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Primary or elementary level of education is crucial where young ones are being dependent to and nurtured by teachers. Teaching profession is undeniably working intertwined with stress. With the required skills to perform their duties at its best, teachers expected to attain a certain level of competency of their profession. The main purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between occupational stress level and teaching competency among elementary teachers assigned in public elementary schools in Oas South District. This study will be descriptive-correlational as methodology which has the aim to find out the competency and stress level of public elementary school teachers. This study also attempts to investigate the level of stress depending on the level of competency of teachers. The findings of this study is hoped to add to the existing body of knowledge and contribute to the understanding about the nature of competency and occupational stress by teachers.
Keywords: teaching competency, teacher stress, elementary education
Education is the body of knowledge which has the power to maximize one’s capacities. Human beings could not be on the right mind or be intellect today if they were not cultivated and educated. There is a strong belief that the quality of the nation rests on the quality of its people. The quality of its people depends on the quality of education they have received and that quality depends upon the schoolteacher’s commitment and competence they have offered.
Teaching is labelled as a noblest profession; it is not just simply revolving at making money for a living but it is a service rendered for the society’s development. The responsibility of moulding the future is carried by the teachers. The nation is dependent to the abilities and effectiveness of teachers. They were given the name as creator, for they were creating other professions such as doctors, engineers, leaders, philosopher, and many more; plus, their job will never be uncomplicated. Rough and demanding efforts are exerted by teacher in and out of the classroom where they interact with the community they belong with. With these purposes, it is indeed a call for a teacher to be finely coached and absorbed competencies to execute their job at its best. A teacher could be encouraged to improve their job which enables them to multitask in the classroom as well as in the school and community if they are required to obtain professional competencies and commitment; these would help them to perform their job in a professional manner.
With all the strengths an individual has to have for the attainment of the job, such fluctuating difficulties in the professional life are perceived. Literally, the concepts of stress are intertwined with occupational life and it’s no longer escapable. Even though different associations trying to mend the negative effects of occupational stress, it does not give a thorough assurance that stress will subside.
Competency is the ability to utilize the knowledge and capacities in order to construct a necessitated result. It is the ability to execute activities within the occupation; to function to what is expected and to do the task even under diverse circumstances. It cannot be perceived exactly therefore it has to be gathered through various performance based test. There are competency standards which could measure the usefulness of trainings, improved the efficiency, productivity, and recruitment among employees, safely. (Trinder, 2008)
The term “teacher competencies” are expressed as the overall knowledge, abilities and approaches required by a teacher in order to successfully accomplish the requirements of the educating profession. (MEB, 2006 & Koksal, 2014). It is written in the Encyclopedia Dictionary of Education (1997) that teaching competency was defined as the condition of being able to demonstrate the skills in the suitable performance of a learning task. For B K. Passi and M.S. Lalitha, teaching competency is an efficient implementation of all noticeable behaviors of a teacher that could show up the anticipated student’s results.
From the suggestion of Bhargava & Pathy (2011), the well-defined set of competencies are influenced by authorities working on the field of education, is where the teaching count on. In the Philippines, there is a framework for the teacher’s performance so-called the National Competency Based Teacher Standards (NCBTS), where the recommended teacher competencies are clearly explained. It has 7 domains as follows: Domain 1 – Social Regard for Learning, Domain 2 – The Learning Environment, Domain 3 – Diversity of Learners, Domain 4 – Curriculum, Domain 5 – Planning, Assessing and Reporting, Domain 6 – Community Linkages and Domain 7 – Personal Growth and Professional Development.
According to Pantic and Wubbels (2010), the most important competency for teacher’s view was the identity and professional development. But on the other hand, what they view as the least important was the teacher’s involvement in the development of the national educational systems.
Competency is created from the acquired education and experiences interrelated to the profession. It is somehow matured through exposure from the on-the-job training where such activities could test the individual’s’ capacity to survive in various situations and improves its ability to handle new challenges. As the individual obtain different experiences and the ability to manage it also improves, then the higher level of competency is being attained.
