1 ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟ ΑΝΟΙΚΤΟ ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΟ ΣΧΟΛΗ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΙΣΤΙΚΩΝ ΣΠΟΥΔΩΝ ΜΕΤΑΠΤΥΧΙΑΚΗ ΕΙΔΙΚΕΥΣΗ ΚΑΘΗΓΗΤΩΝ ΑΓΓΛΙΚΗΣ ΓΛΩΣΣΑΣ ΔΙΠΛΩΜΑΤΙΚΗ ΕΡΓΑΣΙΑ THE NEED FOR STRESS RELIEVING AND SELF- CONFIDENCE-BOOSTING SESSIONS IN EFL TEACHER TRAINING COURSES TO AVOID EFL TEACHER BURNOUT ΒΑΡΒΑΡΑ ΤΣΟΥΚΙΔΟΥ ΕΠΙΒΛΕΠΟΥΣΑ ΚΑΘΗΓΗΤΡΙΑ: ΔΡ. ΕΛΕΝΗ ΓΕΡΑΛΗ-ΡΟΥΣΣΟΥ ΠΑΤΡΑ ΜΑΙΟΣ, 2010
2 LIST OF CONTENTS 2 LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES 4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 5 ABSTRACT 6 ΠΕΡΙΛΗΨΗ 7 INTRODUCTION 9 CHAPTER 1 Occupational Stress in the Teaching Profession 11 Introduction Stressors Stressors that Depend on the Teacher s Career Stage Stressors that Depend on the Teacher s Age The Stressor of EFL Teachers Inferiority Complex The Stressor of EFL Teachers Double Identity Other Stressors Strain General Symptoms of Stress Symptoms of Low Self Esteem Symptoms of the Inferiority Complex Appraisal 26 Conclusion 26 CHAPTER 2 Teacher Burnout 27 Introduction What Causes Burnout Symptoms of Burnout 30 Conclusion 31 CHAPTER 3 The Reason for Researching EFL Teacher Stress and Burnout 32 Introduction The Reason for Exploring EFL Teacher Stress The Reason for Exploring the Need for Stress Relieving and Self-Confidence- Boosting Sessions in EFL Teacher Training Courses Stress Relieving and Self-Confidence-Boosting Sessions for Teacher Development Stress Relieving and Self-Confidence-Boosting Sessions for Teacher Effectiveness Stress Relieving and Self-Confidence-Boosting Sessions as an Effective Way to Alleviate Stress The Objective and the Expected Outcomes of the Research 40 Conclusion 41 CHAPTER 4 Methodology 43 Introduction Participants The Researcher s Profile The Subjects Profile Methods of Gathering Data Interviews Observation Lists of Open-Ended Questions Ethics Threats to Quality Quality Criteria Ethical Principles 57
3 Conclusion 60 CHAPTER 5 Data Analysis 61 Introduction Stressors Mentioned by the Participants Strain as Described by the Participants or Observed in Their Lesson Participants Whose Case Showed Causes and Signs of Burnout Data Gathered from Pantelis Impressions from Teacher Training Experience Perceived Need for Stress Relieving and Self-Confidence-Boosting Sessions 69 Conclusion 71 CHAPTER 6 The Outcomes of the Research 72 Introduction The Outcomes of the Research Regarding Teacher Stress The Outcomes of the Research Regarding Stress Symptoms The Outcomes of the Research Regarding Teacher Burnout The Outcomes of the Research Regarding Participants Previous Training Experience The Outcomes of the Research Regarding the Need for Stress Relieving and Self-Confidence-Boosting Sessions Implications and Suggestions 76 Conclusion 77 CONCLUSION 79 REFERENCES 82 Appendix I: Stella s Observation Schedule 86 Appendix II: Stella s Data 87 Appendix III: Fay s Data 140 Appendix IV: Fotini s Data 151 Appendix V: Stephanie s Data 170 Appendix VI: Jenny s Data 198 Appendix VII: Pantelis Data 209 Appendix VIII: Costas Data 211 3
4 LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES 4 Table 1.1: Stressors that depend on the teacher s career stage 13 Figure 1.2: Stressors Depending on Teachers Career Stage 14 Figure 1.3: The Stress Cycle 23
5 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 5 A great many thanks to my supervising teacher, Dr Eleni Gheralis Roussos, for her guidance and support. I wish to thank my future husband and my mother, for their patience, support and understanding all those years I have attended the HOU postgraduate course. I am also grateful to all the fellow students who have helped me throughout the course of my studies. I would especially like to thank the participants who eagerly contributed to this research and provided valuable data.
