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Semester system and overload of work cause stress in teachers

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PU psychology faculty members exclusive talk with The Educationist

Report – By Bilal Naveed

LAHORE: (Friday, August 3, 2018): Continuous work without any break in semester system, overload of work, supervision of large number of students’ research, increasing inability to cope with daily problems and activities and dramatic changes in sleeping or eating habits cause stress and feeling of anger in teachers. This was stated by Punjab University Institute of Applied Psychology (IAP) faculty members during an exclusive talk with The Educationist.

Dr. Rafia Rafiq


Dr. Rafia Rafiq, Associate Professor at IAP, said that teachers’ work disturbed by illegal issues and illegal appointments. She said that in semester system teachers are over burdened as they are bounded to teach lengthy syllabus in short duration, meet deadlines and assignment marking. This cause stress and anxiety. All these issues also develop a big gap in student-teacher and teacher-administration relationships that lead to time and work management problem, health issues and sleep disturbance, she added.



Dr. Mujeeba Asharaf

Dr. Mujeeba Ashraf, Assistant Professor at IAP, said that continuous work without any break and overload of work like teaching, research work and clinical replacements, on teachers make them feel fatigue, anger and lose temper. Teachers’ psychological health affected during clinical work. She said that current promotion system and scholarships criteria increase performance anxiety in teachers. Organizational work pressure and deadlines accumulate stress, she added.




Afifa Anjum, a lecturer at IAP and PhD scholar of psychology in University of Punjab, said that service structured rules cause emotional regulation problems in teachers.

Afifa Anjum


“Teachers’ adjustment and interaction issues with students and teachers are common, absence of qualitative teacher training programs, proper physical facilities and educational instruments and appliances play an important role in increasing problems managing work and stress, sometimes students get inform about teachers’ conflicts and they unconsciously behave like them in their professional life,” Ms Afifa added.



Shahnila Tariq


Shahnila Tariq, a lecturer at IAP and PhD scholar in University of Punjab, said that sometimes over load of work and work-family conflicts cause stress in teachers. She said in IAP minimum 12 students are supervised by one teacher which cause time management problems. Psychological problems are very rare in teachers, she added.


Zaeema Farooq, a lecturer at IAP, said that extensive lectures, multi-tasking as being part of various administrative committees, events organisation and different deadlines leave teachers vulnerable to stress at certain points of time.

Zaeema Farooq

She said that teachers are actually the beacons of future advancements and success of students, yet imparting knowledge, being up to date regarding various subjects and coming up with creative techniques to teach simultaneous to all other tasks at certain times puts a toll on mental health of educators. “The pressure to keep up along with daily duties may as well lead towards mental exhaustion, effective management techniques become crucial for stress management as well as personal and professional development in this field,” she remarked.

Sadia Shahzeb, a Clinical Psychologist in SCAS University of Punjab, said that time management problems develop stress in teachers.

Sadia Shahzeb

“It also affects their relationships with students and family. Overburden of work is common, it affects personal family matters that cause anger, low tolerance, frustration and sleep disturbance.” She said that health issues were noticed because of unhealthy diet habits and lack of proper exercise on daily bases. Goal oriented and high achiever teachers usually suffer from time anxiety, she added.

A study by Leeds Beckett University, Britain shows that more than half of teachers have been diagnosed with mental health issues. Excessive workloads and growing financial pressures on education staff were among the reasons given for the problems. The latest findings show that of 775 surveyed, 54 per cent reported poor mental health, with 52 per cent of this number saying their illness had been identified. Eight in 10 respondents (81 per cent) said poor mental health had a negative impact on the quality of their relationships with their pupils. The same percentage said it affected their behavior management skills, with teachers citing lower levels of tolerance and being quick to anger.

The charity Education Support Partnership (ESP), which conducted the research, says that the numbers of teachers who have had mental-health problems has been rising for at least five years. And the vast majority – 81 per cent – of these teachers attributes their problems to excessive workload. But only a quarter of teachers suffering from poor mental health discussed these issues with their line managers.

According to a new survey of the American Federation of Teachers —the number citing poor mental health has jumped alarmingly over the past two years. Sixty-one percent of the teachers said their work was always or often stressful. Over half agreed that they didn’t feel the same enthusiasm as when they started teaching. They reported experiencing poor health and being bullied at work — by superiors, colleagues, students, or parents — at rates far higher than are reported for other professions. And the vast majority said they are sleep-deprived.

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