*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Study Finds.
Teaching is a stressful job. Just in case you weren’t convinced about that, a recent poll finds teaching is tied with nursing as the most stressful job in the United States. While it isn’t exactly breaking news that teaching can be stressful, a new study is adding an entirely new dimension to the problem of the country’s perpetually exhausted and stressed out educators.
Researchers from the University of Missouri say that stress felt by teachers can have a “trickle-down effect” on their students. This unfortunately can lead to more disruptive behavior and more disciplinary measures, like suspensions.
The original idea for this study comes from Jennifer Lloyd, a high school English teacher by day and graduate student at UM by night. Lloyd noticed that her students often picked up on how she was feeling on a particularly stressful day and changed their own actions and attitudes accordingly.
“If I come into class from a rough meeting or a stressful morning and I bring those feelings into the classroom environment, the kids notice,” Lloyd explains in a university release. “Sometimes they will give that negative energy right back to me, and we all end up having a bad day.”
The teacher’s experiences inspired her sister Colleen Eddy, a doctoral student at the MU College of Education, to investigate the relationship between teacher stress and student behavior. Together with a group of colleagues, Eddy passed out teacher surveys and held classroom observation sessions in nine local Missouri elementary schools.
That research reveals a compelling trend. When a teacher is feeling extra stressed out and emotionally exhausted, their students are more likely to be suspended or disciplined.