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As found in the study, for time management, it was found that teachers were most stressed when they had to waste time unnecessary. The latter agrees with the study of Olivier and Venter (2003). Teachers agreed that sometime they are required to spend a lot of time which is unnecessary thus they are uncomfortable and stressed when wasting that time. Some teachers spend long hours at their specific school helping for extramural activities especially when they is a celebration at their school or an open day, or on more often occasions with teachers meetings with the management after hours or in between school hours. The latter consequently increase their work load which makes them more stress (Caroline, 2011).
Teachers were more stressed with the load of work that they had to do. Respondents major complaints were the fact that they had much more of students in their class as compared to before which made their task more complicated with all administrative work to be done and also the fact that all students were not at the same academic level so their load of work increases greatly. This corroborates with the study of Nurul et al (2010).
With regard to professional distress, the teachers who participated in the survey agreed that lack of recognition for the extra work or extra good teaching cause them more stress. Teachers are often asked to give remedial classes to students who need some extra support in their studies and most of the time; those remedial classes are in the second half of the lunch time. However, teachers complained that despite the fact that those remedial classes have been very helpful which made the students therein to pass with flying colours; there is no recognition for the extra good work made by them from the management. The latter highly stress those teachers and discourage them to make any such endeavour in the future! On the contrary, the study of Olivier and Venter (2003) shown that inadequate salaries caused a great deal of stress to the teachers, this difference can be explained by two main reasons: first of all, in Mauritius, the salaries in the public and private sector for the teachers are equal, and secondly the fact that all teachers give private tuitions, so this compensate the idea of being stress due to inadequate salaries.
As seen in the study, Participants expressed concerned about the fact that they are more frustrated due to some of the students who are poorly motivated. This result for a major stress for the teachers because after exams when the students fail to pass their exams, itââ‚¬â„¢s the teachers who are blamed as well as they owe explanation to the students parent and to the management when the truth is that ,the students were poorly motivated to study.
Teachers want to contribute to the decision making of the management concerning studies or schools programmes by giving their own opinions. The fact that they are not given an opportunity to voice out their personal opinions on studies related decisions coming from the management, stress them most among the professional investment stressors which agrees with the study of Olivier and Venter (2003) and Samuel (2011). Teachers are often asked to leave the decision matters to the management and not to voice out their personal opinions but only to abide by the decisions of the management however it should not be forgotten that the teachers are in a better position to know the exact requirement of the students concerning their studies, and their personal opinions in that context may help the students progress, the teachers being less stressed and the school progressing as well.
In this study, it was found that the two major factor that causes stress was discipline and motivation (mean: 3.15) and Time Management (mean: 3.03). Discipline and Motivation being highly influenced by the fact that teachers are frustrated due to poorly motivated students whereas Time Management refers mainly to the fact that the teachers are uncomfortable wasting time. The two major stressors found in this study agree with the study done by Victoria (2009).
The study revealed the following for the manifestation of stress
On emotional manifestation level, the teachers manifest stress by feeling anxious, most teachers get anxious when they are have to deal with a particular stressor, the feeling of being anxious may have negative impact on their health as well such as increase in blood pressure. In Fatigue manifestations, the teachers agreed that they respond to stress mostly with physical exhaustion. Teachers that manifest stress in those ways may consequently be aggressive towards students or peers.
Responding to stress with rapid or shallow breathing was the most common one among the cardiovascular manifestations that was answered by the participants of this study, the latter can have various negative effects on the health of the teachers. Some worst cases are the fact when the teachers who respond to stress in this particular way already have a cardiovascular or respiratory disease such as asthma disease, then this may have devastating effect on their health (Brigitte, Silja and Roland, 2007).
With regards to the behavioural manifestations, teachers responded to stress mostly by calling in sick. Teachers agreed that, they had to do this often in order to escape the load of stress that they have to face with the potential stressors as seen previously in this study. Calling in sick may have negative results on the performance of the students as they are missing out their class. In addition to that, when the teachers are absent one day, to escape the stress or to relieve their stress, it goes without saying that the load of work that they have to do increases, as the day for which they were absent work had to be catch up in a specific time limit which means that, both way, they would be stressed finally.