In the Philippines, professionals are so much familiar with the Republic Act 10912 commonly known as the CPD Law of 2016. This is an Act of Mandating and Strengthening the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program for all Regulated Profession, includes the professional teacher. CPD signifies educating innovative information, abilities and proper values in a professional field of study, in order to be adapted in the professional method, permanent learning and/or self-directed study. As part of the CPD Law, professionals have to earn credit units by joining in CPD programs. This credit unit indicates the value of the learning from the CPD program which can be transmitted into a qualification. As for the professional teachers, before they could renew their license, they are required to complete 45 credit units in the span of three (3) years. CPD programs are collection of learning activities which provide the professionals with their needed innovative information, abilities and values. Seminars, workshops, technical lectures, subject matter meetings, non-degree training lectures, modules and tours/visits are the samples of the CPD programs where a professional could enhance their potentialities.
To assist people to attain the necessitated result, competency based training is designed whatever the task it is demanded to accept. The training must be grounded from the set of the competency standards. Bhargava & Pathy (2011) explored the perceptions about the teaching competencies among student teachers, wherein the competencies were classified into personal and professional. The result of the study showed that the favoured teacher’s personal competencies of the students are confidence, intellectual, sociability, politeness and persistence. As for the teacher’s professional competencies, it consist of expertise in the subject, efficient skills in communication, strictness, punctuality and having a wide understanding in the nature of child psychology.
Furthermore, there is a study conducted by Oliva, et al (2009) which presented that the preliminary training for teachers ought to be an in depth process giving emphasis on the competencies needed and interrelated to the management and organization of teaching-learning, the proper usage in the primary classroom of advance technological skills, social skills which includes involvement with students and families, values education and professional skills when working with professional groups. “The impact of professional competency and creativity on professional pleasure” is a study conducted by Kanakala Jayaram (2010) which aimed to find the relationship among the variables – creativity, professional pleasure, professional competency and above all the socio demographic. The study has arrived to the major conclusions that (1) there is a significant positive correlation between the creativity and professional competency; (2) professional competency has the significant positive correlation with the professional pleasure and lastly (3) the socio demographic variables such as age,sex and locality do not affect the professional competency.
The idea of stress was originally introduced by Hans Selye in 1936 as “the force, pressure, or strain exerted upon a material object or person which resist these forces and attempts to maintain its original state.” According to him, as cited in (Pokhrel, 2017), every actions and events both helpful and undesirable would become stressful as long as it embraces changes to be adopted by people.
Stress is usually depicted with a collection of negative emotional state and responses that has been associated with pressuring and difficult situation (Cordon, 1997; Pohkrel, 2017). Fevre, Matheny & Kolt (2003) presented the 2 types of stress, the Eustress and Distress. Eustress is frequently labelled as moderate and low stress while distress is equivalent to high level of stress. Teacher stress according to Kyriacou (1987) is the stress felt by teachers in the course of dismissing the accountabilities, where hostile emotions such as depression, frustration, tension, and anger are caused by the nature of teachers’ work. Teachers experiencing eustress could view it as a driving force to meet the occupational demands and portrayed an increased value of work life. In contrast, distress is damaging the teacher’s source of power to be able to accomplish the job demands and it might result to shrunken work life. . (Newell, 2002; Fevre, et al, 2003; Leka, Griffiths & Cox, 2004; Millward, 2005)
Traditionally, teacher has been noted as a profession functioning with a low level of stress (French et al., 1982) but the situation flipped after twenty years. (Olivier & Venter, 2003). Teaching as a profession became more challenging due to paper works, changed rules and regulations and uncontrollable students. School teachers, among different occupational groups, have been identified to be functioning under high level of stress as a profession. (Malik, Nudler & Meinhe, 1998; Johnson et al., 2005; Newberry & Allsop, 2017). Teachers from many countries report high levels of stress (see e.g. Chaplain, 2008; Johnson & Birkeland, 2003; Kyriacou, 2001; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2015) There is a universal observation among teachers surveyed who have testified their jobs as highly or extremely stressful (Kyriacou and Sutcliffe, 1978; Boriles, 1982; Borg and Falzon, 1989; Soloman and Feld, 1989; O Connor and Guglielmi &Tatrow, 1998; Pithers and Soden, 1998).
