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Factors and experiences of stress among primary school teachers

Laura Raspor (2018) Factors and experiences of stress among primary school teachers. MSc thesis.

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    Stress is our life's companion and can have stimulating effects but more often than not causes anguish and emotional exertion in professional life. Employees working in helping professions, among which are teachers, experience special kinds of distress. Teachers are generally known to be enthusiastic and energetic at the beginning of their teaching careers, but can lose pedagogical eros during the years of service. Primary education teachers have to deal with burdening class situations, home work, student assessment, paperwork, need to deal with the demands of their superiors and have to work with the parents of their pupils. All of the previously mentioned factors cause stress, which is often not recognized as hazardous by teachers until they reach the point of burnout. Stress is a response (reaction) of organism to certain factors we call stressors. Stress is mostly referred to as something negative, although it is in fact a necessary and vital life factor, as it encourages an individual to be effective in one’s life. The negative stress or distress occurs when an individual is put up against tasks one feels one cannot cope with. Signs of stress can occur on physical, behavioural or emotional level. The consequences of ineffective dealing with stress are not only important on a level of an individual, but also on a level of organization the individual is a part of, as well as on a level of broader society. It is for this fact that stress makes for such an important research topic. The main purpose of the research was to establish the degree of stress experienced by teachers of primary education and to find out which stressors are the commonest, strongest, and most important in teachers. The goal was also to establish the connection between the previously mentioned evaluations of stress and some aspects of teachers' lives (age, length of service, gender, organizational form of school in which a teacher is employed, satisfaction in romantic relationships, class in which a teacher works, the number of children in family and their age, perception of co-workers' and management’s support, the frequency of sport and other recreational activities). In this part, descriptive and quantitative research methods have been used. The findings show that teachers generally experience moderate stress. The strongest stressor turned out to be the parent-teacher relationship and the behaviour of parents, while both the commonest and most important stressor proved to be the workload, that is to say, a lot of admin work. Teachers experience stress more at the end of the school year. Stress is strongly experienced by women, the oldest age group and the group of teachers with the longest service. In general, teachers who work at subsidiary schools and those in a romantic relationship, specially in an unhappy one, experience greater stress. Greater stress is also experienced by teachers who either teach a combination of three grades or the sixth grade, by those who have four or more children and those who have preschool children. The support of the superiors and co-workers is in a moderate positive correlation with the evaluation of stress. Frequent use of activities that teachers find relaxing helps reduce their stress. Teachers know there are many ways they can prevent stress themselves but also know they can get even more help within the school system, management, co-workers, parents, teachers... The data obtained through the questionnaires given to the primary education teachers shows the presence of stress and shows the field of teachers' work where stress is strongly expressed. The data can be the basis for further research for the benefit of teachers' well-being and consequently greater pedagogical efficiency.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: Stress, stressors in teachers, workload, burnout, primary teacher education
    Number of Pages: 155
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Alenka PolakMentor
    asist. dr. Polona GradišekComentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/12259657
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5542
    Date Deposited: 28 Dec 2018 09:23
    Last Modified: 28 Dec 2018 09:23
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5542

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