Screen teachers for stress, says psychologist

Harry Tan of the NUTP says teachers experience stress as a result of financial problems and heavy workloads, but added that another reason was indiscipline among students. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A psychologist has suggested that would-be teachers be made to undergo screening for stress levels to determine whether they are suited for the job.

“Some people should consider other occupations if their stress levels are too high,” Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat of Universiti Sains Malaysia said in an interview with FMT.

She said the tools used for the screening should be comprehensive enough to measure various types and levels of stress.

“People who become teachers for the wrong reasons or because teaching is the only option for them are more likely to feel stressed when carrying out their responsibilities,” she added.

However, she said there was little cause to worry in regard to the current situation among Malaysian teachers if figures recently released by Education Minister Maszlee Malik was something to go by.

On Tuesday, Maszlee told the Dewan Negara that 4.4% of 48,258 teachers who participated in a recent study said they experienced moderate stress at work.

He said the factors contributing to stress included financial problems, work burdens and lack of skills to carry out certain duties.

Geshina said teachers experiencing stress should undergo treatment to prevent the development of other health conditions and to ensure the maintenance of quality in their work. They might become quick to anger or even violent if not treated, she added.

NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan said he was aware that teachers experienced stress as a result of financial problems and heavy workloads, but added that another reason was indiscipline among students.

He called for efforts to turn schools into stress-free environments. “Let’s have lots of greenery and spaces to run around in,” he said. “That’s the kind of place a school should be.”