Returning to School: Teachers' Occupational and COVID-19-Related Stress and Their Perceptions of School Climate

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UNLABELLED: Minimizing teacher stress is an essential aspect of effective teaching and supporting a healthy school climate. Previous research has indicated that teachers who experience elevated levels of occupational stress may have a negative perception of their school's climate, poor mental/physical health, poor relationships with their students, and are less likely to stay within their occupations. In addition, recent research has shown that Americans have experienced an increase in stress levels since the beginning of 2020 due to COVID-19-related stressors. This study sought to expand on previous research that investigated how teacher occupational stress is associated with teachers' perceptions of school climate. This study also examined how COVID-19-related stressors are associated with teachers' perceptions of school climate. Data from 111 elementary, middle, and high school teachers in the Southeastern United States were collected using self-report surveys on school climate, teacher occupational stress, and COVID-19-related stress. Linear regression analysis revealed that teacher occupational stress was not significantly associated with teachers' perceptions of school climate; however, a negative association between teachers' COVID-19-related stress and their perceptions of school climate was observed. This finding suggests that as teachers' COVID-19-related stress increased, their perceptions of school climate tended to decrease. The findings of this study provide insight into how to better support teachers' well-being so they can effectively perform their jobs and contribute to positive outcomes for students. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s40688-022-00428-2.

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Contemporary school psychology

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