We but also the professional world. Education is

We are in 21st century, where
booming marketisation, globalization and consumerism play their respective
roles in inducing a greater sense of competition and growing complexities not
only in personal but also the professional world. Education is one sole area
which has its branches spread out to every single person/entity – children,
parents, teachers, community, society, nation. The ever-dynamic job of teaching
and managing education is facing more stress day by day. Mismatch in demands
and excessive pressures on a person, with limited abilities and coping
mechanisms is generally thought of as stress (Areekkuzhiyil,2014).

According to TES news report of 2015,
teaching is amongst top three most stressful occupations. The trends are not
limited to just a single country, but in most of the nations across the globe.
Workload is cited as one of the biggest concerns for this issue. Headlines like
‘Principals reveal job stress, feelings of isolation in new paper’ (Herald Sun, August 13, 2017),
speak unambiguously how this role is way more challenging than before. Teachers
are posed to very high levels of stress, nearly double rate, comparatively from
other occupations (Barker, 2004).

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Is it possible to reduce stress in teaching
sector? How is it possible to unload the non- teaching or clerical tasks from
the shoulders of a teacher? What needs to be done to check the high turnover
rates in teaching? Before analyzing solutions to these questions, it becomes
pragmatic to understand the growing number of factors which induce stress
amongst educators and teachers.

Causes of Stress

Various researches have found significant
factors which act as culprits in teaching job satisfaction. Areekkuzhiyil
(2014) pointed towards the role conflicts, growing role demands at schools and
increased non-academic works at institutions such as clerical tasks, compiling
records, reports generation, maintaining records as the primary causes for
generating organizational stress amongst teachers. Negative work culture based
on blame-games and denial of problems and lack of recognition and encouragement
from the higher authorities need to given attention too.

I wish to second these factors as I have
personally witnessed one of my colleague, in the college where I worked as a
lecturer, feeling excessive burden of non-academic tasks at work. Apart from
teaching English to post-graduate students, she used to be assigned jobs of
writing for the college magazines, quarterly college reports, handling the
public speaking competitions for the college, preparing students for these
competitions and if anything left, then write down the messages to be delivered
by the college management and principal annually! In India, finding teachers on
streets, going, door-to-door to enumerate census data is quite common. During
elections, teachers get appointed at election duties to manage the booths.
Politics is deeply intertwined with education, affecting the choice and
decision of teachers in imparting curriculum.

Pressure to excel, fall in line with the
tailored-assessment criteria is certainly taking toll on the mental and
emotional health of the educators. Political complexities pose a challenge for
this role too. Sense of responsibility towards all the stakeholders, brings no
break to this duty. Multitasking the activities in schools, expanded roles,
constant interruptions, insufficient time to wind up the task assigned for the
day, keeping up with emails, accountability, running against deadlines are what
the administrators are fraught with (Wells, 2013).

Managing students who have behaviorial
issues and coping and dealing with parents are two challenging interpersonal issues
that further become a cause of chronic stress, thus leaving teachers with more
susceptibility to stress (Burke, Chan & Neece, 2017).

Advent of globalization, enhanced
competitiveness, growing technologies further add up to job stress. Also, the
social environment at workplace, lack of privacy greatly affects the
psychological health of teachers. Exclusion and marginalization at workplace,
behavioral and organizational barriers and micro level incursions such as
avoidance, distancing or silencing. (Evans & Chun 2007). Inclusion of
teachers in decision making processes gets adversely impacted by tokenism,
stereotyping, isolation, delegitimization where social categorization amongst
colleagues takes place negatively. Demanding job and stress when gets combined
with low emotional intelligence and inefficient class management skills,
teachers’ efficiency to teach gets negatively impacted. A teacher’s emotional well-being
is one of the most important factors which influences student and classroom efficiency
and results. Unfortunately, few teachers received training opportunities to
develop their emotional and psychological strength. If a teacher fails to
manage their stress, their instruction will suffer, which then further impacts
student achievement and progress. On the contrary, teachers with high emotional
quotient report more positive impact, greater support and job satisfaction, and
better sense of personal accomplishment (Pennsylvania University Report, 2016)

Autonomy and degree of control causes
burnout amongst teachers too (Wagner et al., 2012). When school management and higher
authorities provide more opportunities of decision-making and collaboration to teachers,
it offers them greater empowerment and job satisfaction. Teachers rate the
lowest in the feeling that their opinions and voice really matter at work.
According to ‘The Pennsylvania State University’ report, 2016 the percentage of
teachers who report low job autonomy has increased from 18 percent in 2004 to
26 percent in 2012. Retaining high quality teachers would mean to ensure that can
raise their opinion in school-level decisions, and not being to unrealistic
expectations. In addition, colleague support and job control are key issues involved
in growing stress amongst educators. Greater control over jobhas been found to
reduce the impact of stress on health in teachers.

Leadership styles at schools determine the
stress levels experienced by the teachers. A supportive school culture, strong
principal leadership and a collaborative, collegial environment are associated
with higher job satisfaction among teachers and intentions of novice teachers
to continue teaching. High-teacher trust in both their colleagues and
leadership is related to lower stress and burnout. Unsatisfactory relationships
with administrators, colleagues, or students may increase teacher stress, lower
job satisfaction and lower commitment to students. There is also a relationship
between teacher turnover and principal turnover. Frequent principal turnover
results in lower teacher retention rates. Leadership changes are particularly
harmful for high poverty schools, low achieving schools, and schools with many
inexperienced teachers.

Consequences

The impact of stress is something which
could not be measured with some technical device, yet the risks and dangers
involved in it are too high. Reduced efficiency, lack of initiative, loss of
interest in work, day-dreaming, absent-mindedness, no concern for the organization,
aggressive behavior, absenteeism, avoidance reducing sense of responsibility
are some key visible signs of stress amongst the teachers and educators
(Areekkuzhiyil, 2014).

Emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, burnouts,
reduced sense of personal accomplishment, high turnover and low self esteem are
associated with the negative impacts of growing stress in educational sector
(Wagner et al., 2012). In a research conducted in the US by