Stress Incident Record (SIR): Exploring Work-related Stress in New Zealand-based Early Childhood Education Teachers
MetadataShow full metadata
With the rise of international literature on stress and wellbeing, there is a need to explore stress-related experiences specifically in our ECE sectors in New Zealand. For the purpose of this study, ‘early childhood education teachers’ referred to both qualified and unqualified teachers within their profession. This study recruited 10 participants who are currently working as ECE teachers to participate in this study. Teachers responded to a face-to-face interview asking questions about the proposed research questions. The aim was to use the Stress Incident Record (SIR) method to capture stress-related experiences that are specific to ECE teachers to better understand potential stressors in their area of work, coping mechanisms that are used and whether there were any social support mechanisms available to assist them when experiencing stress. The theoretical framework used in this study was the Conservation of Resource (COR) theory. This study adopted a qualitative research methodology using face-to-face in-depth interviews with open-ended question to collect data. Teacher participants included 1 male and 9 females, and all are currently residing in Auckland. The major findings of this study suggests that stressors that are experienced by ECE teachers in their profession does not occur in single events but unfolds in series of events. Therefore, it is important for ECE centres to ensure that ECE teachers are well equipped with sufficient resources to be able to deal with stressors that they experience in their profession. The three main stressors identified in this study were organisational stressors, social stressors, and contextual stressors. Organisational stressors that were identified were workplace surprises or unexpected events and lack of staff resource; social stressors were communication breakdown between management-teachers and parents-teachers and contextual stressors that was identified was the challenges of working with special needs children. In terms of coping strategies, the findings from this study found that ECE teachers tends to use more emotion-focused coping strategies as compared to problem-focused coping strategies. This study also found that within the ECE environment, there is a major reliance on social support which is consistent with the findings of Erdiller & Dogan (2015). This suggests that ECE teachers are social beings and consider their work environment and their distribution of resources in that manner. As most research in this area has been conducted overseas, this study helps to fill a gap in the New Zealand literature on stressors experienced and coping strategies used in the ECE profession.