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Stress and stress management of teachers

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Stress is the body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response (Morrow, 2014). Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes a person feels frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious. When a person meets and entertains individuals or faces a disturbing environment, stress certainly occurs. Stress is caused by an existing stress-causing factor or “stressor”. In a workplace, stress resulted from long working hours, difficult working conditions, pressure, deadlines and in particular job insecurity - not only in times of economic crisis.

Teachers are among the professions reporting the highest level of work-related stress. Besides the pressures at home, teachers’ stress is generated from their job, colleagues, students’ discipline problem and school administration. Stress affects the performance of teachers in the workplace. Teachers become inefficient and ineffective in the delivery of their services; thus, contributes to the failure of achieving organizational goals.

Stress can redound to poor performance of teachers and consequently affects students. Research evidence indicates the teachers’ performance is significantly influenced by different stress contributing factors which either exists within or outside the educational institution, that impede the performance of teachers, resulting in lower individual as well as institutional productivity.

To overcome stress, teachers should possess stress management skills. These can help them identify their problems, find ways to deal with them, provide support for each other, and increase their self - esteem. Teachers need to develop strategies for coping with them. As individuals, teachers have to identify the appropriate coping mechanisms. Teachers need to realize they are responsible for their reactions to stressors. No one else can control their reactions.

In addition, programs of stress management should help teachers set realistic standards for themselves. Teachers must get rid of the myth of the “super teacher” and begin to focus on and feel satisfied with the successes they have instead of thinking about what went wrong on a given day. They should learn to think about what went right must also legitimize “taking.” Many teachers have “caretaker personalities” and they care for and give to others before thinking of their own needs. They must learn that they cannot continue to give without replenishing. This means learning to “take” for oneself, even though to most teachers this idea seems unnatural and selfish.

“Taking” may be in the form of physical exercise, time outs, special events or plans to look forward to. Mental health days, nutritional diets, B and C vitamins, long baths or showers, vacations, sabbaticals or leaves, or simply saying a professional “no” to extra duties or committees (Wangberg, 2005).

Lastly, teachers need to develop environments where they can admit failures, share successes, and support one another (Newell, 1990). Support groups provide such environments. They meet at regularly scheduled times and allow each member to share while the rest of the group provides support. Between meetings, individual members can give additional support through phone calls, notes, or visits. He suggested guidelines for support groups, such as: (1). similar circumstances, (2). noncompetitive (3). willing to give constructive criticism (4). unwilling to listen to negatives or griping, and (5). committed to staying in the same group over time.

(By: Almira E. Nochefranca / Master Teacher I /
Zamboanga National High School West / Zamboanga City)




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