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Causes of Stress and Burnout in Teachers Jennifer Daris University of South Alabama Educational Research Fall 2013

Causes of Stress and Burnout in Teachers Abstract

According to previous research, stress and burnout in teachers are presently getting much attention. In most cases, the anxiety comes from lack of support, student behavior, administrative pressure, and overall lifestyle. The groups of teachers hit the hardest with burnout are special educators, young teachers, and those close to retirement (Billingsly, 2002). There are articles featuring topics as to why teachers become stressed and others as to how teachers overcome it. When it comes to the teachers experiencing tension, they and the school systems that hire them suffer. Causes of Stress and Burnout in Teachers Introduction Defined by Maslach and Jackson (1986), burnout, occurring in individuals who do people work, exhibit emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and have reduced personal success. Maslach (1993), in the article, Burnout: A multidimensional perspective, states that burnout is not a consequence of boredom from tedious, repetitious work, but experiencing a toll on ones personal resources after being highly invested over a period of time. men mentions in the article, The Relationship between

Demographics, Self-Efficacy, and Burnout among Teachers, that Anderson and Iwanicki (1984) have found male teachers exhibit more emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, but Zhao and Bi (2003) declare that no gender differences exists. Overextension, draining of emotional resources, and lack of emotional energy produces emotional exhaustion. People with this type of stress lose feeling and concern, as well as interest and spirit. Personality types that predict burnout in this area are neuroticism and extroversion (Pishghadam & Sahebjam, 2012). Depersonalization occurs when one

Causes of Stress and Burnout in Teachers attempts to distance his or her self from others (Maslach & Leiter, 1997). Pishghadam and Sahebjam (2012) found that people who exhibit personalities of intrapersonal and agreeableness acquire depersonalization the most. The teachers experiencing burnout change in how they relate to others, showing irritability, negative attitudes, and callousness (Maslach, 1982, 2003). Their self-evaluation is negative and feelings of incompetency, guilt, and doubt come into play. Many teachers feel stress from job

demands, believe that challenges in their work environment hinder their ability to achieve their professional ambitions, and allow things to interfere with experiencing meaning from their work (Pines, 1993). They are usually those who display personality traits of conscientiousness (Pishghadam & Sahebjam, 2012). Self-efficacy plays an important role when studying teacher burnout. Defined, self-efficacy is a teachers belief that he or she is able to affect student performance, even challenging students (Guskey & Passaro, 1994). Brissie, Hoover-Dempsey, and Bassler (1988) found that teacher efficacy predicts whether or not a teacher will have burnout. Bandura (1997) and Maddux (1995) stated that self-efficacy beliefs differ along three dimensions. The first is magnitude, which refers to a persons belief of how he or she can perform. Secondly, generality, which is the extent that self-efficacy can change regarding a persons beliefs regarding other behaviors and circumstances. And, last, strength, concerning whether or not a person can perform a specific behavior. Other variables go hand-in-hand with self-efficacy. The way teachers react to students and how they teach rely heavily on their self-efficacy. The achievement, motivation (Bergman et al, 1977), self-esteem, and attitudes are greatly related. Lower levels of self-efficacy lead to low performance. Brissie, Hoover-Dempsey, and Basslet

Causes of Stress and Burnout in Teachers (1988) say that since performance rates are lower, those teachers are more apt to have less classroom management. A classroom with students who have behavioral issues therefore lowers the teachers self-efficacy levels even more (Tomic, 1998). Teachers develop a callous attitude toward students and refer to them in demanding ways (Moracco & McFadden, 1982). Health risks are also issues. Chronic fatigue, recurrent flu, infections, colds, headaches, and their overall well-being (Cordes & Doughtery, 1993) are effects of high levels of stress. The outlook of helping children and professional drive are lost. Career plans and goals are also demolished. In this review, not only regular classroom teachers are studied but special education teachers as well. Special education teachers are high-risk, because they are regularly faced with the task of teaching the more challenging student populations, like those with emotional or behavioral disorders (Wisnieski & Gargiulo, 1997). Paperwork demands are also a challenge (Kaff, 2004). The school system faces many costs when special education teachers are faced with burnout. The teachers become absent more

