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Stress management among administrator and


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Stress Management Among Administrators and senior Teachers of
Private Islamic School

Che Noraini Hashim


Bakare Kazeem Kayode
Institute of Education, International Islamic University Malaysia

ABSTRACT

The school system is a green pasture for inexhaustible investigations for the purpose of enhancing academic
achievement. This is particularly true, because factors and variables within the confines of educational activities
appear also to be inexhaustible. One of such factor that attracted an investigation is 'occupational stress' as it affects
school administrators and senior teachers. Therefore, this study, intends to investigate the underlying factors and
structure of occupational stress facing Islamic school administrators and senior teachers in selected private Islamic
schools in Klang Valley and how they manage stress within administrative and management function of these schools.
The aspects that were investigated include—Administrative Responsibility, Workload, inadequate resources, work
environment and lack of support from parent staff and coping methods. Instrument used in this study consisted of (38
item) questionnaire The questionnaire was adapted from the one developed by Chyuan1998: Occupational stress
among school Administrators in Malaysia with special Reference to Temeloh District Pahang. One hundred and thirty
(130) Malaysia administrators and senior teachers participated in the study. A principal component analysis (PCA)
with varimax rotation yielded a 5-factor solution with satisfactory psychometric properties. The result also revealed
that occupational stress is multidimensional measure consisting of five underlying factors. It is therefore concluded
that even-though, stress management has a wider applicability, the scale may serve has a special relevance to stress
management techniques, and may be of use in research and in stress management programmes. The result also
revealed different stress management techniques use by the administrators and senior teachers.
Keywords: stress management, administrators, senior teachers

INTRODUCTION

The pressures of modern life, coupled with the demands of a job, can lead to emotional imbalances that are
collectively labeled as stress (Harden 1999). Stress has become a global issue that affects both individuals and groups of
individuals in their personal lives and workplaces (Fallon, 1981). It has created many bottle-necks for both management
and workers. Different people encounter different forms of stress level in their daily life, thus, stress is now a
phenomena in the society of today (Green, 1999). Emotional problem or stress-related problem has become so severe
that it disrupts an individual ability to function appropriately (Chyuan, 1998).
In recent years the body of literature on the subject of educators' stress has been continually growing. It is a topic,
which has been subjected to considerable scrutiny. Although researches available on the matter are handful, the role of
stress among those holding positions of school principal administrators and senior teachers has received less attention.
Nevertheless, the available research at hand is sufficient to indicate that occupational stress among those in position of
prinicipalship, administrators and senior teachers in schools is, in fact, quite common (Elwyn, 2000).
Since stress or emotional problems are difficult to diagnose, coping or managing stress or emotional problem
becomes inevitable. The administrative job of principal, vice-principal and senior teachers increases every day, from
implementing curriculum, integrating morals, addressing grievances, attending training and seminars to monitoring all
other activities in schools (Gay, 2000). This cut across school both in private and government owned schools
Private Islamic schools are owned, managed and financed by individual or group of individuals or an organization
(Hason, 1996). Decisions in these schools are determined solely by their stakeholders. Therefore, financing these
schools is limited to the resources of the proprietor. Since managing and financing of these schools are confined within
endowment of an individual (owner/owners), it is not unusual that these schools experience difficulties in management
and financial requirements. The effect of this is the increased turnover of staff most especially the teachers. This has
generated administrative challenges and stress for proprietors, administrators and senior teachers in most private Islamic
schools. In spite of the challenges facing these schools, parents still prefer to register their children in these schools
with the aim of getting quality education, moral and spiritual uprightness.
In order to ensure sustainable quality Islamic education in these private schools, there is need to investigate the
preponderance of occupational stress and its effect in administration of schools. Therefore, this study, intends to
investigate the underlying factors and structure of occupational stress facing Islamic school administrators and senior
teachers in selected private Islamic schools in Klang Valley and how they manage stress within administrative and
management function of these schools.

