Stress and Coping Mechanisms of First Year Principals

Stress and Coping Mechanisms of First Year Principals

Explaining the fundamental basis of stress as a reaction towards demands on the body, the Mountain State Centers for Independent Living (2010) expresses the view that stress involves the release of body chemicals that give people more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger. However, it is alarming that in a particular group of people, the levels of stress recorded among them should be rated as high. This is because high levels of rising stress impacts the victims in several ways including the work they do and their health (Foxall et al, 1990: 580). This argument says a lot about why principals are stressed most of the time. Having noted that a person’s duties could determine the level of stress to be experienced by the person, it is just right to state that principals are often stressed because their work comes with a lot of mental demands that requires them to use their brains very often. Knowing that principals undertake a lot of academic responsibilities that strain their brain, stress is thus inevitable for them. In a typical educational institution, principals are expected to among other things supervise the activities of other teachers, initiate academic itinerary, organize school examinations and in some cases serve as examiners. They also go an extra mile to execute other duties including being in charge of every sector of the school development. ranging from meeting the educational needs of students to providing the necessary materials and supplies for the teachers to implement the curriculum. They do this under strict monitoring by the stakeholders, board members, the superintendent, and the state and national educational leaders. New mandates are frequently imposed on already high expectations. A mountain of meeting, queries and complaints from parents, playground and lunchtime duties are also the order of the day for most the principals. All these are roles that are expected to be executed with perfection and accuracy. In a bid to do all these, principals. especially first year (inexperienced) principals who are mostly new on the job end up stressing themselves badly. The work of the principal is one that is associated with a lot of physical and mental pressure. This is even worse because most principals (both inexperienced and experienced) are involved in academic based professions and occupations that involve the strenuous use of the brain rather than physical strength. Examples of these professions include medicine, nursing, law, teaching, pharmacy, writing and the like. Among this group also, teachers, including lecturers have been found to be one of the worse hit (Lee, 2003). It is worth noting that the work of lecturers and educators, especially those on higher ranks like principals involves a lot of demanding tasks that include multi-complexities. For instance there is mental application of knowledge, physical application of strength and regular inter-personal interactions. In a typical school environment or school situation, principals (inexperienced and experienced) take the role of academic overseers over student, as well as the administrative activities. The year principal are, therefore, almost all the time involved in one kind of engagement or the other. In most situations, the situation of principals is worsened when they have other responsibilities other than academic roles to play. Some of these

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