Work Stress And Secondary School Teachers Psychology Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Secondary school teachers are those who work and teach pupils in the public or private secondary schools. They are teachers who work as counselor and conduct classes in academic subjects, provide skilled knowledge such as sport, drawing and sewing as well as guided student to learn and get the new knowledge. According to the Educational Management Information System (2010), the numbers of secondary school teachers have been increased from 145,174 teachers at year 2007 to 170,136 teachers at year 2009. Nowadays, the numbers of pupil are getting increase in secondary school but the secondary school teachers are yet not fulfill the demands even though the statistic of teachers were increased in this few years. Thus, work stress occurs among secondary school teachers due to they cannot fulfilled the demands. It is also one important factor that affects how they committed with school and would not be perform well in school. In the era of globalization, occupational stress among secondary school teachers can be as a widespread problem in the world. Based on Chong and Chan (2010), state that the phenomenon of work stress in teaching field has been increased contemplation by public. Job related stress is a serious problem that can contributed to negative effect on people health and society in generally (Leung, Mak, Chui, Chiang & Lee, 2009). The work environment, different secondary school teachers' personal characteristic, culture and so on influence the level of job satisfaction among secondary school teachers.

Based on survey by Kongress Kesatuan Guru Dalam Perkhidmatan Pendidikan Malaysia (KONGRESS), teachers often pressure at preparing daily and monthly lesson plan (Muhammad, 1995). Yong (1999), states that teachers in Malaysia become more challenging than ever due to transformation Malaysia to fully developed nation at year 2020. As a result, Malaysia teachers are facing work stress to fulfill the demand of train future skilled and talents students in order to be a fully developed nation at year 2020.

In the previous study, teaching field can be recognized as stressful or affliction job. According to Abdul (2005), the high teaching hours that include curriculum activities has contribute to high level of stress to teachers at Selangor and Kuala Lumpur areas. This can be easily explain that secondary school teachers are often facing work overload, solve the students' problem, stress on maintaining standard pupils in school and prepare daily lesson plan. Besides that, the teaching scheme or methods have changed to different way if compared as previous teaching methods and it have lead to job stress among teachers. For example, the job requirement made by the Ministry of Education Malaysia, the demands of students and parents gradually increasing have been lead to high level of stress (Samad, Hashim, Moin & Abdullah, 2010). Apart from that, the stressful teachers can damage their psychological and physical health as well as their performance. The higher level of stress can be lead to negative effect and symptoms on teachers' emotional, behavior and physiological such as moodiness, irritability to relax, depression, crying spells, isolate from others, sleepless, suppress the immune system and speed up the ageing process. In fact, the job-related stress can lead to the physical and psychological illness as well as job dissatisfaction.

Furthermore, an imbalance between work demands and the performance at work can induce dissatisfaction among teachers in school (Lim, 2007). The positive and negative evaluation of teachers' own success or failure in their personal goal and contribution of job will lead to job satisfaction or job dissatisfaction. According to the survey of job satisfaction by Gardner and Oswald (1999), teachers were less satisfied than any other professional group. Job dissatisfaction can also caused by different work environment, psychological factors and demographic such as age, gender and education level (Harris and Crossman, 2006). Work environment has one of the factors that impact teachers' job satisfaction. For instance, the working conditions such as conflict, discrimination, noisy from pupils, relationship with subordinates and psycho-social outcome have significant effect on teachers' job stress. The secondary school teachers who are satisfied with their work are more likely to commit to the school and decrease the intention of quit from their job as well as increase their performance. In contrast, teachers who are dissatisfied will trend to absenteeism, quit from job and less motivate to teaching. Consequently, work stress trend to reduce the level of job satisfaction.

Moreover, previous study shows work stress and job satisfaction is significant correlated and it affect the teacher's performance and their decision whether want to continue or quit from job. The previous research more likely to investigated occupational stress and the stressor among primary school and high school teachers as well as job satisfaction among teachers. Similarly, there is less investigation about the correlation between work stress and job satisfaction among workers as well as less focuses on secondary school teachers. Hence, for contributing to the further understanding of these related terms, this study is aim to identify and determine the relationship between work stress and job satisfaction among secondary school teachers in Melaka Tengah, Melaka. This study trend to understanding how has the work stress influence by personal characteristic and work environment as well as how has work stress impact on secondary school teachers' level of job satisfaction.

Statement of problem

This study aims to determine the relationship between work stress and job satisfaction among secondary school teachers in Melaka Tengah, Melaka. Specifically, this study will identify personal characteristic (age and gender) and work environment (interpersonal relation and job autonomy) which are related to the work stress and job satisfaction of secondary school teachers. In addition, the relationship between personal characteristic and work environment with work stress and job satisfaction will be determined in this study. In summary, there are five research questions to be addressed in this present study:

Stress can be defined as a situation where a person had deviated from his or her normal behavior due to the changes in his or her psychological and/or physiological condition as stated by Beehr and Newman (1978). Meanwhile, Division of Human Resource (2000) defined workload stress as denial to work and a constant sense of pressure along with general physiological, psychological, and behavioral stress symptoms.

Many studies show that work stress is one of the main factors which influence a person's life style and even their job satisfactions. A person who is facing high stress may not work efficiently due to the problems occur. According to Alan, Chen, and Chong (2010), there is a perceived stress level among the responded teachers comparing with 5 years ago which are increased from 91.6% to 97.3%. Therefore, more and more studies are done these recent years to study this phenomenon.

Many studies such as Cullen et al. (1985), Grossi, Keil, and Vito (1996), Van Voorhis, Cullen, Link, and Wolfe (1991) show that tension, anxiety, frustration, worry, emotional exhaustion, and distress are faced by workers which cause by work-related stress. Therefore, workers who go through all this level will not enjoying their jobs even more benefits is given to them.

Furthermore, a lot of people misinterpret stress as burnout. Burnout will negative impact to a person's health, mental and even physical if compare with stress. According to Carlson et al. (2003), Carlson and Thomas (2006), Keinan and Malach-Pines (2007) and Pines and Keinan (2005), stress and burnout is conceptually two different things. Work stress can occur in a shorter period but burnout is consequence of long term uncovered to bad work experiences (Schaufeli & Peeters, 2000; Whitehead & Lindquist, 1986). Therefore, if a continuous stress problems face by a worker for a long period, it may lead to burnout.

2.2.1 Personal Characteristic and Work Stress

According to Gross, Keil and Vito (1996), state that job stress is defined as the feeling of workers about job related tension, anxiety, frustration, emotional exhaustion and distress. This study is to investigate how secondary school teachers' personal characteristic like age, gender and race related to work stress. People have different age and gender perceived different work stress at work. There are some different explanations of work stress among young and older workers. Based on Clark et al. (1996), argue that employees' expectations alter with age or means older employees are able developed strategies to cope with job-related stress issues. Similarly, younger teachers were difficult to use appropriate coping strategies to reduce job related stress (Antoniou, Polychroni & Vlachakis, 2006). Whereas, older workers have been experienced the high level of stress issues when they were young, so they able to cope with work stress issues by using their past experience.

Besides that, gender also influence work stress. According to the Scarr, Phillips and McCartney (1989), when both spouses enter work force, wives still responsible to caring child and household task. Thus, women are more stressful than male because they have responsible for caring child and the household task. However, many men would not share the household task with wives even though agree them in paid labor force (Noor, 2001). Consequently, female teachers faced high level of stress compared to male due to they were difficult to confront in the classroom and work overload as well as working conditions (Antoniou, Polychroni & Vlachakis, 2006). On the contrast, some of studies indicate that female teachers more satisfied with her job because they have lower expectation than male teachers (Witt and Nye, 1992; Hickson and Oshagbemi, 1999). This can explain that male teachers put more attention to work than female teachers which are attach importance to family.

2.2.2 Work environment and work stress

Work environment is able to encourage and incentive teachers to teaching comfort and towards job satisfaction (Fernandez, 1998). On the contrast, work environment such as interpersonal relation and teachers' job autonomy are the factors that contribute to work stress among secondary school teachers. Interpersonal relation means interaction between colleagues and head master in school, whereas job autonomy can be defines as teachers independence and freedom to make decision regarding to their works (Fernandez, 1998). Moreover, many studies state that social support such as group cohesion, interpersonal trust and liking for supervisor is associated with less job stress (McLean, 1979). Consequently, the relationship between colleagues and head master without cohesion and trust among secondary school teachers can lead to work stress and mental disorder. The poor relationship between colleagues among teachers means loss of support and more easily to attain mental disease such as anxiety and sadness. According to Yahaya and Nik Husain (2010), work stress occurs due to misunderstanding between teachers, personal problems, conflict and weak management in school. Apart from that, teachers' autonomy is an internal capacity and freedom to make daily decision about teaching such as supplementary teaching materials in school (Benson, 2010). Teachers who are disempowered to make decision compare to others teachers in school can lead to work stress because they feel incapable and restrict to make decision. In fact, the person who expects high level of job autonomy at work will be experienced less work stress compare to job with low job autonomy (Kalleberg, Nesheim & Olsen, 2009). Thus, low job autonomy at teaching can harmful teachers' mental health or physical and psychological affect such as absenteeism, stress, anxiety, unable to sleep well, increase blood pressure and so on.

2.3 Job Satisfaction

"Job satisfaction" is all about personal perceptions, feeling, evaluations, views and also attitudes towards a job (Paul Spectors, 1985 & Graham, 1982). According to Porter, Lawler and Hackman (1975), job satisfaction can define as a feeling about a job which is determined by the difference between all those things a person feels he should receive from his job and all those things he actually does received. An individual's view and assessment of a job related to job satisfaction. A person's circumstances, including needs, values and expectations are in turning influenced the perceptions (Buitendach & de Witte, 2005)

Generally, job satisfaction is related to work performance. Employees who have high levels of job satisfaction may not wish to withdraw from the job and vice versa. According to Byrd, Cochran, Silverman, and Blount (2000), Jurik and Winn (1987), Lambert (2006), Mitchell, MacKenzie, Styve, and Gover (2000), Stohr, Self, and Lovrich (1992), job satisfaction is a main determinant of workers turnover intention and voluntary turnover. A person who did not quit from the job may experience job burnout when they try to commit with the job which they dislike. Job satisfaction and burnout have a negative relationship among correctional staff (Whitehead, 1989, Whitehead & Lindquist, 1986). In the other word, the higher level of job satisfactions will lead to lower chance to experience burnout among worker including teachers. . Robbins (1998) stated that the higher job satisfactions will produce more effective worker compare with the lower job satisfactions level.

Teacher job satisfaction is a determinant of teacher retention which influence teacher commitment, and in turn a contributor to school effectiveness (Shan, 1998). Interaction with students, interaction with colleagues, professional challenges, and professional autonomy, working conditions, salary and opportunity for advancement are the 7 predictor that stated by Kim and Loadman (1994). However, all these predictor is still depend on other factors such as class sizes, teachers' workload, changes in the school curriculum and school policies which teachers cannot control.

2.4.1 Personal characteristic and Job satisfaction

There have been many studies indicates the relationship between job satisfaction and personal characteristic such as age and gender. The majority of the researches focus on age and its effect on job satisfaction. Some research found that oldest teachers who are teaching for such a long times in their career are more satisfied compare to youngest teachers. The older teachers who are more experience able to coped work related issue by developed more useful strategies. It is contrary to others research (Herzberg et al., 1957) which giving an explanation about youngest teachers are more enthusiastic and feeling satisfactory towards his or her job. Youngest have high expectation or aspiration toward his or her jobs is more satisfied; they able adapt in the new environment. According to Handyside (1967) and Herzberg et al., (1957), early studies have revealed a U-shaped which employees experience high levels of job satisfaction when they starting their careers, decrease in mid-career and an increase towards the end. Youngest teachers looking for higher career prospect tends to have positive feeling towards his or her job.

