Increasing Teacher Stress is a Recipe for Disaster!
At a recent meeting, it came to my attention that the Oregon Teaching Standards and Practices Commissionhas been receiving an increasing number of complaints about teachers who have engaged in conduct that is extremely out of the ordinary for them as individuals, or who have acted before thinking, resulting in interactions that were then judged to be unprofessional. The Commission Director indicated that she felt this was an indicator of rising stress in the teaching force.
Rising teacher stress is painfully obvious to any objective observer and is approaching epidemic proportions. We must change it before we completely lose the excellent teachers that we now have.
But this is only the latest reminder about the scope of the problem that I have encountered. This really should not be news to those who make educational policy. Two different studies now nearly two years old sounded the alarm loud and clear. Unfortunately, both have been alternatively “spun” or just plain ignored.
One was the 2012 release of the prestigious MetLife Survey of the American Teacher - Challenges for School Leadership. This was the twenty-ninth in a series sponsored annually by MetLife since 1984 to give voice to those closest to the Classroom.
The other is the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (2013).
The way in which these two were presented to the public, however, was strikingly different. The Atlantic headlined its story on the MetLife survey "Teacher Job Satisfaction Hits 25-Year Low" and said:
Principal and teacher job satisfaction is declining. Principals’ satisfaction with their jobs in the public schools has decreased nine percentage points since it was last measured in 2008. In that same period, teacher satisfaction has dropped precipitously by 23 percentage points, including a five-point decrease in the last year, to the lowest level it has been in the survey in 25 years. A majority of teachers report that they feel under great stress at least several days a week, a significant increase from 1985 when this was last measured.But Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Oregon Save Our Schools: Increasing Teacher Stress is a Recipe for Disaster!: