Are some subject teachers more stressed than others?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by LifeIsAThrill, May 4, 2015.

  1. LifeIsAThrill

    LifeIsAThrill Rookie

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    I am job searching right now and have a question for all of you employed teachers: Do teachers in some content areas have more stress than others?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    It sure seems that way. Teachers that teach a tested subject have a lot more pressure on them than those that don't. In my state there are three subjects that count towards the school's growth. Those teachers feel the pressure from everyone on staff.

    Some teachers at my school have very soft standards that may or may not be met throughout the year. There is no such thing as a time crunch for them.

    Some subjects are more enjoyable for students and therefore behavior is better and grades are higher. I've never heard of anyone failing construction class, even those kids that skip more days than they attend.

    No such thing as a stressed out PE teacher at my school either. Get to wear sweats/shorts all day, watch kids run around a track. Biggest issues are making sure the kids come back to class and not run off campus and keeping bloody noses from swelling too much.

    Some of our elective teachers have big exams and must stick to a curriculum but for the most part the electives are stress-free.
     
  4. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    I would assert that music, theatre, and art teachers do feel a crunch. Not one created by standardized tests, of course, but rather by concerts, plays, musicals, and art shows/exhibitions.

    Teaching theatre was one of the most stressful things I've ever done.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Maybe for you and your area. Not so here. Band, yes, but not the other art classes. Nothing like other subjects.
     
  6. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I currently teach in two departments: English and World Languages. I can say from my experience that the English department is under far more pressure and scrutiny than the WL department. The P sometimes sits in on dept. meetings; minutes are taken and shared with the admin team and even HR (which I think is kind of crazy but...). There was so much confusion and kerfluffle over the SBAC/CAASSP/whatever-it-was-called-testing, and the WL dept barely even knew testing was going on.

    It's not just testing, either -- there is much more pressure on what kids are passing, who is going to graduate, which just doesn't come up as intensely in an elective subject, even one that is technically a graduation requirement.

    On the flip side, the English dept. gets new books every year, seems to get more tech support and input sooner, and the WL dept. hasn't gotten new books in nearly a decade.

    In the end, all teachers have their stressors, and you just need to pick what will make you happiest!
     
  7. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I don't think any good ever comes out of comparing one subject teacher to another. Do a quick search here for "elementary vs. high school" and you'll see my point.

    I will however, say this: an unprepared or under prepared teacher will be more stressed than a well prepared, skilled teacher.
     
  8. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Lol good point Kcjo! :lol:
     
  9. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I don't think it's a subject thing, but absolutely any class that has a standardized test in my school (which is only some courses within each subject) is more stressed right NOW. That's not forever and I know the stress rotates throughout the year, but May is really tough for SOL-class teachers.

    Non-SOL teachers have more stress than other at other times though, I'm sure.
     
  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Wait for it...here it comes...the squall from PE teachers who are evaluated based upon scores from a pretest and post test at the end of the year. And the PE teachers who are in charge of countless activities all year. And the PE teachers who are evaluated based on scores from other subject their kids take...:hugs:
     
  11. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    I don't teach drama, but I've often thought that putting on the school play would be the single most stressful responsibility in my entire school.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I teach an elective. I don't feel like I experience as much pressure from admin as my core content colleagues face.
     
  13. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    This isn't true for me! I teach HS art, and I have 5 different classes to teach. That's a lot of prep and materials. Also, kids often expect my classes to be an easy A, so when they get challenging work they are sometimes grumbly. I also have to make sure that my classes appeal to students so that they take them--otherwise I can't teach the classes I usually teach. I find that to be stressful, because it becomes a kind of popularity contest. Also, putting up displays during preps and after school is time consuming and I don't have extra time built into the day for it.
    I am sure my position isn't less stressful than other ones, it's just stressful in different ways.
     
  14. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    If you equate pressure from admin to do well on state tests as stress, yes

    Otherwise, I think all content areas can be as stressful as the others.
     
  15. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    I'd say English Teachers have it the toughest. (Said without any bias... ;) )

    Not only because of state testing, but because we have to read EVERY, SINGLE WORD of EVERY SINGLE paper since we're evaluating not only their response, but their writing skills, grammar, etc. It's very time consuming.