REVIEW OF PREVIOUS STUDIES

Over the years, studies have shown that the administrative functions of principals and administrators keep on
increasing as the school and educational policy changes all over the world (Borg and Riding 1993). Culmination of
these functions on administrators and senior teachers pose a lot of stress on them. As society needs change, so is the
policy of education. Hence, the outcome is to complicate the job of principals and administrators.
Furthermore, the demand placed upon school administrators especially the Islamic schools in Malaysia is
cumbersome (Harris 2007). Some of these administrators and principals are experiencing greater pressures of managing
schools, attending courses, parent meetings, dealing with discipline problems, spiritual uprightness and host of other
responsibilities. Since some aspect of work and school environment are bound to be common source of stress between
teacher and principals, research has shown that some teachers find disciplining students to be a stressful condition and
they feel that the job of disciplining should be the responsibility of the school principal (Lilia and Shamusudeen, 2006).
In addition, Malaysia education system has developed steadily towards achieving the target of ‗Kurikulum Bersepadu
Sekolah Menengah (KBSM)‘. Indirectly, this integrated curriculum is causing additional workloads to the teachers
especially in preparing teaching aid materials and so on. The new reformed curriculum need a teacher to be effective in
giving knowledge, and at the same time they have to educate students in the area of physical, emotion, intellects and
attitudes (Yahaya & Hartika, 2001).
Thus, it is crystal-clear that the complex nature of Islamic school senior teachers and administrators‘ job might
have made them susceptible to psychological and emotional challenges. Therefore, there is no gain-say that an
investigation of stress among Islamic schools administrators in Malaysia should assume an additional importance. In
view of the strategic position that Islamic school administrators hold, and the impact they have on all aspects of school
life, it is rational to argue that a better understanding of the problems and stress faced by these people will shed more
light on the complex nature and the dynamics of stress in administration of school.
As mentioned earlier, the problem of occupational stress among administrators is a global problem however the
situation in Malaysia is a bit novel as the country maintains her Islamic ethics by integrating it in the school curriculum
(Andrea, 2006). For this reason, the administration and teaching task in Islamic schools is getting wider and more
complicated.

MANAGING STRESS

According to Jane (1990), as cited in Chyuan (1998), one of the ways of managing stress is self-management.
Effective self-management according to Jane can be achieved by adhering to a number of rules which include the
following: develop a clear overall plan by setting yourself objectives and sub-objective in each of the key result areas
which are, develop action plans which convert goals into action, establish a clear system of priorities, use time
effectively by avoiding time–wasters such as interruptions, procrastination, lack of organization, delegate as much work
as you can, identify the time of the day when you work most effectively and schedule difficult work at that time,
regularly review personal progress and make improvements for self-management when necessary, develop a time
management system which works for oneself, have an effective system for coping with paperwork and learn to say no
when necessary.
Allison (1996), as cited in Chyuan (1998), suggested that it is sensible to approach stress from two directions.
One approach is usually referred to as stressor management and focuses on situational factors and methods of reducing
demands of the situation on an individual (Kelehear, 2004). The other stress management approach, focuses on the
behavioral cognitive or the physiological components of an individual‘s response in an effort to permit calmer response
to the demanding situation. The coping strategies are: maintaining good physical health program, withdrawal and re-
charging, intellectual, social and spiritual support, positive attitude, realistic perspective, increased involvement, time
management and organization.
In conclusion, since stress cannot be avoided, identification of effective coping strategies may provide school
principals with the tools which can be used to reduce the amount of stress in their environment and to moderate the
effect of stress on them. It is more meaningful to investigate the causes of stress as well as preventive or coping
techniques used to deal with stress.

METHODOLOGY

The participants in the study consist of principals, deputy principals and senior teachers of Islamic schools of the
three selected schools. These schools are International Islamic School Gombak (IIS), Integrated Islamic School Kota-
Damansara (IISKD) and Al-Adnin Islamic School. A systematic sampling technique was used to select the sample from
the population of study. The sample size for this study was determined using the table developed by Krejcie and
Morgan (1970). The table was developed so that researchers can use it to select the appropriate sample size for their
study (Martin, 2005). Krejcie and Morgan (1970) suggested that in a population of 200, 130-132 samples are
appropriate. Therefore, the researcher systematically selected 130 administrators and senior teachers from the three
selected schools. Administrators and senior teachers identified for this study were forwarded the questionnaire
described above. Enclosed with this instrument was a letter that describes the study and solicit the voluntary
participation of the administrators and senior teachers. The participants were asked to return the survey questions
within two weeks using a pre-addressed envelope enclosed in the research packet