6 ABSTRACT 6 It is widely accepted that the occupation of teachers is a highly stressful one. There are a lot of factors that cause stress in teachers, the most important of which is lack of selfconfidence. EFL teachers however, who are non-native speakers of English, have yet another reason to feel stressed, that of inferiority complex concerning the use of the English language. The consequences of working under pressure and stress, relate not only to the individual teachers, but also to the whole educational institution they work at, as they have to do with their performance, and as a result, affect students performance as well. When stress becomes too intense and extends over a long period, the ultimate result is teacher burnout, which may lead to the teacher leaving the profession. Despite the importance of the topic, EFL teacher training courses have neglected this area. The writing of this paper then, sprang from the hypothesis that if EFL teacher training courses include stress relieving and self-confidence-boosting sessions, teachers will learn to deal with stressful situations more successfully, and burnout will be avoided. The paper tries to verify this hypothesis. For this reason, qualitative research was conducted, and data was gathered through interviews, observation, and lists of open-ended questions from EFL teachers, a teacher trainer, and a language institute manager. The paper explores the reasons for and symptoms of stress and burnout, the participants impressions from teacher training courses, and their opinion on the need for stress relieving and self-confidenceboosting sessions in EFL teacher training courses. First, the literature review is presented, followed by an analysis of the methodology implemented. Next, the data gathered is analysed and interpreted. It is expected that the results of the study will throw more light on the topic of teacher stress and burnout, leading to further research and subsequent actions.
7 ΠΕΡΙΛΗΨΗ 7 Είναι ευρέως αποδεκτό ότι το επάγγελμα των εκπαιδευτικών είναι ιδιαίτερα στρεσογόνο. Υπάρχουν πολλοί παράγοντες που προκαλούν στρες στους εκπαιδευτικούς, ο πιο σημαντικός από τους οποίους είναι η έλλειψη αυτοπεποίθησης. Οι καθηγητές των Αγγλικών ως ξένης γλώσσας όμως, οι οποίοι δεν μιλούν τα Αγγλικά ως μητρική τους γλώσσα, έχουν ακόμη ένα λόγο για να νιώθουν αγχωμένοι, το σύμπλεγμα κατωτερότητας που σχετίζεται με τη χρήση της Αγγλικής γλώσσας. Οι επιπτώσεις της εργασίας υπό πίεση και στρες αφορούν όχι μόνο ατομικά τους καθηγητές, αλλά και ολόκληρο το εκπαιδευτικό ίδρυμα στο οποίο δουλεύουν, καθώς έχουν να κάνουν με την επίδοσή τους, και συνεπώς επηρεάζουν την επίδοση των μαθητών επίσης. Όταν το στρες γίνεται πολύ έντονο και διαρκεί για μεγάλο χρονικό διάστημα, το τελικό αποτέλεσμα είναι η εξάντληση του εκπαιδευτικού, που μπορεί να τον οδηγήσει στο να εγκαταλείψει το επάγγελμα. Παρά τη σημασία του θέματος, τα επιμορφωτικά σεμινάρια για καθηγητές Αγγλικών έχουν αμελήσει αυτόν τον τομέα. Η συγγραφή αυτής της εργασίας λοιπόν, πήγασε από την υπόθεση ότι αν τα επιμορφωτικά σεμινάρια για καθηγητές Αγγλικών συμπεριλάβουν μαθήματα ανακούφισης του άγχους και ενίσχυσης της αυτοπεποίθησης, οι εκπαιδευτικοί θα μάθουν να αντιμετωπίζουν στρεσογόνες καταστάσεις με περισσότερη επιτυχία, και η εξάντληση θα αποφευχθεί. Η εργασία προσπαθεί να επαληθεύσει την υπόθεση. Γι αυτόν το λόγο διεξήχθη ποιοτική έρευνα, και συγκεντρώθηκαν δεδομένα μέσω συνεντεύξεων, παρατήρησης και καταλόγων ανοιχτών ερωτήσεων, από καθηγητές Αγγλικών, έναν επιμορφωτή καθηγητών, και έναν διευθυντή ινστιτούτου ξένων γλωσσών. Η εργασία διερευνά τους λόγους και τα συμπτώματα του στρες και της εξάντλησης, τις εντυπώσεις των συμμετεχόντων στην έρευνα για τα επιμορφωτικά σεμινάρια, και τη γνώμη τους για την ανάγκη να συμπεριληφθούν μαθήματα ανακούφισης του άγχους και ενίσχυσης της αυτοπεποίθησης στα επιμορφωτικά σεμινάρια καθηγητών Αγγλικής. Πρώτα,
8 παρουσιάζεται η ανασκόπηση της βιβλιογραφίας. Ακολουθεί μια ανάλυση της 8 μεθοδολογίας που εφαρμόστηκε. Στη συνέχεια, τα δεδομένα που συγκεντρώθηκαν αναλύονται και ερμηνεύονται. Αναμένεται ότι τα αποτελέσματα της έρευνας θα ρίξουν περισσότερο φως στο θέμα του στρες και της εξάντλησης των εκπαιδευτικών και θα οδηγήσουν σε περαιτέρω έρευνα και συνακόλουθες ενέργειες.
