Survey Shows Need for National Focus on Workplace Stress

IB ImageThe first-of-its-kind, 80-question survey was a collaborative effort between AFT and the national Badass Teachers Association and was filled out by more than 30,000 educators. After concerns of stress on the job were reported by Badass Teachers Association members (BATs), the survey was designed by a group of teachers who are both AFT union members and BATs. 
 
The survey was then reviewed and refined by a workplace stress expert and a professional pollster before it was sent to members of AFT local unions in late-April.
 
Click here for our previous post on the survey's launch.
 
Ninety-six percent of respondents said they're physically and emotionally exhausted at the end of the day, and 87 percent said the demands of their job interfere with family life. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
 
Additional survey findings include:
  • Only 1 in 5 educators feel respected by government officials or the media;
  • Fourteen percent strongly agree with the statement that they trust their administrator or supervisor; &
  • More than 75 percent say they do not have enough staff to get the work done.
Click here for the initial report on the Quality of Worklife survey.
 
Among the greatest workplace stressors identified by respondents were the adoption of new initiatives without proper training or professional development, mandated curriculum and standardized tests.
 
"Teaching and caring for our students is a tough job -- it means being brilliant, inspirational, loving, tough and compliant, all day, every day," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "Anyone who goes into education welcomes this challenge, but with the advent of high-stakes testing, the spike in income inequality and the cuts to public education funding, the pressure on teachers has been immense."
 
"These survey results should be a wake-up call for policymakers, but they're hardly surprising to our member educators," said AFT Connecticut President Melodie Peters. "The sheer volume of changes to public education in the past five years means some of our most experienced teachers feel like it's their first year in the classroom. The results reinforce what we've long said; that educators and students are not a science project for politicians to experiment with."
 
Click here for recent press coverage of the survey results.
 
AFT President Randi Weingarten last week sent a letter to the DOE secretary and the director of the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) urging they mount a scientific study on working conditions for educators. Our national union is additionally calling for congressional hearings on this important issue.
 
Click here for additional press coverage of the survey's findings.