    Q: During what years did the Civil War occur? A: 1861-1865. History.

    Q: 4 x 4=? A: 16. Math

    Q: Which planet is fourth from the Sun? A: Mars. Science.

    Q: Characterize the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. If the main theme of Macbeth is ambition, whose ambition is the driving force of the play—Macbeth’s, Lady Macbeth’s, or both? A: The Macbeths’ marriage, like the couple themselves, is atypical, particularly by the standards of its time. Yet despite their odd power dynamic............. English
    :whistle:
     
  16. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    If you use the simplest examples (basic recall of information for all the other subjects), then yes, that will be more complicated. But math isn't all about 4x4, nor is science all about knowing those basic facts such as what planets are in our solar system. To be fair, you'd have to use an English question like: What is a noun?...which is simple to answer (person/place/thing).

    Since I teach all the subjects (being in elementary), English, math, science, and history are all equally as tough in their own regards. I still look at their work in the math and have to think about how they arrived there, but as you said, I have to read through every word in their writing that they produce.
     
  17. bartleby

    bartleby Rookie

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    I agree with mathmagic here. In all fairness, you used elementary level History, Math, and Science level questions, but a high school level English question. At the high school level, all of those would involve trying to follow a high schoolers logic... plenty of sifting through essays in history, trying to follow a proof in geometry, understanding their logic in a Stoiciometry problem (reference to another thread from the day FTW)...

    Its a tough answer because different things will stress out different people, and there will be different expectations at different schools, grade levels, etc.
     
  18. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    GeetGeet just made me think of a form of pressure the English dept. doesn't have to worry about -- making the numbers to keep the sections (and even the subjects) alive. I teach a less-common language and I know my job is safe for next year, but the reality is that WL is not as "popular" right now with admin focusing on STEM/STEAM subjects, so I can foresee every year going through the stress of wondering how many French sections will be offered and whether that part of my job will still exist.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It's not necessarily true that English teachers don't have to worry about enrollment. There are electives within the English department (creative writing, forensics, etc.), and AP programs can require a lot of effort to maintain in some schools.
     
  20. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Are you seriously comparing a 2nd grade level math question to a high school level English question?

    Science, math, and history at the high school level are MUCH more complicated than you are letting on. My students have journal entries, complex problems, and projects at I have to grade. I don't just look at the answer, because I need to see their steps and reasoning to truly make sure that they understand the problem. It is also time consuming.

    I know science teachers have lab reports that need to be graded, and the questions that they ask on exams are also much complicated than you are letting on. Science teachers also grade for spelling, grammar, and writing style. History teachers, like English teachers, have writing and essays that they need to grade for content, as well as spelling and grammar.

    It's honestly insulting to see another teacher to reduce other subjects to questions like this. I always have utmost respect for all teachers and all subjects in my school because I know we are working together for our students. I suggest that you ask your students what they are learning in their other classes so you have a better picture of these other classrooms.
     
  21. LifeIsAThrill

    LifeIsAThrill Rookie

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    I know this is a touchy question, but that's really why I asked it. You can't ask this question in real life.
     
  22. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Oh, I apologize. I didn't find your question insulting. I was talking about Reality Check's math, science, and history questions.
     
  23. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It's different for elementary teachers obviously, but I teach English, math, and science to my kiddos (another teacher handles social studies). I find science to be by far the hardest of those subjects to plan, prep, and grade for.

    Ironically, it's also the only one of the three that DOESN'T involve a state test.
     
  24. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Geez folks, I thought the smiley face and wink said it all as in "IT'S TONGUE-IN-CHEEK EVERYONE!" But I guess not.

    :dunno:
     
  25. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    My bad :) It wasn't clear whether the "I say without bias" alone was supposed to be the tongue-in-cheek portion, or if the whole post was all just sarcasm! I took it as the former, as I'm sure others did.

    (Random thought: winking and putting your tongue in your cheek is actually rather difficult..)
     
  26. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    PE teachers not under stress? My colleagues have HUGE class loads and are expected to test and retest hundreds with little help. Myself, I do not watch people run around a track all day. I teach lots of skills and games and do more than a few assessments now for my eval. But I will admit this. The only thing i really sweat is the sun and now more because it is warming up in Fla.
     
