Shkëmbi, F., Melonashi, E., & Fanaj, N. (2015). Workplace stress among teachers in Kosovo. SAGE Open. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015614610
Background & Theory:
Teaching is one of the most thoroughly investigated professions for workplace stress. In Europe, stress was reported as most common in education and health-related professions, and within countries like Greece and Slovenia, high levels of burnout pose significant challenges to well-being in the workplace. The teaching profession is regarded as frustrating and emotionally depleting, so this increasing trend to abandon the profession all together is concerning. Since research on teaching in Kosovo is lacking, this study attempts to specifically understand the stress of being a teacher in Kosovo.
Research was conducted by Fleura Shkëmbi, Erika Melonashi, and Naim Fanaj to answer the following questions:
- What is the relationship between workplace stress and stress-related variables among teachers in Kosovo?
- Are there age and gender-related patterns of workplace stress in Kosovo and do marital status, educational level, and working experience play a role in stress?
- How does stress related to the teaching profession in Kosovo compare to other countries?
This study measured 799 random teachers in primary and secondary schools in Prishtina (n = 617) and Ferizaj (n = 182). Regarding gender, 33.8% were male, 65.2% were females, and 1% did not report. Regarding the place of residence, 41.6% were from urban areas, 50.1% were from rural areas, and 8.4% did not report. The age ranged from 20 to 65 years with a median age of 42.94 and a standard deviation of 11.49.
The NSAD Stress Questionnaire assessed levels of workplace stress, including 25 YES/NO questions. A second measure was constructed for this specific study based on existing research on workplace stressors that assessed 12 stressors, such as work overload, lack of student discipline, low wages, etc. Each stressor was evaluated on a Likert scale from 0 (not at all) to 4 (a lot). If a participant scored higher than 14, they were reported to have “high levels of stress.”
The results show that 33.2% of the participants reported high levels of stress, 38% reported moderate levels of stress, and 10.3% reported low levels of stress. The model reached statistical significance in determining the relationships of the place of residency and level of education to stress.
The teachers in rural areas faced higher levels of stress than those in urban areas. The research suggests the two main stressors are undisciplined students and a lack of respect from supervisors. Additionally, the less educated the teachers were, the more stress they were found to have. An explanation for this may be that it is difficult to manage some of the challenges of the teaching role without proper training.
Although the other variables did not show statistical significance, there were strong correlations with stress levels. For example, older participants showed more stress. This result may be caused by unclear responsibilities, the physical working environment, and especially higher wages. They believe their experience should garner higher wages.
What We Can Learn:
Looking over this research, we can take away the following key insights:
- The top three stressors reported by Kosovan teachers were inadequate wages, the physical working environment, and undisciplined students. Finding ways to change or reduce the impact of these stressors may be key to improving the quality of life for teachers and as a result, increase effective performance.
- Teachers that are less educated and live in rural areas undergo a significant amount of stress, indicating a need for proper training and resources to support them in their profession.
For Consultants: This study found that uneducated, rural teachers in Kosovo tend to struggle with workplace stress. Finding ways to address stress in the workplace will likely improve their performance. Here are some ways to do so.
For Everyone: Teaching is one of the most stressful jobs in Kosovo and across the world. Finding little ways to help teachers in your life de-stress will help make their lives easier and improve the overall quality of education for children.