Stressors and Stress Management Mechanisms among First-Year School Principals
Thus, this period needs to be handled with a lot of care and precaution. Indeed, Lindley agrees, “professional training materials are needed to help educators who are preparing for administrative positions and first-year principals who are struggling to survive the tribulations of the “rookie” principal” (Lindley xi). The best way to do this is to investigate the various causes of stress among first year principals so that best way forward can be proposed to assist school administrators going through the same challenges. Since the issues of stress among first year school administrators is wide and multivariate, literature review is given a fivefold approach. First, literature regarding burnout theory is investigated. Secondly, literature review is done on stressors among first year principals. Thirdly, works regarding impact of stress experienced by school administrators is reviewed. Finally, literature work on authors who have focused on coping mechanisms is evaluated. Burnout can occur among professionals dealing with service to people. According to Dworkin
burnout occurs when overstressed individuals feel emotionally drained by their work environment, feel that their activities result in no benefit to those they had intended to help or to themselves, and come to blame their clients, patients, or students for failing to improve, get better, or learn, and in turn, for the professional’s loss of feelings of accomplishment....
Although there are different burnout models, Maslach burnout theory as proposed by Maslach and Jackson is used. The Maslach burnout inventory (MBI) argues that burnout syndrome comprises of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a feeling of reduced personal accomplishment. The burnout theory has mostly been used to assess the stress levels among professionals who do “people work.” Most of the earlier works utilizing burnout theory investigated causes of stress and stress levels among professionals in nursing and religious institutions. However, recent works investigating stress among school administrators have also used this theory with great levels of success. Indeed, “a number of studies have now reported on the reliability and validity of the Maslach Burnout Inventory in a variety of cultures and among a variety of different professional groups” (Greer and Moberg 180). Whereas, burnout theory has been used for quite some time in investigating stressors among school principals, “research on burnout has produced unanswered questions for school administrators” (Ward 46). It therefore becomes important to dig exhaustively in this subject in order to come up with viable solutions to the stress factors. Many authors have applied the MBI in their work on stress among school administrators. Among them was Ward from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Ward investigated the impact of personal and organizational factors on school administrators. Though his study was wide, one of the issues he investigated was the correlation between the levels of burnout and years of experience of school administrators. He used the MBI and found out that the first years of school administration are the most stressful. Vandenberghe and Huberman explored the