The Complete Teacher

Vocational
PUBLIC PROFILE

Understanding and reducing teacher stress

Posted by Hlengiwe Zwane on 23 July 2021 12:00 PM SAST
Hlengiwe Zwane photo

Article by Rachael Thompson 

Teaching is one of the most valuable and important jobs out there, but it can also be one of the most stressful jobs. Striking a balance between teaching, lesson planning, marking homework and counseling students can be challenging for many teachers. Stress is inevitable, but it’s essential to learn how to improve teachers’ mental health to help them cope with stressors. 

Why is it important to support your teachers? Studies have found that stress is linked to physical ailments such as asthma, heart disease and migraines. Mentally healthy teachers mean better attendance. 

Studies show that 28% of teachers are ‘chronically absent’ meaning they miss more than 10 school days a year due to stress-related illness. Only 2% of teachers report they are not suffering from on-the-job stress. It is clear something needs to change. Let's take a closer look at alleviating teacher stress and fostering an environment where mental health is prioritised and supported every day. 

Let’s start by unpacking the following topics and questions in more detail: 

  • What does teacher mental health mean for your school? 
  • How can stress present itself in different stages of a career? 
  • What more can be done to improve teachers’ mental health?

So what does teacher mental health mean for your school?
Prioritising teacher wellness is vital to your school, your students, and the community as a whole. Research has shown that high-stress environments harm many aspects of everyday life, compromising overall health, sleep, quality of life, and teachers’ performance. The bottom line is that when teachers are highly stressed, they show lower social adjustment levels and academic performance. 

Student-teacher and student-parent relationships can be compromised and staff turnover is high.To provide students with a learning environment where they feel supported and able to reach their full potential, we must first support the teachers who educate them.

How can stress present itself in different stages of a career
While it is difficult to generalise stress, it is typically caused by some of the following primary factors throughout a teachers career:

  • Classroom environment
  • Lack of funding and resources
  • Student behavior
  • Meeting needs of diverse populations
  • Inconsistent and changing teacher evaluation systems

While external factors are specific to an individual, there are some defining moments in a teacher’s career where causes of stress can also change:

  • Beginning: Worries of re-employment and survival on the job
  • Mid-career: Experiencing difficulty with work-life balance
  • Veteran: Changing curriculums, pedagogy and uncertainty of innovations

But just how can schools begin to support teachers and alleviate the amount of stress they are put under? 
As with any job, there will always be factors both inside and outside of our control. However, there are some solutions for both teachers and school leadership to mitigate the impact of on-the-job stressors.

Solutions for teachers:

  • Build a network of confidantes, mentors and supportive friends
  • Be part of a team or professional learning community
  • Be a life-long learner: read, attend workshops, take classes
  • Make a list of stressors and try to identify solutions

Solutions for leadership and administrators:

  • Build trusting relationships
  • Set a positive tone and model positive interactions and communications
  • Provide support for classroom management and discipline
  • Advocate for improved funding, professional development, supervision, and evaluation systems.

What more can be done to support and improve teachers’ mental health?
One of the most impactful ways to support your school community is to align both leadership and teachers with the knowledge, training, and tools they need to support themselves, each other, students and the school community. 

There is 1 comment

Comments

 

Missing a picture..

First paragraph - i think "teachers" can go into the previous line - just a spacing issue

Second paragraph - just one space up - looks like it's too far from the first paragraph

So what does teacher mental health mean for your school?Prioritising <--- spacing

How can stress present itself in different stages of a career?While it is <--- spacing

But just how can schools begin to support teachers and alleviate the amount of stress they are put under?
As with any job, there will always be factors <---- spacing - make it another paragraph


What more can be done to support and improve teachers’ mental health?
One of the <----- spacing - make another paragraph

Janelie Kruger photo
Janelie Kruger

1 month ago

Sign in to add your comment.

Recent Posts

Dimensions of wellness for teachers
By Angel Montoya and Laura L. Summers Teaching is a selfless profession. Although many of us...
read more
Managing workload anxiety
There is certainly no shortage of things to get anxious about within the education sector....
read more
Top 7 strategies to manage anxiety as an educator
This article is based on the work of Dr Jenn Cooper at Glasgow Caledonian University,...
read more
What is the real nature of loneliness?
As we ease into the new norm, psychotherapist, Ben Amponsah shares some simple things that we can...
read more
5 tips on surviving the pandemic as a teacher
Article by Paula Talman The changes for schools have not just been big; they’ve been...
read more
Understanding and reducing teacher stress
Article by Rachael Thompson Teaching is one of the most valuable and important jobs out...
read more
15 Professional development skills for modern teachers
Article by Jannele Cox When schools are looking to hire a teacher, there are a few basic...
read more
12 New-Teacher strategies
Article by Melissa Kelly New teachers typically anticipate their first day of school...
read more
Building resilience as a new teacher
Article by Anna Mae Tempus Resilience is necessary for any young teacher setting out into the...
read more
Administrators need to remain mindful
Article by Education Dive With new teachers, regardless of how much talent and promise they...
read more

Go to blog