Teacher Stress

Teaching is regarded as one of the most stressful professions. Teacher stress has been a topic of discussion for over a period of time. It is natural for the teachers to stress out in conditions like high stakes exams, demanding administrators, challenging students. Unproductive levels of stress has proved to be harmful which affects their teaching, personal lives and most importantly their students.

Internal characteristics are found to be one of the most important sources of teacher stress. There are six related characteristics to stress. Those are :

* Job satisfaction.

* Illness symptoms.

* Role preparedness.

* Locus of control.

* Life satisfaction.

* Self-esteem.

Stress is caused by psychological, psychological and environmental factors. Our body creates extra energy, stress occurs because our bodies do not use up the extra energy created. This reaction was first described in 1936 as General Adaption Syndrome. This symptom has three stages: a) alarm reaction b) stage of resistance c) stage of exhaustion.

Our body gets alerted during the initial stage and stress levels are the highest during this stage. Our body defenses to adapt to the second stage and levels of stress has reduced. The stage of exhaustion happens when the body's defenses toward stress become totally depleted. During this stage, physical and mental breakdown takes place and affects the individual's performance and well being.

Stressed teachers affect the environment, personally as well as professionally. Often, they are exhausted from lack of sleep and overwork, which has an impact on their preparation, their class demeanor, and their relationships with others in school. It is very important to manage stress. Teacher stress can be managed by sharing your feelings and thoughts with family and friends, exercise reduces stress.

Manifestations of teacher stress include:

* Repressions of feelings.

* Physical and emotional exhaustion.

* Lethargy.

* Depression.

* Short fuses like irritability, impatience and anger with students and colleagues.

* More frequent absences.

* General lack of resiliency.

* Difficult being organized.

* No sense of humor.

* Frequent illness.

* No time to listen to anyone.

There are a variety of proven-effective stress reduction methods teachers can use. Some of the stress reduction methods are cognitive restructuring, self-reflection, massage and exercise, meditation. Heart Math's Resilient Educator program helps teachers move from chaos to coherence. This program makes the teacher understand what stress is and helps them engage in positive emotion refocusing techniques. This helps the teachers reduce stress in schools. Teachers find satisfaction in the rewards their profession brings. For example, successfully integrating parents into the classroom

setting or acknowledging the one challenging child who has learned to value concepts being taught.

It is very important to cope with the teacher stress:

* Make a list of things you enjoy doing that are good for you. Arrange to do one a day.

* List down atleast five of your worries and rank them according to the importance you want to give them. Besides each worry, write accept, change or reject. Carry out the steps that are listed.

* Write down how you see yourself a year, five years, or ten years from now. Share your ideas and goals with someone you trust.

It is very important for teachers to cope up with their stress so that it does not affect their personal as well as professional lives.