A study of work stress and coping among primary school teachers in the Wellington region

  • Shilpa Jain Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
Keywords: work stress, coping, primary school teachers, Wellington region


This research examines the perception of work stress among primary school teachers in the Wellington region. Specifically, it focuses on the way teachers perceive work stress, the contributing factors and the coping strategies employed. Interpretative phenomenological analysis is the qualitative approach and methodology chosen to examine the way teachers make sense of their stress experiences. The educational sector in New Zealand has undergone enormous legislative and organisational change and in the recent past there have been nationwide primary school teacher strikes. While research on teacher stress in New Zealand in relation to the 1989 major reforms has been published, there has been little recent qualitative research on work stress in primary school teachers.

This study shows that these teachers experience moderate to high levels of stress because of work overload, the multiplicity of sources of stress, the emotional demands of the role and the frustration and constraints they face in role performance. Even so, these teachers derive satisfaction from the core job of teaching and utilise positive coping strategies to manage their stress and work demands, with most of them intending to stay in the role. However, the sustainability of the role of teaching is a concern, as societal misperceptions about teaching and lack of respect for them pose challenges for those continuing in the profession long term. This study contributes to the base literature on teacher stress in the New Zealand context and offers recommendations for supporting the well-being of primary school teachers.


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How to Cite
Jain, S. (2021). A study of work stress and coping among primary school teachers in the Wellington region. Teachers’ Work, 18(1), 18-35. https://doi.org/10.24135/teacherswork.v18i1.313