  27. leeshis0019

    leeshis0019 Companion

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    I think the state-tested subjects are definitely under more stress, but equating classes gets dicey.

    I teach a class that students are expected to pass. If they don't pass they don't move on. That stresses me out. I try to make the content "fair" for the level of students that I have without losing my standards and expectations. A lot of students find themselves with a "C" near the end of the semester and have to scramble to achieve a "B".

    Said 'scrambling' above drives me insane. It bothers me to no end that students will do a poor job throughout the year only to suddenly spring into action the last 2 weeks so they can get B's and/or A's on the last two tests to hopefully save themselves from a "C". What's worse is they expect that I'm suddenly going to change all of my plans to accommodate their insanity. When I say "I'm sorry...you want me to pick up this late work because...?" they look at me like I'm an a-hole.


    What they don't know is that in my head I'm really thinking "I'm sorry, you want me to pick up this late-work because...? you little a-hole" :eek:hmy:

    Beyond that I'm just stressing for my students on the boundary. I call parents to make sure they know their child will fail or to suggest they take their cell-phone away for the next 2-3 weeks. I swear if parents would just confiscate cell-phones we'd have less issues. I mean I know no one ever talked EVER before cell-phones were out and it was IMPOSSIBLE to get a hold of anyone EVER, but it'd be great.
     
  28. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    You're in elementary though, right? I know there is a lot of planning for a PE teacher in elementary school.

    There simply is not at the high school level here. The PE teachers will openly discuss it. In fact, the only way you can get less than an A in PE here is if you don't dress out. No grading needed except checkmarks for those days kids don't comply.
     
  29. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    yep, yep, yep.
     
  30. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Is a "C" not passing in your system? I just ask because I can't imagine my students scrambling for a "C". My kids come in halfway through May and say, "I have a 30%- So I need makeup work." :lol:
     
  31. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Math and ELA get tested at our school, and those teachers seem moderately stressed. More stressed than me and the history teachers anyway.
     
  32. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I will say....for all the faults I found with my former administration (not a ton, but enough to be annoying), one of the things they did well was make expectations across the board as fair as possible. So our PE teacher was expected to keep the same grades as everyone else, meaning she had to give assignments-and therefore lesson plans. She also had to have writing samples for each student for each quarter. So it wasn't like she had to give homework, but my sixth graders might have to find 3 examples of African dance, or demonstrate 2 ways to stretch a hamstring. I really liked it because my kids could do those assignments when they were finished with other things.
     
  33. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    My school is also intentional about PE teachers creating lesson plans and objectives for students. Our PE leans more towards an education in personal physical fitness and health, completing exercises properly, etc. Our Varsity training program has a strong sports medicine component that students learn.
     
  34. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We also have specific Health and Physical Education requirements for grades 1 through 12 which must be evaluated and reported upon. Our Phys Ed teacher teaches all grades from JK to 8 and must complete reports for 650 students.
     
  35. Johann seez

    Johann seez New Member

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    All subjects are equally difficult or easy. It is aptitude, determination and interest of the person that makes it appear easy or difficult.
     
  36. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Do you really believe this? Even teachers with higher aptitude can see that some subjects are easier than others. Of the classes I personally teach I can see that some are much more stressful than others. Some are easier to teach, easier to learn.
     
  37. prealgebra-nerd

    prealgebra-nerd Rookie

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    I think it often depends on the school and the individual. I teach almost the same classes as one of my colleagues but I bring stuff home way less than she does. She is always behind on grading and talks about working long hours nights and weekends. I rarely take grading home but I know I am an efficient person that uses every spare minute at school to work on the things I need to get done. You will rarely find me standing around chatting with co-workers. My home life is much more important to me!
     
  38. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Which ones?
     
  39. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think math would be super hard to teach. I couldn't do it, but that just might be me.

    I just remember trying to explain math problems in our after-school homework club a few years ago. It was super hard getting the student to understand why we take the steps we do.
     
  40. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    A first-year language course is easier to plan for than an AP-level language course.
     
  41. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Hmm...I get that, but I would have a very difficult time teaching science. I guess it depends on the person.

    I agree with Caesar that higher level classes are more difficult to plan for. My honors classes involve more direct instruction at a deeper level than my CP classes.
     

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