Teachers and parents, please take a note. Researchers have found that 94 per cent of middle school teachers experience high levels of stress, which could contribute to negative outcomes for the students. Reducing the burden of teaching, experienced by so many teachers, is critical to improving student success -- both academically and behaviourally, the research added.
The study, which expands on work that looks at stress among elementary school teachers, provides additional evidence that teacher-stress might lead to negative outcomes for the students.
"Unfortunately, our findings suggest many teachers are not getting the support they need to adequately cope with the stressors of their jobs," said study researcher Keith Herman from the University of Missouri in the US.
"The evidence is clear that teacher stress is related to student success, so it is critical that we find ways to reduce stressful school environments while also helping teachers cope with the demands of their jobs," Herman added.
For the findings, published in the Journal of School Psychology, the research team studied data collected from nine middle schools in two neighbouring urban school districts in the Midwest.
Factors analysed included self-reported levels of teacher stress and coping, student disruptive and pro-social behaviour, and parent involvement.
The researchers found that nearly all teachers reported high stress. They also found that teachers varied in the ways they coped with stress. The largest group, 66 percent, reported high stress and high coping. Nearly one-third of the participants, 28 per cent, reported high stress and low coping. According to the study, only six per cent of middle school teachers reported low levels of stress and high coping ability.
"There are research-based tools that can help screen and identify teachers who might be at risk for problems related to stress, coping and the risk of burnout," Herman said.
"Knowing what we know about how teacher stress can impact students, it is imperative that district and school leaders examine policies and practices that make the job less burdensome while also supporting teachers' well-being," Herman added.