Similar issue exists regarding the relationship between gender and job satisfaction. Some studies have suggested that men and women exhibit similar levels of satisfaction (Brush et al., 1987; Clark et al., 1996). Liu and Ramsey (2008) found that women experience less job satisfaction than men, especially satisfaction from work conditions. Women who facing work-family conflict were result in lower job satisfaction compare to man. Women have responsibilities to take care of their family and work tends to get higher stress, it may result in lower job satisfaction. Man are least faced of this conflict tends to have higher job satisfaction. Other studies shows that women have higher level of job satisfaction because they have lower job expectation compare to male teachers whereas men attach more importance to career than women are disappointed by the low status of the teaching profession.

2.4.2 Work environment and job satisfaction

This study also indicated that there has significant relationship between work environment and job satisfaction. The secondary school teachers who are more satisfied with their work environment are more likely to be committed to their work and decreased the intention of quit from a job. Work environment such as interpersonal relations, leadership style, job autonomy and material rewards and advancement are positively related to job satisfaction. The job satisfaction of teachers can be affected by a number of different environmental. The causes of low teachers' job satisfaction are result by poor environmental factors such as inadequate lighting, inability to obtain relevant information, recognition and respect from colleagues and pupils. Poor work environment were influence people feel satisfactory in their job. After refer some journal, it show that some effort have to take in order to improve existing work environment among secondary school teachers which then can leads to higher job satisfaction.

The work environments encompass two dimensions which is interpersonal relation and job autonomy. The positive reciprocal relationship between teachers and students will influence the job satisfaction of the teachers and education achievement among students. Some research shows that teacher-student interaction is an essential in teaching and learning context (Kim et al. 2000; Koul and Fisher 2005). A good interaction between teachers and students will bring positive outcomes which the secondary school teachers are more satisfied with their job. Job autonomy refers to the individual's ability to exert some control over their job environment.

The results of a study by the National Center for Education Statistics (Perie & Baker, 1997) and another by Hall, Villeme, and Phillippy (1989) shown that the level of job autonomy perceived by teachers is an indicative of current job satisfaction. There is a significant relationship between job autonomy and job satisfaction among teachers. An autonomous person is independent and has authority to make decision in their job. The autonomous teachers who accept responsibility, passionate in their job and able to do judgment tend to have a high degree of self-reliance and job satisfaction.

2.5 Work stress and job satisfaction

According to mental health of hospital consultants study which aim to examine the correlation between job stress and job satisfaction among hospital consultants and the impact of both of these upon doctors' mental health (Ramirez, Graham, Richards, Cull & Gregory, 1996). From this study, job satisfaction is inversely related to work stress which was related to having high emotional exhaustion, high depersonalization scores, and estimated psychiatric morbidity. For example, doctors who perceived high work stress (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization) from feeling overloaded and work overload, the level of satisfaction from intellectual stimulation and relationships with patients, relatives, and staff was obtained in low level. Contrary, the higher job satisfaction has protective affect on the work stress. High personal accomplishment has protective affect on work stress to avoid from burnout. For example, surgeons obtained the highest scores for job satisfaction though received highest work stress among the specialist groups in hospital. That because of they always receive positive feedback from patients and relatives and from there high accomplishment was constructed.

According the study of the impact of distributive and procedural justice on correctional staff job stress, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment (Lambert, Hogan and Griffin, 2007), the distributive justice on work will have significant effect on job stress and have indirect effect on job satisfaction through this job stress. The result of this study shown that, job stress have significant direct negative impact on job satisfaction, where higher levels of job stress was expressed when a staff perceived low levels of distributive justice. When a staff fells unfair from organization process or outcome, they will fell stress on it and directly will influence their satisfaction on job.

This study showed that the increasing of the levels of the work stress will directly increased the job dissatisfaction and health problems among officers in Korea (Moon & Maxwell, 2004). The stressors were significantly correlated with job satisfaction, especially in expected direction. The work stress is correlation with job satisfaction for the study; either work stress effect on job satisfaction or contrary affection.