9 INTRODUCTION 9 It is widely recognised that the teaching profession is highly stressful. The stress that teachers experience at their working environment affects not only the teachers as individuals, but also the educational institution they work in, as it influences their performance and relationships at work, and consequently, students performance. When teachers suffer from stress at a high level, over a long period, they may reach the state of burn out, with the ultimate result of leaving the teaching profession. Since stress is something that one can or has to learn to deal with, or even prevent, and since stress and burnout are mostly related to one s sense of self efficacy and appraisal, it was thought that EFL teacher training courses need to include stress relieving and selfconfidence-boosting sessions. This research then, which is qualitative, investigates whether there is actually a need for such courses. It examines the reasons why certain EFL teachers might feel stressed, or even burned out, the signs of stress and burnout detected on them, their previous training experience, and their perceived need for such courses. The emphasis is on EFL teachers, as they have an additional reason for feeling stressed at work, that of inferiority complex, regarding the use of the second language. In order to investigate these matters, participants were interviewed, observed, or given lists of open-ended questions to answer. The paper is divided into 6 chapters. In Chapter 1, the concept of teacher stress is clarified and the reasons for and symptoms of teacher stress are exposed, based on the relevant literature review. In Chapter 2 the literature review continues with the concept of burnout, and an analysis of the causes and consequences of it. Chapter 3 concludes the literature review on stress and burnout, by explaining the reason why this topic was chosen for investigation. In particular, it provides a rationale for
10 10 the need to explore EFL teacher stress, and the need for stress relieving and selfconfidence-boosting sessions, as well as the expected outcomes of this research. In Chapter 4 the methodology implemented for this qualitative research is analysed. More specifically, the participants profile is described, and the methods for gathering data are exposed. The chapter concludes with the ethics behind the research, according to relevant literature. Chapter 5 provides an analysis of the data gathered from the participants. It shows whether the participants have reasons for feeling stressed and burnout, whether they have developed any symptoms of them, what their impressions from teacher training they have received are, whether they think that stress relieving and self-confidence-boosting sessions are necessary in EFL teacher training courses, and what they think the nature and components of such courses should be. Chapter 6 finally, tries to draw the implications out of the data analysis, checking whether the initial hypothesis and the literature review have been verified, and making suggestions for further research.
11 CHAPTER 1 Occupational Stress in the Teaching Profession 11 Introduction Cantrell and Cantrell (2003) define stress as an interaction between individuals and any source of demand within their environment anything that exerts our bodies physically, mentally emotionally, or all. They add that stress results from the perception that the demands exceed one s capacity to cope (p. 93). Teacher stress in particular, is defined as the experience by a teacher of unpleasant, negative emotions resulting from one aspect of their work as a teacher (Kyriacou, as cited in Hansen & Sullivan, 2003, p. 611). Hansen and Sullivan (2003) analyse the components of teacher stress as follows: (a) the stressor is an event that occurs at work, (b) the strain includes the psychological and physiological effects of stressors on the individual, and (c) the appraisal determines the way a person reacts to a stressor, or to put it differently, the level of strain, according to how threatening the stressor is judged and whether there are sufficient resources to deal with it. In this chapter the components of teacher stress, as described previously, will be further analysed, so that a wider understanding of the concept can be achieved, especially as far as EFL teachers are concerned. 1.1 Stressors As defined above, stressors are basically the factors that may cause a teacher to feel stressed at work. They are presented below subdivided in five categories: (a) factors that have to do with the stage in a teacher s career; (b) factors that have to do with a teacher s age; (c) factors that relate to the work-related inferiority complex that EFL teachers may experience; (d) factors that pertain to the EFL teaching profession, as they concern the