Hammond & Okinawa (1997) stated “In educational sector, stress is increasing day by day because teaching today’s young people is not only arduous work, but can be dangerously stressful. Anxiety due to school reform efforts, minimal administrative support, poor working circumstances, lack of involvement in school decision making, encumbrance paperwork, and lack of resources has been identified as factors that can cause stress among educators.” In the study of Kaur (2011), the stress experienced by teachers is the effect of the unsatisfied needs and requests from the school management. Bachkirova (2005) added other causes of stress which roughly impossible to fulfil such as dilemma to face students, parents and the school. According to him, giving more responsiveness is a need to reduce the negative effects of the occupational stress experiencing by teachers.
Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defined stress as a “pressure, tension or worry resulting from problem in one’s life. It is considered to be a factor of several illnesses.” From the research conducted by Mingoa, the most common physical ailments of the Filipino teachers in her study whines about are as follows: (1) fatigue – 71%, (2) aching neck and shoulder muscles – 41%, (3) lower back pain -39%, (4) sleep disturbances and insomnia – 34%, (5) migraine headaches – 22% and (6) menstrual distress or irregularities – 22%. The complaints about aching necks and shoulders and lower back are linked with their work description. Additionally, research evidences have specified that work related stress among teachers could bring serious effects for their work performance, health and psychological status (Capel, 1987; Cooper, 1986; Pierce and Molly, 1990). Health and psychological status and outcomes can lead to poorer teaching performance, reduced job satisfaction, increased absenteeism, insignificant decision making and immoral judgement (Eckles, 1987; Quick and Quick, 1984).
Uncountable studies have been conducted to measure the stress level, the teaching competency, the cause and effect of stress, how the stress could affect the competency and so on. However, there is no similar or related studies conducted that investigates on the level of stress depending on the level of the teaching competency among public elementary school teachers. Additionally, secondary and higher education teachers from universities were always the chosen respondents while public elementary school teachers based researchers were few, even in the Philippines.
Conducting a research about the level of teaching competency and the occupational stress among teachers and their relationship could contribute to the future planning of programs like seminars and workshops for the well-being of elementary school teachers. Also the result can be used as an appeal or demand to increase the salary or rewards received to stimulate the eagerness of the public elementary school teachers to work on increasing their competency level.
As such, this paper sought to find the level of teaching competency and the stress level among the public elementary school teachers of Oas South District and find the relationship of the two variables through a quantitative, correlation process.
The conceptual framework basically defines the focus of the research. This quantitative data will gather the level of competency and perceived teacher stress level through answering the questionnaire prepared by the researcher.
Public Elementary School Teachers of Oas South District
Given the variables illustrated in Figure 1, these hypothesis were explored:
Ho = There is no significant relationship between the Teacher Stress and Teaching Competency.
Ha = There is a significant correlation between the Teacher Stress and Teaching Competency.
Research Design. This study used a correlational research design. According to (Creswell, 2002) a correlational research design is used to describe the statistical association between two or more variables. The research data to measure the level of competency and perceived level of teacher stress will be gathered through a questionnaire to be given by the researcher among the public elementary school teachers in Oas South District.
Respondents. The respondents in this study will be the public elementary school teachers of Oas South District from Cluster A which includes Oas South Central School, Oas East Central School, CB Redito Elementary School and from the Cluster C comprises of Maporong Elementary School, San Ramon Elementary School, San Agustin Elementary School, Tobog Elementary School, Matambo Elementary School, Balogo East Elementary School and Balogo West Elemetary School.
Instruments. Two different questionnaires will be used in collecting the data. Teacher’s Occupational Stress Scale for measuring the perceived stress level and the researcher will create a questionnaire to measure the competency level.
Statistical Analysis. All collected data will be entered and analysed using the statistical software package. Descriptive analysis including the frequency, mean scores, standard deviation and percentage will be used to describe the demographic data, perceived level of occupational stress and competency.
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