Teacher stress impacts student behavior

MU doctoral student Colleen Eddy explains how teacher stress is linked higher rates of student suspensions.

September 25, 2020 


Pate McCuien: Teachers are stressed out now more than ever, and a recent poll found teachers are tied with nurses for the most stressful job in America. That stress can have a trickle-down effect on their students, leading to disruptive behavior that results in student suspensions. To examine the impact of teacher burnout on student behavior outcomes, MU doctoral student Colleen Eddy helped conduct teacher surveys and classroom observations in Missouri elementary schools. She found that teacher stress and emotional exhaustion was linked to higher rates of student suspension and office discipline referrals.

Eddy: “We’re looking at suspensions in schools and how those can be negative practices because they can increase student dropout and reduce student achievement because they take the students out of the classroom and don’t teach them behavior to remain in the classroom. Those can be harmful practices that we’re trying to prevent.”

McCuien: Eddy added that creating a support system to help manage teacher stress can reduce teacher burnout and improve student outcomes as well.

Eddy: “We want to improve the environment, not only for children who go to school, but also for teachers who work there and make it a positive place for them to work. This will likely improve student outcomes, too.”

McCuien: I’m Pate McCuien, with a Spotlight on Mizzou.

Learn more about the research here

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