Strategies In Managing Teacher Stress And Burnout In Schools

Teachers don’t seem to command the respect that they used to 30 years ago. It seems that society, and kids in particular, don’t appreciate how important their role is in giving children the skills to be successful in adulthood. Not so long ago teachers would be addressed and ‘ma’am’ or ‘sir’ by their students but now are just as likely to be sworn at. There have been high profile stories of teachers being assaulted, raped and stabbed. Teaching has become a stressful job. This article will analyse why teaching has become so stressful and some strategies to manage stress and teacher burnout.

The number one reason why teaching has become more stressful is the kids. Controlling a large group of excitable youngsters has never been easy, so why is it more so today than it seemed to be ?

It seems that teachers are far more responsible for understanding and dealing with the psychological problems that their students bring into the classroom than ever before.

One example is dealing with children that have ADD (attention deficit disorder). Quite often one child with ADD can disrupt the class to the extent that the teacher cannot teach. This leads to increased stress on two levels. Firstly, the teacher feels they are failing in their duty to teach and, secondly, the class loses focus and becomes unmanageable.

ADD is well recognised by teachers nowadays and they have more strategies to deal with the situation than before but these strategies have only been learned through trial and error and much stress. With new conditions being diagnosed all the time and more emphasis on dealing with children with these disorders at school it seems that an important strategy to relieve teacher stress is to have a responsive and informed support structure for teachers.

Most teachers are specialised in a particular field, mathematics, for example, and, whilst it is incumbent in their job description to develop skills in human psychology, it should not detract from their primary field of expertise. Consequently, it is important that schools have support networks that are skilled in human psychology and behavioural problems.

There should also be a strong ethic throughout the school, from principal to students, that the behavioural support network should and can be used for help and relief of problems. Teachers should be given seminars and instruction on the latest strategies for dealing with behavioural problems so that they remain informed and in control of their classrooms.

Other problems that can lead to teacher stress are a lack of adequate administration and organisation in the school. This requires a strong principal with a strong vision of how the school should be run. A run on from this would be a lack of adequate supplies. Teachers that lack board erasers, markers or anything that effects their ability to do the job will suffer from increased stress levels.

Most teachers enjoy teaching and get great satisfaction from seeing their students improve over time. This, in fact, is good for their stress level. When they are stopped from teaching, by reasons that they are not always qualified to deal with, then their frustration and stress levels increase.