Fatigue and gastronomical manifestations were the most common stress manifestations reported by the teachers who participated in this study. The latter agrees partly with the studies done by Victoria (2009) and Rubina (2011) as their studies also shown that teachers manifest themselves mostly on a fatigue level which is mostly physical exhaustion; however they also found that another major manifestation was on an emotional level, this difference can be subjective and depend on each individual.
The findings of this study revealed that the stress level of secondary school teachers in Mauritius was moderate. This finding corroborates with the study of Davies (1997) and Hanif (2006). In Mauritius, the teachers also face stress and it has been assessed to be moderate by the help of this study. Essential measures should be taken with specific attention to the main factors and main manifestations of stress as found in this study so as to prevent the level of stress to climb from moderate to a significantly strong level.
CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATIONS
Undoubtedly, secondary school teachers in Mauritius do face occupational stress. In relation with the objectives of this study, some main findings have come up which may help the stake holders of the education sector in Mauritius to take remedial measures so as to fight against occupational stress. First of all, the study revealed that the main factors that cause stress to the teachers are Discipline and Motivation greatly influenced when students are poorly motivated in their class and also the time management factor whereby teacher loses their time and consequently have their workload increased. Concerning the manifestations of stress among the teachers, it was seen in the study that the teachers manifest stress mainly on a fatigue level followed by gastronomical level. The results of this study indicated that the stress level of the teachers are moderate, but nevertheless much concern was expressed by the teachers concerning the main factors causing stress and thereby the manifestations of stress upon them and their health. Teachers stress must be minimized, the negative implications of occupational stress must be dealt with and the trust in teaching as a job must be restored. The responsibility lies on the teachers, management of the school, school governing bodies, stake holders and the government to deal with the problem of occupational stress if they want a secure future and a proper human resource for the country in the near future.
With reference to the main factor causing stress to the teachers that has been found to be Discipline and Motivation in this study, innovative and effective ways other than punishment have to be found for handing bad behaviours in the classroom. Subjects have to be made more interesting and enthusiastic by the specific subject teachers so as to motivate the students to perform well and motivated to learn the concepts of the subject.
Teachers should be role models for their students and should inculcate self discipline and also present lessons which are interesting so as to capture the attention of the students and create a participative class. Hidden reasons for lack of motivation or discipline problems among the students should be analysed by the teachers and they should understand their problems as well as find a way to solve them. The teachers should be empowered through specific workshops organized by the ministry of education so as to gain confidence in themselves and enable them to be more effective and learn new ways to motivate their students to perform better. Discipline and Motivation should be also dealt by the management of the school whereby proper rules and regulations, policy and code of conduct are put in place and they should make sure that itââ‚¬â„¢s not only written on paper, but everyone should be made aware of those rules. Discipline committee may be set up comprising of the management, the teachers and also representatives of the parents association so as to come up with solutions for any problems that may crop up.
With respect to Time Management, teachers should be trained on how to manage their time properly. They should learn how to make maximum use of their allocated time for a particular subject and plan it accordingly. Moreover, as seen in this study, teachers feel uncomfortable wasting their time when mostly involved in extracurricular activities, they should not volunteer for all tasks merely for the sake of being more visible but should plan their time properly and then decide whether to participate or not in those tasks. Teachers should be encouraged to practice a physical exercise or a hobby so as to handle their stress. Responsibilities should be shared among the teachers so as not to face an overload of work which consequently lead to a mismanagement of time. Management of the school has to see that no time is wasted during normal school hours and that proper distribution of work is done among the teachers.
For the manifestations of stress, arrangement should be made for a proper work life balance for the teachers. The teachers should find way to manage their stress, for example, hobbies, physical activities or recreational activities. They can also use stress relief thinking exercises or practice meditation. A teacher should develop his own personal way to combat stress, for example delegation of responsibilities, better time management and self assessment. Stress management techniques should be part of the curriculum of future teachers. Prayer and meditation can also provide some teachers a mean to manage or to deal with their stress.