often (Pullis, 1992), reducing commitment to their job (Billingsley & Cross, 1992; Leiter, 1991), increased rates of turnover, and shortages (Bergert & Burnette, 2001). Teachers specific to this expertise are more likely to leave the profession than any other teacher group (Boe, Bobbitt, & Cook, 1993; Ingersoll, 2001). There is also a high percentage of non-certified teachers within this field because of the high turnover rate due to burnout (Emery & Vandenburg, 2010). On the other hand, there has been research conducted studying only those teachers who are resilient to the same stress and what causes them to overcome it. Resilience, defined, is acclimating successfully despite challenging circumstances (Masten, Best, and

Causes of Stress and Burnout in Teachers Garmezy, 1990). Howard and Bruce (2004) found that the dysfunctional strategies of individual teachers have adopted a deficit approach to the problem or what is wrong. Researchers should take a more positive approach, focusing on the successes with the same stressors and looking at what is right.

Teachers attempt to cope with stress in two different ways: the palliative way and direct action. The group who deals with the stress the palliative way does not deal with the source, but rather focuses on how to reduce the impact of the stressor. Examples of how teachers take direct action, the other coping mechanism, are keeping their feelings under control, seeking support from colleagues and through other personal relationships, organizing and prioritizing tasks, and preparing (Kyriacou, 2001). Teachers who show resilience often exhibit effective strategies for working with difficult students as opposed to having difficulties, respond fittingly to violent behavior compared to needing to call upon assistance, act genuinely but emotionally self-protective to critical incidents instead of appearing to be incapacitated by critical events, and manage time, change, and workload efficiently as opposed to needing to take leave, seeming overwhelmed, and blaming others for stress. The teachers who were studied assessed day-to-day situations, not viewing an event as their fault or feeling guilt, and learning from their mistakes. These teachers had actually chosen to teach at a school with difficult students, so they saw themselves as having a moral purpose and a chance to make a difference. Also, specific strategies were implemented from day one of the school year: clear classroom expectations, consistency, building positive relationships with both students and parents, always being prepared, positive outlooks on life, dealing with problems right away, and learning to laugh (Howard & Johnson, 2004). Some teachers even found challenges

Causes of Stress and Burnout in Teachers

energizing and exciting (Brunetti, 2006). Howard and Johnson (2004) mention that these positive attributes can be learned. It is a process of adapting (Castro et al, 2009). New teachers need to have assistance from another strong, resilient teacher, not be assigned the most difficult classes (Sumsion, 2004), and have their successes be recognized (Hirschkom, 2009) in order to help build these qualities. Hoy (2007) found that meaningful feedback from administrators is crucial as to how teachers form their efficacy judgments. The counselor of the school has a profound effect on the reduction of stress in teachers. Maslach (1978) states that stress related behavior is greatly reduced when there is such a support system in place. Counselors are the best support systems for leading groups, because they are nonthreatening, have special training, have a school-wide perspective, are attuned to the schools important data, have flexible schedules, and have skills in relaxation procedures, human relations, cognitive learning strategies, and group leadership. They are able to help teachers learn to effectively handle stressful situations (Moracco & McFadden (1982). Relationships with principals also have a powerful effect regarding whether or not teachers become stressed. The teachers with positive relationships with their administrators were the most resilient. When teachers feel valued, appreciated, trusted, and felt as though the school leadership had their best interests in mind, self-efficacy was high and teachers seemed the strongest. The power of the principal will either enhance or debilitate teachers and the environment (Margolis & Nagel, 2006). Conclusion

Causes of Stress and Burnout in Teachers Teachers need to be exposed to environments that give opportunities for professional growth, self-efficacy, and success for progression. A positive relationship with as many of their colleagues, administrators, students and parents is the best start. For new teachers, there should be means of professional development intervention that enhance career progression. Counselors should be employed to not only cater to the

students needs but the staff as well for the strongest school program possible. If teachers are teaching at the best of their ability, actually coming to school and taking part in a positive light with their students education, there will be more student success.

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Causes of Stress and Burnout in Teachers

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