Stress: “A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”*. With pressures to surpass results year on year, whilst keeping up with an ever-changing curriculum, being a teacher isn’t easy. As one of the country’s leading insurance providers to the care industry, we undertook a survey to find out: why and what really stresses teachers; where in the UK teachers are most stressed; and how these figures impact on our education system.
Why are UK teachers so stressed?
The high level of stress experienced by teachers can be attributed to a number of factors. The most common reasons identified by our survey showed an emphasis on achieving high exam results, a heavy focus on school performance targets, and the frequency of curriculum changes.
What makes UK teachers stressed?
It will come as no surprise to hear that teacher stress increases during certain events throughout the year, most notably around Ofsted inspections. School trips are another source of stress for many teachers. We have some advice on how to reduce stress levels when planning school trips.
Where in the UK are teachers most stressed?
Classroom stress levels seem to vary across the country. Our survey shows that teachers in the Midlands are particularly stressed, with almost 80% claiming that they’re more stressed today than they were when they started teaching. This figure is followed by teachers in the North West, of whom almost three quarters admitted to finding teaching more stressful now than when they first started. London is the region with the least stressed teachers (70%) which is surprising given how hectic life is in the capital.
What is the overall impact of stressed teachers on our education system?
With over 250,000 days lost each school year to teachers taking stress leave, burn out is a problem in the teaching profession. Over a quarter of science and history teachers have considered resigning due to stress.
How to reduce teacher stress
To prevent or reduce teacher stress in schools, the symptoms and causes of stress need to be recognised as early as possible. This can be done by empowering teachers to recognise and seek appropriate help or by the school recognising untreated symptoms.
Early diagnosis and action of the problem reduces the risk of additional stress and a long term absence. In addition, encouraging a healthy environment through healthy eating options, exercise, and good time management can help to improve overall staffroom morale. We would encourage all teachers feeling unduly stressed to seek help internally, and if you can’t do that, contact the Education Support Partnership.
*Oxford Dictionary definition
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