Is classroom stress contagious? Researchers have discovered that yes, stress is contagious, and when teacher feel burned out, their students have elevated stress levels.
Canadian researchers discovered that when teachers in 4th to 7th grade said they felt “burned out,” students also had increased stress.
A leading reason for teachers to leave the profession according to the study is teacher burnout. When teachers report high levels of burnout, they also have higher stress levels, and are less effective in their teaching and management of the classroom. And while classroom behavior may be a source of teacher stress, the researchers discovered that stressed out teachers pass on the stress to their students.
Researchers measured students’ cortisol levels in the morning, midday, and in the early afternoon. They also recorded student wake up times. Cortisol is a hormone that the body produces because of stress. Teachers completed surveys which measured their level of burnout.
The students whose teachers had higher levels of burnout had higher levels of cortisol.