Study finds 9 of 10 elementary teachers extremely stressed
COLUMBIA – A study out this week finds high stress levels among elementary teachers affect student behavior and performance.
The MU study finds that nine of 10 elementary teachers are highly stressed in the classroom. Researchers found 93 percent of teachers are stressed due to their job, leaving just a small fraction of teachers unaffected by stress.
MU College of Education professor Wendy M. Reinke said the study was conducted in a school district near St. Louis and researchers found many cases of stress among teachers.
“We started to really see how stressful that job is and we had many teachers expressing that they had a great deal of stress,” Reinke said. “We have hundreds of teachers now that have reported their level of stress.”
Reinke said the stressful environment changes how teachers cope with student needs.
“Teachers who are highly stressed and are unable to find ways to cope were the teachers we found that effects their student outcome, student achievement and student behavior problems the most,” she said.
Reinke said stress is a national problem facing graduates who go into the teaching field unprepared to handle.
“One of the things that causes a lot of stress in the classroom is teachers not knowing exactly what to do with the behavior problems that they are seeing,” she said.
Reinke said education students must be taught better classroom management skills in college before they graduate.
A doctoral student at the MU school psychology, Jale’t Hickmon-Rosa said high anxiety causes teachers to burn out, and eventually leave their job.
“Research shows half of all teachers leave the profession after five years,” Hickmon-Rosa said. Then you keep putting teachers there that aren’t qualified to their because of this shortage.”
Hickmon-Rosa said there has to be a strong emphasis in helping teachers combat stress so student performance is not as affected.
“Based off research when teachers are well supported, they perform better and students do, too,” she said. “Teachers are people, too.”