In a study published in 2000 in the International Journal of Stress Management, 67 percent of teachers surveyed described their jobs as "extremely stressful," and stressed teachers could hinder your child's education. Researchers at Optum, a health research center in Minnesota, decided to test programs aimed at reducing stress and improving employee health.
The yearlong study gave teachers at a local school three different stress-relief interventions: stress and depression management seminars; relaxation and breathing exercise workshops; and a kit containing health and stress relief information. The teachers rated their personal stress levels before and after the study and reported significantly lower levels at the end of the year than teachers at nearby schools who did not participate in the program.
Though all three interventions alleviated teacher stress, Mark Attridge, Ph.D., director of research and analysis at Optum and the study's lead researcher, notes that they worked partially because the school's administrative staff acknowledged and addressed the issue. Opening the lines of communication made stress relief an organizational problem, so teachers felt more comfortable suggesting solutions. "The teachers and staff were able to form more of a support system that boosted morale and opened up the discussion of problem-solving," Attridge says.