Many teachers are stressed at work

Many teachers are highly stressed at work, new research has suggested. Conducted by the Teacher Support Network, the study found high numbers are seeing their wellbeing affected by the goings-on in the classroom, with sickness absence figures among these professionals proving a cause for concern.

Published in The Supporter magazine, the report comes in response to recent comments made by Ofsted Chief Sir Michael Wilshaw, who suggested teachers do not know the meaning of stress - especially when compared to that felt by the 1.5 million young people out of a job.

The investigation, however, painted a different picture, with the Teacher Support Network revealing it received nearly 5,000 calls from anxiety sufferers in 2010 and 2011, while 4,256 people reported a low mood and 3,293 felt overwhelmed.

Julian Stanley, chief executive of the organisation, estimated around 40,000 teachers may be battling stress, depression or anxiety, adding: "It is likely that most teachers in the course of a long career will experience stress that is non-productive."

Chartered Psychologist Alan Redman, Chair of the British Psychological Society's Division of Occupational Psychology, commented: "Stress in any occupation is a real and growing problem. While all individuals respond differently to the demands and challenges they encounter at work, teachers are a group who are subject to a diverse and sometimes conflicting range of stressors from pupils, management, parents and government.

"Those teaching professionals who experience stress would benefit from support to minimise, counter or adapt to the pressure they encounter in their role."

Professor Sue Hallam, a Chartered Psychologist, added: "Like many professions teaching can be stressful at times, but it is important for teachers and for pupils that support mechanisms are securely in place to help teachers identify stress, and learn coping strategies.”