*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Phys.org.
Hormonal changes, different schools, more teachers and changing expectations are just some of the challenges families face when a child enters middle school. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have found that 94% of middle school teachers experience high levels of stress, which could contribute to negative outcomes for students. Researchers say that reducing the burden of teaching experienced by so many teachers is critical to improving student success—both academically and behaviorally.
“Many studies of teacher stress have used samples from elementary schools,” said Keith Herman, professor in the MU College of Education. “However, middle school is a particularly important time in students’ lives as they transition from elementary school and have many different teachers. It’s critical that we understand how stress impacts middle school teachers so we can find ways to support them.”
The new study, which expands on work looking at stress among elementary school teachers, provides additional evidence that teacher stress might lead to negative outcomes for students. Factors that went into the analysis included self-reported levels of teacher stress and coping, student disruptive and prosocial behavior, and parent involvement.
Herman and his research team studied data collected from nine middle schools in two neighboring urban school districts in the Midwest. The researchers found that nearly all teachers reported high stress. They also found that teachers varied in how they coped with stress. The largest group, 66%, reported high stress and high coping.
The study was published in the Journal of School Psychology.