Perceptions of Stress Among Native American, Hispanic, and Caucasian K-5 Teachers
Lotz-Drlik, Jane Elizabeth
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Within the context of a nationwide shortage of teachers of color, stable enrollment of Native American students, and increasing enrollments of Hispanic students, the purpose of this study was to examine self-reported stress among Native American, Hispanic, and Caucasian tK-5 teachers. This was a mixed-methods study, with both quantitative and qualitative methods used to collect and analyze the data. A random selection of K-5 teachers working in the Pacific Northwest was invited to respond through an online version of the Wilson Stress Profile for Teachers, a 36-item inventory employing a 1-5 Likert Scale. The data collected were analyzed through use of an earlier study of the Stress Profile by Wei-Ming, Olejnik, Greenwood, and Parkay (1991). Six teachers also agreed to participate in one-on-one interviews. An earlier study by Kyriacou (2008) of "stress triggers" for teachers was used as an initial framework for clarifying and analyzing the intensity of the teachers' self-reported issues. Next, the data were analyzed using the following: first, consideration of oppositional voices to the dominant white discourse; second, education as examination and re-examination; and, finally, attention to the voices of marginalized members of the educational population. Results indicate that the teachers perceived six major concerns: 1) insufficient time; 2) excessively high, unrealistic, and unknown expectations of teachers and of students, held by district and state educational administration; 3) student success; 4) job security; 5) lack of valid and shared data regarding effective instruction; and 6) frequent changes in mandated instructional programs and methods, without sufficient time having been devoted to valid and reliable assessment of those currently in use. The analyses suggested that these concerns were influenced, in varying degrees, by culturally-related factors. These factors included 1) colleagues' perceived cultural prejudice; 2) gender expectations within the Caucasian, Hispanic, and American Indian communities; and 3) bias in policies. This report concludes with overall findings and suggestions for future practice.
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