Very high levels of work stress are experienced by approximately 40 percent of teachers. As a result, early career teachers are leaving while too many experienced teachers are suffering from burnout and a variety of mental health problems. The inescapable fact is that teaching today is harder than it’s ever been. A survey on occupational stress, published in the Journal of Managerial Psychology ranked teaching as the second most stressful job out of 26 occupations analysed.
Australian studies also show that 35- 40 percent of school principals feel overwhelmed by their workloads. They wear too many hats, work long hours, are subjected to harassment and bullying and are often highly stressed by the lack of support in all areas of managing school needs. Principals experience six times more physical violence at work than the general population. Work impacts on family, work-related conflict (e.g., exhaustion) is on the rise.
The good news is that people are not passive pieces of plasticine. They can with positive leadership and culture, proper support and with strong social and psychological capacity, minimise the impact of stressful conditions (job overload, difficult people).
This presentation will summarise what the research indicates as the main work conditions and personal dispositions that determine levels of stress. A resilient mindset for managing stress will be described including stress-minimising attitudes (e.g. self-acceptance) and coping skills (e.g. mindfulness, time management).
Michael E. Bernard, Ph.D. is a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne Graduate School of Education and an Emeritus Professor, California State University, Long Beach. He is the author of over 50 books, 15 book chapters, and 30 journal articles in areas associated with peak performance, resilience, parenting and mental health including his latest publication, Stress Management for Teachers and Principals (ASG). He is the Founder of You Can Do It! Education www.youcandoiteducation.com.au ; www.youcandoitparents.com.au , a program for promoting student social-emotional wellbeing and achievement used in over 5,000 schools in Australia. He has designed and conducted high performance mindset and resilience professional development programs www.workmindset.com.au for the Department of Education and the Bastow Institute for Educational Leadership. As an educational psychologist, Michael has directly worked with many educators and parents experiencing high levels of stress and has conducted professional development workshops with teachers on-leave from work due to stress.