12 problem of double identity of EFL teachers; and (d) other work-related and personal 12 factors Stressors that Depend on the Teacher s Career Stage Different authors have given their own versions of the different stages that teachers go through in their career. Each stage presents a different challenge for the teacher, and constitutes a different reason for feeling stressed. According to Akbari (2007), there are three stages in a teacher s career (see Table 1.1): (a) During the first stage, the emphasis is placed on the self, on presenting an ideal image, so as to be liked by the students; (b) At the second stage the teacher is mostly concerned with issues of classroom management, their integration in the school community, and the tasks they have to carry out; (c) Only at the third stage comes the concern for improving students learning outcomes. Bérci (2006) distinguishes four stages, or forms of professional life and consciousness of professionalism (see Table 1.1): (a) the practical conformist, who relies on authorities and ready-made recipes, because they are unsure of the value of their own knowledge (Bérci, p. 58). They experience anxiety and aloneness, as they keep a distance from their students. They feel uncomfortable, albeit infatuated with their position, and they are unconcerned with their students or their own growth. Moreover, while trying to meet the external demands and live up to institutional mandates, they lose their individuality; (b) the theoretical conformist, who has become disenchanted with the profession and their appetite for teaching lessens, because they detect mismatches between how they imagined teaching would be and how it actually is. They realize the inadequacy of theories which are unconnected with their reality and they experience lack of support. As a result, they develop hostile feelings, and their self is divided, as they have a different way of thinking
13 and acting in and outside the classroom. They still depend on authorities for the 13 definition of their professional self, but they have come to realize the complexities of the teaching profession; (c) the awakening philosophical practitioner, who desires to keep the bond between the person and the profession strong, although they are conscious of their own ideas and ideals which contradict the institutional and social maxims. The anxiety they face is dual, as they feel the need to be responsible for the value of their guiding thoughts, and they are nervous about juxtaposing external ideals with their own. In other words, authority becomes a source of anxiety, perceived as practically driven bad faith or inauthenticity (Bérci, p. 59); (d) the authentic philosophical professional, who is committed to a personal and professional philosophy, as they are concerned with both their students and their own development. The identity of the teacher and the person becomes unified; teaching becomes a conscious choice, part of their identity. Teachers at this stage are open to new ideas, they seek collaboration and they conduct research. They are conscious of their limitations, but they are committed. Table 1.1: Stressors that depend on the teacher s career stage Akbari (2007) Bérci (2006) 1 st stage: emphasis on ideal image (a) practical conformist: Reliance on authorities / distance from students 2 nd stage: Classroom management / (b) theoretical conformist: Inadequacy of theories / integration / tasks 3 rd stage: Students learning outcomes (c) awakening philosophical practitioner: (d) authentic philosophical professional: mismatches Bond between personal values and professional ideals Students and own development / committed / identity of person and teacher unified As Tsui (2003) describes it, beginning teachers are preoccupied with their own survival in the classroom. They feel diffident, inadequate, and ill-prepared. The problems that concern them are reconciling educational ideals and realities, maintaining classroom discipline, establishing an appropriate relationship with students, playing the role of a teacher, and having an adequate mastery of knowledge as well as instructional methods
14 14 (Tsui, p. 79). If the first phase is a positive experience, the phase of stabilization follows, where teachers gain confidence and mastery of teaching skills, and are more concerned with the impact of their teaching on their students. If, on the other hand, the first phase is a negative experience, what follows is a phase of self-doubt. The phase of stabilization is followed by a third phase of experimentation and innovation. If at this phase teachers are disappointed with the outcome of their efforts, they experience feelings of self doubt, and they are unsure about their commitment. Self-doubt and uncertainty can lead to serenity, which involves a compromise that gives teachers greater confidence, but less enthusiasm and more distance from students. What follows then uncertainty and serenity is conservatism. It should be noted that this is not a linear development of a teacher s career. The passing of phases depends on the personal experiences, social environment, and organisational influences as well (see Figure 1.2) Stressors Depending on Teachers Career Stage (Tsui, 2003) Beginning: Survival in the classroom (personal experiences, organizational influences, social environment) Positive Experience Negative Experience Stabilization: confidence, mastery, impact of teaching on students Experimentation & Innovation - Disappointment with Outcome Self Doubt Serenity: Compromise Conservatism Figure 1.2. The factor of career stage is also closely linked to that of age.
