The relationship of role overload, locus of control, years of teaching experience and gender to perceived burnout among secondary school teachers in Nairobi
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The study was designed to investigate the relationship of role overload, locus of control, years of teaching experience and gender to perceived burnout among secondary school teachers. The study also investigated the extent to which each of the four variables above correlated with the amount of perceived burnout. Teachers are basically prime movers in the educational establishment. For this reason, to obtain quality education, the general well being of teachers is an issue that must be addressed. It is in the light of this grassroot dimension that factors contributing to teacher burnout are considered important for investigation. The study was carried out in Nairobi. Ten public secondary schools - single sex and co-educational, Boarding and Day schools - were selected using the stratified random sampling technique. Two hundred and eighty one teachers completed the questionnaires. Four questionnaires were administered to the teachers. These were the Teacher Background Questionnaire, Role Overload Questionnaire, Locus of Control (i-E) Scale and Burnout Inventory. The one way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) test was used to test the hypotheses in this study. A statistically significant relationship was found between Role Overload scores and Burnout Inventory scores at P0.05. This implied that those teachers who were overloaded with schoolwork perceived more burnout than those who were not overloaded. The results also showed that a statistically significant relationship existed between Locus of Control (I-E) Scale scores and Burnout Inventory scores at P0.05. This implied that teachers who were external in orientation perceived more burnout than those who were internal in orientation. There was no statistically significant relationship found between years of teaching experience and Burnout Inventory scores at P0.05. Likewise, no statistically significant relationship was found between gender and Burnout Inventory scores at P0.05. However, both male and female teachers reported high levels of burnout. Most of the teachers reported heavy role overload and scored highly in the Locus of Control (I-E) Scale. Overall, majority of the teachers perceived higher levels of burnout. Locus of control was the variable found to be highly correlated with perceived burnout. From these results, it became clear that teacher burnout is a critical problem that must be addressed seriously. It must be tackled from as many fronts as possible. Recommendations are made hoping that, with the findings of the study, they may be of value to individual teachers, head teachers, teacher trainers and education planners. The problem can only be tackled effectively through co-operation at every level. Through recognition of the problem at all levels, steps may be taken to reduce if not eliminate the devastating experiences of burnout. Addition research is needed to determine the extent to which other factors such as role conflict, role ambiguity, extroversion; introversion and learned helplessness contribute to teacher burnout. Further research is also needed to investigate teacher burnout rates in different geographical regions other than the urban research on staff burnout should be done among other professionals such as doctors, nurses, lawyers, counselors and police officers.