attention to improving teaching and learning for inquiry and higher-order thinking;

Public schools must engage parents more meaningfully in the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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