15 1.1.2 Stressors that Depend on the Teacher s Age 15 Not only each stage, but also each age-span in a teacher s career generates different stressors. As it will be shown below, young beginning teachers are the ones with the most concerns, as they are the least experienced. They are plunged into the profession usually with an attitude of sink or swim, being asked to do more with less time and no support, and even no previous training, or an internship period that would help them start their career with greater confidence (Cantrell & Cantrell, 2003). According to Sikes (1985), young teachers under the age of 30 are not so committed to a life long career in teaching, and their immediate concern is to cope and seem capable of coping with the job itself. Main concerns are discipline and student motivation. Of the two, maintaining discipline seems to cause young teachers the greatest anxiety, perceived as an intimidating task, due to their lack of authority of age. Another major concern is the subject they teach, as they draw satisfaction from it. It gives them an identity they feel secure in and they use it as a defense mechanism. Moreover, young teachers are afraid of appearing powerless in front of their more experienced colleagues and perceive their difficulties as worse than anyone else s, because they do not spell them out. Yet another problem of young teachers is that of socializing. The school context can become a source of disappointment if most of the staff are older people concerned with their families, who may not have the time or desire to make new acquaintances and socialize outside school with the new teachers. Moving to the age group of 28-33, Sikes (1985) explains that teachers are more stressful, because family and domestic commitments increase, money becomes more important, and teaching does not seem so challenging or satisfying any more. They experience frustration and stress relating to their career development, as it gets more difficult for them to keep up with their specialist identity. Since they have difficulty in
16 maintaining a high level of language proficiency by updating their language mastery, 16 they become more interested in teaching and curriculum innovation. In other words, they place emphasis on their teacher rather than language specialist identity. Middle-aged teachers go through a transitional phase from youth to maturity, when they realize their mortality in a more profound way, since they keep getting older, while their students remain the same age, and some of their colleagues may be the same age as their children, which can come as a shock for them (Sikes, 1985). The stressors described so far are relevant for all teachers. There is, however, a stressor that is specifically relevant to EFL teachers, that of inferiority complex, analysed below The Stressor of EFL Teachers Inferiority Complex The stressor of inferiority complex affects EFL teachers, because it concerns the use of the second/foreign language, in our case, English. Teachers who suffer from such an inferiority complex are non-native English Speaking Teachers (non-nests) who are less proficient users of English than NESTs and are well aware of their linguistic handicap and of its all-pervasive nature (Medgyes, 1994, p. 33). Parrott (1988) argues that above a certain basic level, there is little correlation between language proficiency and teaching effectiveness. Nonetheless, teachers are very conscious of their command of the language they teach. They may be proud of their abilities or anxious about what they think of as their deficiencies (Parrott, p. 31). Herwitz (as cited in Medgyes, 1994) uses the term FL anxiety to refer to this stressor, and explains that it has three components: (a) communication apprehension, which is caused when one has mature ideas but cannot find the linguistic resources to
17 express them; (b) fear of negative social evaluation; and (c) test anxiety, which is 17 experienced by non-nests when they perform before advanced students. In particular, non-nests feel hopelessly insecure about the use of vocabulary, since it is an open and dynamic system, which resists mastery (Medgyes, 1994, p. 33). As non-nests realize how little they know about the language they are supposed to teach, they are in constant distress, since they become aware that they are both teachers and learners of English. Berry (as cited in Cullen, 1994) explains that limited contact with native speakers and their culture, and few opportunities for travel, leave teachers with hearing just their pupils English. So, there is a perceived loss of proficiency and it is their confidence rather than their proficiency that needs bolstering (Berry, as cited in Cullen, p. 164). What is meant here is that teachers performance is more affected by their lack of self-confidence than their language mastery, and this lack of self-confidence results from a subjective perception of their proficiency, which they consider deficient. According to Kouraogo (1987) this insecurity that teachers feel as far as language mastery is concerned, is evident in their reactions to training provision, as they are afraid of being found deficient in terms of theory and technique, but most crucially in terms of mastery of the language (p. 173). Relative to the inferiority complex is the educational background of teachers, because teachers who are not well qualified, and have not received enough training and university education do not have such a good command of the English language. On the contrary, those who have received more substantial training are more aware of the complexity of the profession and the fact that language proficiency is just one condition for effective teaching (Medgyes, 1994, p. 53). Another stressor that is related to EFL teachers is that of double identity, described as follows.
