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Making Teacher's Blood Boil

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The evidence is in. Teaching has, in fact, been found to be a stressful job.

The prize-winning research that supports a theory long advanced by many of the more harried members of the profession was conducted by Lee Singleton, an inquisitive 5th grader at Riverview Elementary School in Titusville, Fla.

For his school science-fair project, Lee set out to determine if working with children causes teachers' blood pressure to rise. He collected his data by taking the blood-pressure readings of eight teachers at the beginning and end of a typical school day and comparing them with the readings of eight adults in professions that do not involve interaction with children.

Findings at the conclusion of the two-week study showed that teachers' blood pressure went up by at least 10 points during the day--twice as much as the control groups' did. The results came as no surprise to the budding scientist, who hypothesized that "working with children causes teachers to have high frustration levels.''

When asked what other factors might play a role in teachers' rising blood pressure, the 5th grader speculated that "caffeine has something to do with it, too'' because teachers tend to drink a lot of coffee during breaks. But, whatever the frenzied state of Lee's own teachers by the study's end, the project earned him an A and first prize at the Riverview science fair.

The judges may have been grateful that he did not follow through on his original research proposal--to test how long it takes for a teacher to become aggravated by a student. --JW

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