We all know that teaching is a stressful job—in fact, one of the most stressful. But did you know that, according to recent research, the leading cause of stress for teachers is parents?
A January 2008 study from the University of Kent in England and Martin Luther University in Germany surveyed 118 secondary school teachers, and found that emotional fatigue from parent interactions superseded all other factors in contributing to teacher burnout and determining the cause of early retirement.
The New York Times, which reported this study, found that according to the most recent Department of Education statistics, 269,000 of the 3.2 million public school teachers—or 8.4 percent—quit the field during the 2003-04 school year, more than half because of job dissatisfaction.
The study’s co-author Joachim Stroeber, a senior lecturer at the University of Kent, who spoke to the Times, suggested that teachers combat stress by “focus[ing] on their students’ expectations and needs and get[ting] support from colleagues if they feel overwhelmed, but not try to make overly demanding parents happy.”
A version of this article appeared in the March 01, 2008 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook as Topping Teacher Anxiety: Parents