High school teachers' perceptions of their working environment in Newfoundland: a grounded theory study

Younghusband, Lynda J. (2005) High school teachers' perceptions of their working environment in Newfoundland: a grounded theory study. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Teacher stress has been of considerable concern for several decades. Researchers have reported that the primary health problem of teachers is stress and that the causes are multiple and complex. Workplace stress has also been found to diminish teachers' enthusiasm and distance them emotionally from their students, thereby lessening the teacher-student interaction. School reorganization and consolidation in Newfoundland and Labrador has caused the incremental downloading of additional duties for teachers and, in their perception, unreasonable demands. The high stress levels of teachers in this province are worrisome and the causes and results of their stress must be identified and reduced. -- The purpose of this grounded theory study was to explore the experiences of high school teachers' work environment, particularly their experiences of stress. Interviews were conducted with 16 high school teachers, from 24 to 55 years of age, in rural and urban Newfoundland in 2002. The constant comparative method of analysis was used to generate three theoretical constructs: the struggle to balance multiple demands (feeling burdened by work pressures and demands, barriers to teacher effectiveness), the importance of supportive work environments (feeling unsupported by administration, value of a collegial community, importance of having adequate resources), and the realities of stress (participants' understanding of stress, self-concept, the taboo of stress, feeling consumed by the job: interference with personal life). -- A picture presented of a profession that demanded constant attention often to the detriment of participants' health and well-being. In particular, the emotional repercussions of stress seemed difficult for these participants. Findings suggest that they were concerned not just for themselves but for their colleagues and their students as well. The stigma associated with stress had prevented these teachers from speaking out until they were interviewed. -- This study emphasized the importance of administrative and collegial support, the importance of effective communication, the necessity of adequate resources and professional development, and the need to recognize the excessive workload and the associated stress that teachers are feeling. The results of this study provide new insights into the serious problem of teacher stress in this province and the repercussions on their personal and professional lives. The implications of this study for teachers, the educations system, and further research on teachers' stress are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10005
Item ID: 10005
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 206-219.
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Date: 2005
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: High school teachers--Job stress--Newfoundland and Labrador; High school teachers--Workload--Newfoundland and Labrador.
Medical Subject Heading: ; Stress, Psychological--Newfoundland and Labrador; Workload--psychology--Newfoundland and Labrador; Faculty--Newfoundland and Labrador.

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