Magazine article District Administration

Teacher Stress Rising, but Venting Helps

Magazine article District Administration

Teacher Stress Rising, but Venting Helps

Article excerpt

Several surveys in recent years have confirmed what many educators need no survey to tell them: Teachers are stressed out. With standardized tests pressuring teachers to improve student performance, researchers say the problem is getting worse.

"Reducing stress involves predicting the problem and then controlling it, but they can't control it in many cases," says Dr. Mark Attridge of Optum, a Minneapolis-based health consulting firm. "If you know you can't control it, it's even worse. You know that [troublesome] kid in your fifth hour is going to be at you, and now you have to conform to all these national and statewide standards. So, there's even less control over your own class."

Echoing the results of other surveys on the subject, a 1998 Optum study in Minnesota found that 44 percent of educators endured high stress levels. The high stress was reported by educators of all ranks and cut through age, economic and gender boundaries. Many studies have shown that educators cited a lack of support from administrators as a key source of stress.

Optum followed up its research over several years to find solutions. Attridge said his firm established "behavioral" stress relief strategies at an inner city Minneapolis school to give teachers greater control and less costly alternatives to prescribed medications. …

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