An investigation into the causes of teacher stress in selected public high schools in - Nairobi, Kenya
Mburu, Ruth Kagure
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In this paper, an investigation into the causal factors of stress among teachers in selected Public high schools in Nairobi Province of Kenya has been described. Data was obtained by means' of a questionnaire which was taken personally by the researcher to teachers in 18 public high schools in Nairobi Province of Kenya. The response rate was 82% (144/180). The data was analysed using descriptive statistics and presented using frequencies and percentages. Content analysis of free response information was used to give substance to statistical findings. Though the rating of the overall stress indicated manageable stress amongst the teachers, when analysed individually the main stressors were issues related to the Teacher Service Commission TSC), the teachers' employer. The highest stressors were methods of promotion, methods of evaluating teachers, one's chances of promotion then remuneration in that order. Unlike in previous studies where remuneration came fir.st, in this study it was overtaken by the issue of promotion. From the calculation of the frequencies and percentages, the variables of age, gender and length of service were seen to influence the levels of stress in the teachers. Those with Type 'A' personality were also found to be more prone to stress than their counterparts with Type 'B' personality. Majority of the teachers did not report debilitating symptoms of stress which is an indicator that they were coping relatively well with their assignments. Recommendations for -practice include the streamlining of promotion of teachers by the Teacher Service Commission (TSC) by ensuring that once a teacher stayed in a certain job group for a fixed length of time, he/she would be automatically moved to the next job group without undergoing vigorous and stressful interviews. Also suggested was the introduction of a fairer method of ranking schools by looking at the entry points of the students and assessing the added value the teachers give to those students. An introduction and continuation of preparatory courses for headteachers which include counselling was also recommended as well as having professional counsellors in schools capable of handling teacher issues. In future, researchers may need to extend this research to rural areas to see if the stressors there are the same as in Nairobi, which is an urban centre.