Study reveals Czech teachers risk burnout due to bullying

The Czech education system is facing a shortage of teachers, and losses due to bullying compound the problem.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 25.07.2023 10:08:00 (updated on 25.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Recent research has shed light on the prevalence of bullying among teaching staff in Czech schools. According to a study, 3.8 percent of teachers have experienced bullying from their colleagues or superiors, a concerning phenomenon that can have serious implications for the mental and physical well-being of educators.

The primary focus of the research was on the depletion of teachers in the Czech educational system. Lenka Kollerová, a senior researcher at the Institute of Psychology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, said the role of workplace bullying in this regard is not yet fully explored.

"Our results showed that although only a relatively small part of teachers report that they have ever been the target of bullying by colleagues or superiors, this part of teachers is at risk of serious difficulties, including burnout," she said in a press release.

Teacher burnout, characterized by exhaustion of mental and physical strength, poses a considerable threat to the psychological well-being and occupational health of educators. The research revealed that teachers working in schools where they felt supported by the management experienced less exhaustion.

Kollerová emphasized the importance of identifying key characteristics of the school environment that influence the level of teacher burnout. "Exhaustion is also one of the reasons why some teachers leave their profession. Therefore, it is important to identify the key characteristics of the school environment that influence the level of teacher burnout," she added.

Support can reduce burnout

On the other hand, research has also shown that support can contribute to lower teacher burnout. Kollerová says this is primarily a question of the teacher knowing that they cooperate well with the school management, that the management is interested in their suggestions, and that they can turn to the management even with problems. Also, the greater involvement of more experienced teachers in supporting novice colleagues could bring positive results.

The study involved data from 118 schools across all regions of the Czech Republic, with 740 teachers of whom 77 percent were women. The researchers now aim to map how many educators experienced burnout and investigate the factors influencing it.

The National Institute for Research on Socioeconomic Impacts of Diseases and Systemic Risks (SYRI), brings together experts from Masaryk University, Charles University, and institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

SYRI researchers are now expanding their research to map how many educators experienced burnout and what factors influenced it. The research team is currently collecting data from approximately 2,000 respondents from 150 schools in the Czech Republic.  

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