ILONGO FRITZ NGALE
INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF LESOTHO
The relationship between job-related stress variables and individual coping strategies was explored in a purposive probability sample of 200 secondary school teachers using a questionnaire. The use of the chi-square test revealed the following significant relationships: (1) Teachers stressed by student indiscipline do not necessarily develop aggressive behaviors; (2) Poor salary situations do not make teachers engage in income generating activities; (3) It is very likely that teachers lose enthusiasm for their work when they have a sense of under promotion; (4) Work overload does not make teachers dialogue less with their students; (5) Conflicting relationship with principals will not make teachers change their careers. Socioeconomic factors are the most important predictors of stress, followed by interpersonal relations and then by instructional problems. Individual personality differences and social support systems moderate the impact of stressors on teachers, influence their appraisal of socio-environmental demands as stressful, and determine the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the coping strategies generated to manage job stress. According to the model I proposed for this study, each of the hypothetical situations of this research are variously appraised by each individual teacher on the basis of the relative strength of an underlying duty consciousness, ego anxiety and self denial triple complex. Finally, the study recommended the importance of reducing job stress by teaching teachers effective classroom management techniques and maximizing their intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
It was not until the mid 1970s that publications referring directly to “stress in teaching” began to appear in reasonable numbers (Coates & Thorensen, 1976; Dunham, 1976; Kyriacou & Sutcliffe, 1977). During the 1980s the number of studies reporting on teacher stress grew rapidly (kyriacou, 1987; Cole & Walker, 1989). By the end of the 1990s the research literature on teacher stress had become voluminous (Travers & Cooper, 1996; Vandenberghe & Huberman, 1999; Kyriacou, 2000). There are generally four models of teacher stress: 1. The experience by a teacher of unpleasant, negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, tension, frustration, or depression, resulting from some aspect of their work, which is perceived as a threat to their self-esteem or wellbeing (Kyriacou & Sutcliffe, 1978a). 2. The level of pressure and demands placed made on an individual, with “strain” being reaction to such stress. 3. The degree of mismatch between the demands made upon an individual and the latter’s ability to cope with those demands. 4. Teacher burnout, which is the state of emotional, physical and attitudinal exhaustion which may develop in teachers who have been unsuccessful in coping with stress over a long period (Vandenberghe & Huberman, 1999).
Human beings have many biological, social and psychological needs, which when not met could generate stress. Hans Selye (1978) defines stress as “any external drive which threatens to upset the organismic equilibrium.” The studies by Rasehke (1985); Blase (1986), Hock and Roger (1996), indicated that the degree of stress which teachers experience is positively related to the degree which he/she perceives a lack of control over a potentially threatening situation. Schools are considered formal organizations (Hoy & Miskel, 1987), and teachers are susceptible to organizational stress of role conflict and role ambiguity. Many researchers have identified sources of stress among secondary school teachers. Their findings have indicated that time pressures (Astin,1993; Barnes, Agago & Coombs, 1998; Thompson & Dey, 1998) and high expectations (Gmelch et al., 1986; Smith...