Job Stress

Stress is an inherent part of daily living and has been a part of human existence since man started to walk on this earth. During prehistoric times, stressful situations occurred in the form of finding food to eat and dodging dinosaurs. Today, stress is a part of everything we do from home life, to child raising and especially on the job. Job stress can become overbearing for first year teachers, as the transition to becoming a full-time teacher can be quite exhausting. Providing a support network in the form of a mentor can immensely help first year teacher’s transition into the classroom. The ever-present responsibilities of raising a family, coupled with responding to email messages and teaching six classes of children each day can overload individuals with job stress.

On the job stress has skyrocketed over the past few years. Many leading experts feel job stress for first year teachers is a time bomb waiting to explode. Many school districts are trying to get more productivity with less staff, which has forced many teachers to work longer hours with less feedback from peers.

Job stress for first year teachers can be caused by a number of factors:

1. Lack of money for supplies

2. Understaffing

3. Disciplinary problems in the classroom

4. Lack of a mentor

5. Lack of experience

6. Discrimination in the workplace

Especially alarming is the increased job stress on teachers due to harassment and discrimination they may receive from administrators, principals or even students. This can be manifested in the form of sexual harassment, racism, age discrimination or other commonly held biases held in society. Diversity training programs have been developed and implemented in many instances to try and control the behavior of employees, but many inappropriate situations concerning discrimination continues to occur in the workplace. Traditional training seminars and utilization of a learning management system for staff development will help to educate employees of the devastating effects discrimination and harassment can have on fellow employees.

As reported by the US Department of Labor, over 80% of workers surveyed feel stress on the job. In addition, nearly 40% of workers feel extremely overstressed at their job. Escalating stressful situations emerging in the workplace around the country has precipitated the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to declare job stress as a hazard in the workplace. As a result, job stress is costing employers millions of dollars annually in lost productivity and absenteeism. It is estimated that job stress costs employers more than $300 billion annually, which breaks down to about $7,500 per worker. Job stress can also be detrimental to the overall health of employees. Serious health problems can result from a large amount of negative stress.

Job stress can affect your overall health:

1. Back pain

2. Neck pain

3. Migraine

4. Chest pain (angina)

5. Irregular heart beat (arrhythmia)

6. Heart attack

7. Stroke

The bottom line is that job stress is a serious problem in the workplace today, and will continue to be a growing epidemic into the future. Diversity training programs will need to be embraced and expanded in the future to ensure stress levels can be kept in check.