Why Are Teachers So Stressed?
Last week at the Atlantic, teacher-author Timothy Walker took a broad look at the reports of teacher stress (a good follow-up to his earlier piece on teacher burnout). Walker did a good job of gathering up the current data on teacher stress, but he stopped short of one huge question. On twitter he opened the door to that question, so I'm going to go ahead and step through it.
Walker's compendium of current reports is a good one. Here's the Gallup report from 2014. The research brief out of Penn Statethis year. The admittedly unscientific survey by AFT and the BATs. He cites a representative sampling of the ubiquitous "Why I'm Quitting Teaching" letters that are now as common as empty political promises to elevate the teaching profession. And he traces the connections between teacher stress and students issues, as well as bringing in the Learning Policy Institute's recent report tying teacher stress to the huge loss of veteran teachers, in turn tied to the teacher "shortage." (He might also have folded in LPI's work showing that veteran teachers are hugely beneficial, and therefor worth holding onto.) And he wraps it up with some anecdotal data from Mike Anderson (The Well-Balanced Teacher), a traveling ed consultant.
Walker's piece makes one point exceedingly well-- there's reason to believe that teaching has become a hugely stressful line of work. His piece and the pieces that he links to suggest some causes for that (as does somebody at the Atlantic, who made the tab title of the piece "Testing, Common Core Place Additional Stress on Teachers"). Walker lumps much of it together as "an abundance of CURMUDGUCATION: Why Are Teachers So Stressed?: