Occupational Stress Factors among Teachers

Anthony M. Wanjohi:

Stress is the manner in which one’s body responds to cares, perplexities and complexities of life. Teaching profession has its demands which exert pressure on teachers. This article examines the main factors contributing to stress among teachers based on empirical evidence.


Kitenga (2009) conducted a study on the factors contributing to occupational stress among primary school teachers in Kenya. The study found that there were a number of factors that were associated with stress among teachers. These included communication to and from parents, pupils’ misbehavior, management style of the school head, number of pupils in class, changeable education policy, special pupils in the class, too much subject matter to teach and pupils’ poor attitudes towards classroom tasks.


The study revealed that all the factors that were examined contributed to occupational stress among teachers either to some extent or to a greater extent. However, there were some factors that were found to contribute to stress among teachers more than others. Fig. 1 shows the main factors that contributed to stress to a greater extent.



Fig. 1: Factors that contributed to stress to a greater extent

A considerable number of the respondents (teachers) who participated in the study indicated that the main factors that contributed to stress among teachers to a greater extent were the following:

a)      Too many pupils in one classroom (58.5 per cent),

b)      Public’s attitude and misunderstanding about teachers’ workload (58 per cent),

c)      Pupils’ poor attitudes towards classroom tasks (55 per cent) and

d)      Pupils’ misbehaviour (48 per cent).


These factors among others do not only lead to stress among teachers but also affect their performance. Thus, all stakeholders in education (school heads, teachers, parents, development partners, policy makers and planners) should work together towards establishment of sound policies and programs to address the issue of teachers’ occupational stress.



Kitenga, B. N. (2009). Factors Contributing to Occupational Stress and Coping Mechanisms among Primary School Teachers in Ngong Division of Kajiado North District. Journal of Research Abstracts – JRA, Volume 3, 2009.