we began our work together in the Before
You Embark section with the assumptions not only (1) that
stress is a fact of life, but also (2) that teachers always have
to face significant stresses, it's only fitting that we give
you some things to consider about stress in the workplace.
The early work of John Adams (no, not the Founding Father,
the organizational development expert) (1978, 1980) is where we would
like to start. His research was not in schools, but instead with middle
managers in hospitals (people with many demands being made on them both
from their own bosses and from the many people for whom they were directly
responsible -- just like you in your teaching role, we would maintain
First, he and his colleagues gathered information which
made it possible to build an easy-to-use "map" of the types of stress
anyone faces in their life. It is a 4-part matrix based on two different
- Is the
stress experienced at work or away from work?
- Is the
stress a recent event or an ongoing condition ?
four cells on the matrix then were labeled Type I, Type II, Type III,
and Type IV stress (however unimaginative the names, they do the job;
and if you have any great ideas about other names for them feel free
to let us know).
stress at school would fall into the Type I or Type III categories.
In keeping with our initial Before You Embark forewarning, Type I stress
is simply a fact of life at school, as it is in any other kind of job.
III stress, however, is where the problems lie. If a stressor is a
one-time event, then it is time-limited, has a beginning and an end,
and at least in theory can be dealt with, allowing you to move forward
(We say "in theory" because a huge one-time stressor like a major storm
or a physically or emotionally violent event of course can have serious
longer-term consequences for a school and everyone in it.).
relentless nature of Type III stress, however, has the effect of leaving
a school perpetually beleaguered, since the stress never ends. That's
why it is so important for individuals as well as organizations like
schools to do everything possible to deal effectively with stressful
events so that they do not become stressful conditions.
(1978) and his associates processed questionnaires from large numbers
of people, created categories of stressors, then gathered information
from many more persons to determine the most debilitating kinds of
stressful working conditions.
adaptation of the Adams questionnaire is available by clicking on the "Work
Place Stress Rating" button below. The other two buttons will provide
you with additional information about stress in the workplace.