Teachers do not know the meaning of the word stress

So said the head of schools inspectorate Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, on Thursday 10th May 2012 according to the Sunday Times.  This is at variance with some of my teacher friends, who claim it to be a very stressful profession.

stressed teacher
stressed teacher

What could be the course of this stress?  One of the factors determining the level of stress that we feel is how much control we have over our own time and work.  Aside from working to a timetable just like the kids, their influence over pupils, and their parents, is only really be influence rather than authority.  Moreover, as Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers & Lecturers says, ‘Ofsted is part of the problem with its continual changing of the inspection goal posts and ridiculous demands for lessons to be exciting at all times’.  As a trainer myself, I can imagine being under pressure trying to make calculus or double French exciting while at the same time being inspected on how effectively students are performing against externally set exams.

If we want to lower our stress levels at work we need to be assertive in being measured either on the what or the how, on the results or the process, but never both.  Accountability without responsibility is the flimsiest of illusions, especially in the management of projects.

For more articles on why teachers are getting stressed, start here