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The Impact of Occupational Burnout on Teachers

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Words: 850 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Words: 850|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Occupational Burnout is a special type of psychological stress. There are many different characterizations of this phenomena and various possible manifestation of the state. For this study purposes I used characterization by psychologist Christina Maslach as she states it in many of her works:

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Burnout is a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job. It is defined by the three dimensions of exhaustion, cynicism, and professional inefficacy. As a reliably identifiable job stress syndrome, burnout clearly places the individual stress experience within a larger organizational context of people's relation to their work. Burnout impairs both personal and social functioning. This decline in the quality of work and in both physical and psychological health can be costly—not just for the individual worker, but for everyone affected by that person…It is considered to be an individual stress experience embedded in a context of complex social relationships, and it involves the person’s conception of both self and others on the job…what has emerged from all of this research is a conceptualization of job burnout as a psychological syndrome in response to chronic interpersonal stressors on the job. The three key dimensions of this response are an overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from the job, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.

The term burnout goes back 1974, when psychologist Herbert Freudenberger used it in a paper to describe his colleagues at a free health clinic in New York city. He noticed that over time many of the doctors, nurses and social workers tending to patients became less motivated and weren’t doing as good of a work, even though in reality they cared a lot. They were exhausted both physically and mentally and even developed several physical conditions as headaches, insomnia or unusual sleeping habits. Freudenberger also realized that he had similar problems himself. But even after lots of investigation and research, scientist can’t totally agree on definition of this syndrome. So, broadly speaking, it is a kind of a job-related stress. But exactly how it manifests and why is less clear. Some experts are not convinced that burnout is really its own thing, since it shares a lot of common symptoms with clinical depression, anxiety disorder or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Many teachers are reporting that their job satisfaction is at an all-time low, the pressure of high stakes testing and managing difficult students have dramatically increased, such as the pressure from society, the cognitive and emotional demands leave them feeling constantly overwhelmed. They also cite that they often lack effective inclusive leadership and they feel powerless because they do not have much say in how the school is run.

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Almost half of the teachers will leave their profession within their first five years. Stress in its many guises is an important factor in this attrition rate. Stress also negatively impact job satisfaction and overall quality of life for many teaching professionals. The demand for teachers in educations is constantly growing. Novice teachers in particular are more vulnerable to feelings of stress. New educators are affected by lack of experience and unrealistic expectations. Compounding these feelings are the daily unceasing demands of the classroom and not enough systematic, targeted support. Novice teachers are expected to take full responsibility for their classrooms from the day one. This can be called the “sink or swim” situation. Add to this the fact that a novice teacher is usually expected to perform the same responsibilities as the more experienced colleagues. Many new teachers often consider the job intimidating and sometimes an insurmountable challenge. Usually when young post graduated teachers enter the school grounds for the first time, they feel excited at and full of ideals, just prior to entering the classroom, or during the first few weeks of teaching. New teachers tend to romanticize their profession as a “mission” and idealize the profession. Also at the beginning of a new school year or a new semester the student are trying to be more well behaved towards the unfamiliar teaching persona. But soon after this first phase, teachers start to feel overwhelmed by the problems of the classroom. Focus shifts from the idealized perception of teacher profession to the day to day routines, lesson plan preparation, behaviour management, familiarization with the curriculum, leaving little time for reflection or critical analysis. Even though we know we have the potential to have a positive influence on children, we do not know how to achieve it. After being on the job for several months the novice teachers often begin to question their commitment and competence as a teacher. This is the time where there is a critical need for intervention, which could take the form of mentoring or other strategies for dealing with this situation. But if those needs aren’t met and the sources of the struggles are not addressed, that’s the time when young teachers are most vulnerable to develop some of the Burnout syndrome stage, and if assistance is not provided or if teacher cannot find appropriate coping strategies they unfortunately became part of the 50% that would leave within the first five years of profession. 

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The Impact of Occupational Burnout on Teachers. (2024, January 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 17, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-impact-of-occupational-burnout-on-teachers/
“The Impact of Occupational Burnout on Teachers.” GradesFixer, 31 Jan. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-impact-of-occupational-burnout-on-teachers/
The Impact of Occupational Burnout on Teachers. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-impact-of-occupational-burnout-on-teachers/> [Accessed 17 Jun. 2024].
The Impact of Occupational Burnout on Teachers [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 31 [cited 2024 Jun 17]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-impact-of-occupational-burnout-on-teachers/
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