18 1.1.4 The Stressor of EFL Teachers Double Identity 18 Feelings of inferiority can also stem from insecurity about the variety of English that is spoken by the nonnative teacher (Wright, 1992). A teacher s low self esteem may result from their feelings about their nation s place and identity in the world of teaching English. This is related to the teacher s identity, because language is an expression of our sense of identity and self esteem, it gives us identity, like our country (Ruzsa, 1988, p. 46). A teacher of English has to cope then, with a double identity, in and outside the classroom, that of her country, and that of the country whose language she teaches. As Medgyes (1994) puts it, non-nests are at a junction between two languages, their mother tongue and English, and several cultures. This situation of double identity causes troubles in the classroom, because if one is true to their native identity, they might present an imperfect model of English. But if they try to sound native-like, they may convey a false idea of the way most native speakers speak. As a result, non-nests are split between two patterns of behaviour and the better command of English they have, the more difficult it is for them to keep their L1 and L2 behaviours distinct to such a degree, that they may even transfer features of L2 language and cultures to their L1 behaviour. This in turn causes them to worry about losing their native identity (Medgyes, pp ). Apart from the language issue, Ball and Goodson (1985) argue that teachers often complain about having to present another self in the classroom; there is a dichotomy of the self as teacher and as person, a different presentation of self according to context, and their career becomes a search of working contexts where this dichotomy can be abandoned or reduced. Jersild (1955) explains that teachers experience anxiety when they cannot resolve conflicts between keeping up the pretences and being exposed, pretending to be someone else, for example, pretending to know all answers and having their ignorance exposed, or
19 claiming that teaching means everything to them and thinking that it does not fulfill 19 them, conflicts between what they are and what they think they ought to be ideally, thus developing feelings of uncertainty and unworthiness, placing impossible demands upon oneself. Having presented EFL teacher stressors, we move on to more general ones Other Stressors Generally speaking, conflict and stress arise when teachers have to reconcile the need to reflect on the self and the need to meet the daily responsibilities (Bérci, 2006). These daily responsibilities, referred to as the time and energy a job requires by Hansen and Sullivan (2003), or workload, are important stressors. Dick and Wagner (2001) refer to workload as a potential stressor, encompassing elements such as number of students, student discipline, problems with foreign students, parents, public attitude towards the teaching profession, and work climate. Special reference to these factors will be made below. As far as students attitudes are concerned, Flores (2005) supports that student achievement, feedback, and motivation are factors affecting teachers sense of self efficacy, defined as the personal belief about one s own ability to influence student learning and achievement (p. 403). However, teachers cannot see immediate results from their work and thus cannot be sure that they affect positively students life (Cantrell & Cantrell, 2003; Webb, 1985). Moreover, stress is increased in teachers when the educational system puts great emphasis on examination results, as this does injustice to teachers who may help poorly motivated children move to moderate levels of learning, since education has to do with more than academic development. It also has to do with the holistic development of students, their emotional, social and behavioural development. Kouraogo (1987) also attests to the fact that lack of recognition by pupils, as well as lack of motivation and
20 discipline, are factors that are responsible for teachers low morale. Ball and Goodson 20 (1985) add that pupils play an important role in defining the reality of the classroom by processing their teachers and in this way affecting their health, survival and degree of stress. Another stressor is mobbing, a concept which describes workplace terrorising by colleagues, principals, or both, in the form of threats, spreading rumours, or being excluded from social activities (Dick & Wagner, 2001). Pelletier and Sharp (2009) stress the importance of administrative pressures which make teachers feel less satisfied with their work. They define job pressure as time constraints, pressure from school authorities, and evaluation based on students performance (p. 178). Fernandez (2000) also places great emphasis on the role of the principal. Principals that support and inspire the development of a professional community in schools contribute to the development of a sense of self efficacy and self worth among teachers, factors which, when missing, cause anxiety. One of the reasons that teachers are put under stress is the bombarding of schools with new policies, which teachers are mainly responsible for implementing. In such cases, the principal has to be visible so that teachers can feel secure. When the principal is involved, teachers feel that they are doing something meaningful and important. Principals that provide emotional support to novice teachers help ease their doubts about their professional ability. As mentioned before, stress is not only caused by administrative pressures, but also by the relationships with colleagues. Jersild (1955) refers to a feeling of loneliness, lack of mutual understanding even among friends, and no way of venting suppressed feelings of hostility as factors that cause stress in teachers. Recognition from significant others helps maintain self esteem and professional self respect. Teacher isolation contributes to the lack of teacher autonomy and decision making, since teachers cannot unite in order to suggest changes that might improve their work; all decisions are imposed from the top and this