2.6 Summary

Work stress play the main role and important in determining the job satisfaction of secondary school teachers. Different work stress will carry different implications on the job satisfaction of secondary school teacher. After do the literature review, the relationship between work stress and job satisfaction can be identified through this research. There are two factors that can influence the work stress and also the job satisfaction of secondary school teachers. The factors are personal characteristic and work environment.

There are many study examine the relationship between job satisfaction and personal characteristic such as age and gender. The older teachers are more satisfied compare to youngest teachers. This is because the older teachers have more experience and able to coped their work. The youngest teachers are more enthusiastic and feeling satisfactory towards his or her job because they have high expectation or aspiration toward his or her jobs is more satisfied and able to adapt in the new environment.

In the study, we found that there are similar issue exists regarding the relationship between gender and job satisfaction. Female have higher level of job satisfaction compare with male. It is because female have lower job expectation compare to male teachers. Female who facing work-family conflict were result in lower job satisfaction compare to male. Female have to take care of their family and work tends to get higher stress and it may result in lower job satisfaction. Therefore, male are least faced of this conflict tends to have higher job satisfaction.

The job satisfaction of teachers can be affected by different environmental. The low level of job satisfaction of teachers may have causes by poor environmental factors. The poor work environments were influence people feel satisfactory in their job. Different work stress used can be resulting in different level of job satisfaction of secondary school teachers. The intrinsically motivate the teachers more satisfied in their job and less stress.

Chapter 3


The previous chapter summarized the relevant literatures which are related to work stress and job satisfaction. This chapter will explain the methodology used to achieve the research objective. Thus, the chapter has divided to several parts including study location, population and sample selection, instrumentation, data collection and data analysis.

3.1 Research Designs

Research design is a framework that conducts a research. It is also a plan, structure and strategy of investigation to provide an answer to the research. The research design that we used in this study are descriptive research and correlational research.

Descriptive research is also called statistical research which is used to describe the data and characteristics regarding to the phenomenon being studied. We distributed questionnaire to secondary school teachers in Melaka Tengah, Melaka in order to obtain more information about secondary school teachers' personal characteristic and work environment at school.

Correlational research which is a quantitative method that consist of two or more variables, it can be a positive or negative correlation. In this study, it helped us to determine and examine the relationship between work stress and job satisfaction among secondary school teachers in Melaka Tengah, Melaka.

We have been also utilized non-experimental research in this study. It cannot consider as an experimental or laboratory experiment. Non-experimental research is observing and measuring two or more variables through survey, questionnaire and interview methods.

3.2 Study Location

This study will be conducted in Melaka Tengah, Melaka. The reason that why conducting the study in Melaka Tengah, Melaka is there are most of the respondents here come from different type of schools such as Chinese school, Tamil school and Malay school and we only random pick up 4 secondary schools out of 35 to survey. For sampling purposes, Melaka Tengah consists of 35 of secondary schools. Thus, it allows the researchers to garner opinions from all cultures and different backgrounds of the respondents. Eventually, this also enables researcher to distribute and collect the results within a short period of time. Therefore, this research has employed a questionnaire survey.

3.3 Population and Sample Selection

"The population is a group or class of subjects, variables, concepts, units or phenomena" (Wimmer & Dominick, 2006, pp.91-92). Population is referring to the respondent that the researcher chosen to participate on this research. The target population for this study is the secondary school teachers in Melaka Tengah, Melaka.

"Sample is a subgroup or subset of a population or universe" (Wimmer & Dominick, 2006, p100). Sample size is the amount of the group of people of the total population that the researcher is going to research on. Sampling frame is a list or quasi list of the member from a population. In Melaka Tengah, Melaka, there have 35 secondary schools which consist of 3149 secondary school teachers. From the 35 secondary school, we choose 4 secondary schools out of 35 secondary schools. Among the 4 secondary school, we have 325 secondary school teachers as our sampling frame. In addition, from the 325 secondary school teachers we randomly choose 180 secondary school teachers as our sample. Since we are deal with the samples from the population, but sometimes it has some error with the data we collect are not full. To avoid sampling error, we get an additional sample which is 20% of the sample. Then, the additional samples become 391 secondary school teachers.