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Teacher Wellness: Stress, and How Admins Can Help

Janelle Cox

There are a many things that can cause teacher stress, from the rise in student demands and dealing with challenging parents to an increase in workload and time constraints. Anyone who has a classroom full of students can attest to the fact that there are things that stress them out about their job. Here we’ll take a look at a few of the biggest triggers that may be causing teacher stress, and we’ll discuss some teacher wellness suggestions on what to do about it.

Teacher Wellness: Causes of Stress

Teacher stress can be caused by a lot of things. Here are a few of the biggest triggers.

Rise in Student Demands

A rush to meet a rise in student demands and expectations can really take a toll on a teacher. Having the pressure to “Teach to the test” because there is an emphasis on test scores and standardized testing can make a teacher feel the pressure.

Lack of Training

Lack of training is another cause of teacher stress. When teachers feel that they do not have enough adequate training, whether it be on the strategies they must implement or the technology they are expected to use, this can cause a lot of anxiety.

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Demanding Parents

While teacher stress is usually blamed on unruly students or unrealistic expectations, demanding parents are now being deemed the real culprit of teacher stress. From helicopter parents to lawnmower parents, these adults are mowing down any obstacle that may come their child’s way, which makes it extremely hard for teachers to do their job effectively.

Time Constraints

The lack of time given to teachers to efficiently and effectively get things done in order to meet administrations’ requirements is another cause of teacher stress. There are only so many hours in the day, and days in the week that teachers have to be with their students. When they feel pressured to meet the requirements within a small time frame, it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety.

Increased Workload

Unsustainable workloads are another cause of teacher stress. Teachers who must routinely sacrifice their lunch breaks, evenings and weekends to prep and plan or do unnecessary paperwork are feeling the pressure.

Unruly Children

Last but not least is children that do not behave well. When you have to deal with unruly children day in and day out, it is not easy, and can affect your overall well-being.

Solutions for Teacher Stress

In order to decrease the stress level in teachers, you must first figure out what their triggers are, then find a way to fix them. Here are a few simple suggestions that can help resolve teacher stress.

Lower Demands

An easy way to combat teachers who are stressed out about the rise in demands and expectations, is to simply lower them. Teachers have a lot of responsibilities, from lessons to plan, papers to grade, parents to deal with, there list is neverending. You must cut them some slack, or you will find that your teacher turnover rate will increase due to stress and burnout.

Get Adequate Teacher Training

The last thing an educated teacher wants is to feel that they are not doing their job effectively. When they do not have the adequate training to do their job, then they will feel hopeless. If administration wants their teachers to use a specific curriculum, book series, teaching strategy, or piece of technology, then they must make ensure that their teachers are trained to do so. 

Have Teachers’ Backs

Dealing with parents is not always easy, and in order to ensure teachers do not get overly stressed when dealing with them, administration must have their backs. This means that when a teacher is having an issue with a parent, administration needs to be on their side. Teachers need to know their superiors are always there for them.

Utilize Technology

An easy solution to the stress of time constraints is to utilize technology.  Allow teachers to do their lesson plans online, adopt Google Classroom and other platforms for the school to use. Any way to make life easier on teachers through the use of technology will help.

Decrease Teacher Workload

Teachers have an overwhelming daily to-do list, and doing this every single day all year can lead to teacher burnout. An easy way to decrease teacher workload is to again, utilize technology. Having email, Google Classroom, parent-teacher communication apps, Smartboards and tablets can all help decrease the time spent completing their to-do list.

Implement a Student Behavior Plan

All schools must have a student behavior management plan that is general and easy to follow. While each individual teacher will have her own classroom behavior management plan, an overall school plan will help to deter unruly behavior from the students. These schoolwide rules and policies not only help to deter unwanted behavior, but also help to support classroom teachers.

Administration has the ability to help decrease teacher burnout and stress. Simply taking the time to ask teachers what they need to feel at ease can go a long way. Give teachers the training and technology they need, always have their back when they need it, and don’t put too much pressure or demands on them. Then you will see your teachers flourish.

How do you think administrators can help teacher stress?


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a master’s of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the elementary education expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.