Teacher stress and burnout are associated with many negative outcomes for teachers, students, and the educational system. Stress impacts teachers’ physical and mental health over time. Specifically stress and burnout predict teacher depression (Shin, Noh, Jang, Park & Lee, 2012). Stress also can lead to increased absenteeism and to teacher attrition, which are costly to the educational system. With as many as 40% of new teachers in the United States leaving the profession within the first 5 years of working, teacher stress and burnout are important areas to understand to prevent the costs of teacher attrition (Ingersoll, 2002)
Teacher stress can also have an impact on students in the classroom. A recent study found differences in a biological indicator of stress (salivary cortisol) in elementary school students in classrooms with teachers who reported higher symptoms of burnout (Oberle & Schonert-Reichl, 2016). Additionally, a separate study found teachers reporting higher stress and burnout along with low coping had students with greater disruptive behaviors and lower academic achievement (Herman et al., 2018).
Given the high prevalence of teacher stress and the associated consequences of it, further research is needed to better understand, measure, and mitigate it. The proposed symposium includes three studies that advance scientific understanding of teacher stress. The papers will cover the full spectrum of knowledge development including (1) specifying the role of teacher stress in interfering with effective teaching including culturally responsive teaching practices (Boittiani et al.); (2) testing the role of teacher distress in moderating the effects of two evidence-based programs for early career teachers in urban settings (Tolan et al.), and (3) evaluating the long-term impact of an intervention to reduce teacher stress through mindfulness training (Jennings et al.).