Work Induced Stress – Why Modern Teachers Are Burning Out

by Ella Wilson
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Student-centered learning methods of the 21st-century have transformed the educational world for good. Analyzing whether students are learning or not was a huge part of traditional clockwork lectures. The learning outcome was always delivered in the form of final results. However, modern teachers use feedback to ensure their instructions are clearly reaching the students.

These major modifications in the educational sector have certainly improved the standards of learning and outcome. However, apart from these changes, another change has been observed in the teacher’s health. According to a recent report by IAO, 60% of teachers showed symptoms of burning out. They reported that they frequently suffer from headaches, stomach aches, and dizziness. All these symptoms of burning out were accompanied with fewer hours of sleep and rest. Despite the assistance of technology, teachers have gone into overdrive and barely get time to catch a breath.

What is Burnout and Why it Matters

Professionals in the hectic and demanding field of work often burnout and it never ends well for them or people around them. This mental state of exhaustion is usually defined as burnout which is generally a result of overworking. Burnout is not always mental, but its symptoms are mostly physical and emotional that drags an individual in a mental state where work becomes nothing but a burden. A person who admires his/her job loses interest in work and is likely to quit.

Possible causes of Teacher Burnout

Teaching is not the profession where you get a lot of time to rest up. It is a continuous cycle of waking up in the morning, engaging with students, checking notes, a lot of socializing, and all of this requires the teacher to stay in a fresh state of mind. It is a tiring job that puts teachers at a high risk of stress. According to research conducted by IAO, recently more teachers are quitting their jobs which is resulting in a teacher shortage.

Here are a few factors that may contribute to a teacher’s burnout;

  • One of the major reasons for burnout among modern teachers is student behavior. Due to the advent of the internet, technology, and communication differences, the behavior of students towards class and teachers has changed a lot and it’s not entirely good. This change in student behavior could be a reason why burnout rates are increasing.
  • Technology is contributing a lot to the teacher’s burnout. The workload has increased exponentially due to digital resources. Students expect teachers to be know-it-all, whereas the majority of teachers are not tech-savvy. In the 21st century, teachers are learning just as much as students. Teaching while trying their best to be updated with the EdTech trends can be exhausting for the teachers.
  • New educational trends are complex and require resources. Unfortunately, educational institutes are still not well equipped to provide teachers with adequate technological resources. Teachers are handling classes with limited resources which only burns them out.
  • Often institute management don’t take the concerns of teachers seriously. While making important decisions about class, the opinion of teachers is not taken into account. This lack of communication and trust between the school administrations and teachers can make it harder for educators to teach.
  • Classes are not easy to handle anymore. Traditional classes used to be smaller, simpler, and easy to manage. However, classes have now become larger and more complex. Teaching large classes can be challenging for teachers who are already adjusting to new educational trends.
  • When it comes to causes of teacher stress, salary may be at the end of the totem pole but it is a huge contributing factor. Teachers who are not satisfied with their salaries often deal with acute stress.

How Teacher Burnout Impacts Learning

  • Slow Learning Process

Stressed out teachers are not as involved in the learning of students. Their lack of interest slows down the class progress and reduce student performance as well. When teachers don’t show interest, naturally students become clumsy in doing part as well. This exchange of negative energy slows down the class learning process.

  • Absenteeism

One of the biggest consequence of Burnout is lack of interest in work. People who are dealing with work related burnout often lose interest in their favorite activities. It is for the same reason that so many teachers are quitting their jobs. This has a negative impact on class performance as teachers who burn out tend to take excessive days off.

  • Poor Class Environment

Burning out is a major mental and emotional state which has a huge impact on the mood. Teachers usually bring a low mood to class which can result in overall poor class environment. Student learning and class engagement is highly impacted by teacher’s mood, a teacher who is dealing with stress avoids engagement with peers and students. This lack of engagement and low energy in the classroom can result in poor class environment.

  • Resistant to changes

Stressed out teacher becomes rigid to changes and hesitates from trying out new things in class. They are narrow-minded when it comes to new teaching methods. This is another consequence of lack of interest in student learning. A class that is supervised by a stressed out teacher is monotonous and regressive.

Teachers who notice symptoms of stress or burnout should take adequate precautions to deal with their mental health. Class performance, student learning, and health relies highly on the educator, therefore, it is an urgent issue to deal with staggering increase in teacher burnout.

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