Avoiding Teacher Burnout: New Research Explains How

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A recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at Penn State found that Teachers are burning out at an alarming rate.  Around 30-40% will leave their jobs by their fifth year of teaching. There are many reasons for this turnover.  The four main reasons are stress-related and include:

  • School Organizations – Lack a supportive climate and leadership.
  • Job Demands – High-stakes testing and managing students with behavior problems produce chronic stress.
  • Work Resources – Lack of decision-making power. Teachers reported autonomy went from 18% in 2004 to 26% in 2012.
  • Teacher Social and Emotional Competence – High stress and low social-emotional competence training.

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When teachers are stressed, teachers, students, and schools suffer. High turnover costs schools $7 billion each year.  The research from Penn State found, “the cost per teacher is estimated from over $4,000 in rural areas to over $17,000 in urban districts.” The authors of this study found that there needs to be a way to prevent negative issues that impact teachers.  The authors also found few teachers receive professional development to improve their social and emotional competence.  Social and emotional learning (SEL) programs may improve student behavior and reduce teacher stress.

In March 2017, I will speak about ways to improve student behavior and teacher stress at the ABSEL Conference in Myrtle Beach.  My research I will present mirrors many of the issues found in this Penn State research, including how behavior problems are the source of teacher burnout and ways to improve behaviors in students to proactively provide teachers a less stressful classroom environment.  To find out more about improving the classroom environment to improve teachers’ stress levels, check out: What other educators are saying; to learn more about the types of training teachers receive, check out: Classroom Management Agenda.

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