Quality of teachers' professional lives: teacher stress, workload and satisfaction

Year: 1994

Author: Bourke, Sid, Smith, Max

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

With the greater personal and professional demands made on teachers in recent years, it is reasonable to expect that the ways in which teachers viewed their responsibilities might have been affected. In common with all Australian teachers, demands increased on teachers employed by the New South Wales Department of School Education throughout the 1980's; however, from the Scott Report in 1990 through 1992 to the present, the rate of change accelerated rapidly. Expectations of teachers have changed most markedly in the areas of accountability and assessment.

This paper considers secondary teacher stress, workload and satisfaction in the Hunter region of New South Wales and compares self-reported levels of stress, workload and satisfaction in 1989 and 1992. Four measures of stress are employed: stress arising from students and conditions, time pressure, administrative conflict, and lack of rewards and recognition; four measures of workload: administration, teaching, managing resources, and assessment of students; and three measures of satisfaction: workload and conditions, relationships with students, and relationships with administration and senior staff. It is suggested that any changes in perceived levels of stress, workload and satisfaction may be related to overall changes in the social and professional context of teachers in the region.