Teacher Stress in Schools

Teacher Stress in Schools

An article from a newly published book from Springer International Publishing: Educator stress: An occupational health perspective.

Where does teacher stress come from?

Teacher stress incubates through several structures in a school. There is the support for teachers from colleagues and particularly from management. There are the relations between teachers and students. Finally, there is the impact of educational policy such as testing and educational innovation.

How is teacher stress defined?

Stress defined at the work level as pressure and demands placed on teachers. Second are the behavioural responses from teaching work. Finally, there are the transactions between demands and the teachers’ ability and resources to manage these demands. Significant stressors for educators worldwide are workload, student behaviour, and lack of social support.

Factors common to teacher stress

Three factors prominent in lowering teachers’ experience of stress and well-being are support from leadership; relational aspects; educational policy. Supported teachers experience less stress. Autonomy-support, a component of Self-Determination Theory, is a key dimension of this experience. This concerns how authority figures foster empowerment and self-determination for employees.

Teacher well-being

Perceived autonomy-support is linked to well-being. Autonomy-support has been shown to positively correlate with well-being. Further, positive well-being has antecedent  effects on student achievement. Increased academic achievement occurs due to positive perceptions by teachers of autonomy-support from management.Autonomy-support is likely to be associated with satisfaction of basic psychological needs. Basic psychological needs are important to overall teacher motivation. Psychological needs support results in lowering emotional exhaustion when considering its relation to burnout.

Controlling work contexts

In contrast, a controlling work environment is perceived as more stressful and negatively impacts teacher well-being. Controlling work environments lead to increased perceptions of teacher stress.

Increased job pressure is reported as a thwarting of basic psychological needs and increased perceptions of factors relating to burnout. More broadly, the educational system impacts teachers’ perceptions of autonomy-support. System-level authorities with top-down approaches to innovation and testing are more likely to be reported as thwarting of autonomy-support and psychological needs of teachers.

© iteachpiano 2017

Collie, R. J., Perry, N. E., & Martin, A., J. (2017). School context and educational system factors impacting educator stress. In T. M. McIntyre, S. E. McIntyre & D. J. Francis (Eds.), Education stress: An occupational health perspective (pp. 3-22): Springer International Publishing.

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