RESEARCH INSTRUMENT

The study involves quantitative approach; questionnaires which were applicable to all Islamic school
administrators and senior teachers were used as means of collecting the necessary data. The questionnaire was adapted
from the one developed by Chyuan1998: Occupational stress among school Administrators in Malaysia with special
Reference to Temeloh District Pahang. Factors included in the questionnaire are: (1) lack of support and resolving
conflict (2) Inadequate resources (3) Workload (4) Work condition and responsibilities which are very relevant to the
present study.
The first section deals with demographic information regarding sex, age, length of experience and position. The
second section deals with sources of stress. The third section addresses the Islamic strategy use by these administrators
and senior teachers to control stress inherent in their job. The section of stress was designed using 5-point Likert-type
scale of ―no stress=1‖, ―mild stress= 2‖, ―moderate stress=3‖ ―much stress=4‖ and ―extreme stress=5".
In order to determine the psychometric properties of the instrument, (both the adopted and the self-developed
part), it was further subjected to construct validity, by using the principal component analysis (PCA) to determine the
underlying factors and Cronbach's alpha to test the internal consistency. The internal consistency of the whole scale
estimated 0.906.
DATA ANALYSIS

The analysis was conducted separately and repeatedly on occupational stress construct before obtaining the
satisfactory result. For instance, the first analysis results indicate that item 28 loaded on components 3and 4, When item
28 was removed and another analysis was ran, the result showed another complexity of item 22 loading on components
3 and 6. For this reason, the researcher removed item 22 and ran another analysis for the third time, and taking both
items 28 and 22 out of the analysis process this resulted in resolving item complexity (no item complexity) and, the
loading of all items in the communality table were very good (above.40). The researcher continued the analysis
exercises until the satisfactory final result was obtained and that is stated as follows; 25 Items were included in
occupational stress investigation and more than 5 participants responded to each item Inspection of the correlation
matrix revealed the presence of many coefficients above .3.The Kaiser-Meyer-Oklin value was .878, exceeding the
recommended value of .6 (Kaiser 1970, 1974) and the Bartlett's Test of Sphericity (Bartlett 1954) reached statistical
significance, supporting the factorability of the correlation matrix. Table 1 shows the items and their loadings.

Table: 1 Underlying (Factors) stress with Each Item Loading


Component Matrix
Items 1 2 3 4 5
LOF1 .676
LOF2 .749
LOF3 .762
LOF4 .747
LOF5 .704
LOF6 .575
LOF7 .563
LOF8 .506
IDR9
IDR10 .728
IDR11 .785
IDR12 .703
IDR13 .513
WOL14 .712
WOL15 .824
WOL16 .773
WOL17 .750

WOL18 .735
WOL19 .650
WOC20 .660
WOC21 .511
WOC24 .572
ADR25 .658
ADR26 .773
ADR27 .738
ADR29 .604

Table 2 revealed the Cronbach‘s alpha (1966) which was applied to estimate the internal consistency of each
factor. It shows .901 as the overall item reliability of occupational stress construct which is higher than .60, a minimum
acceptable alpha level.
Table 2 Factor Reliability
COMPONENTS ITEM FACTOR TOTAL
RELIABILITY RELIABILITY
LACK OF SUPPORT AND RESOLVING CONFLICTS 4 .871
WORKLOAD 4 .841
WORKING CONDITIONS 3 .819 .901
ADMINISTRATORS RESPONSIBILITIES 3 .818
INADEQUATE RESOURCES 2 .729

Table 3 displays the mean and standard deviation of the 8 items of stress management techniques were set out in
Table 3. The mean ranges from 3.66 to 4.1 and the standard deviation from 0.91 to 1.07. As shown in the mean scores,
the common techniques of managing stress for the administrators and senior teachers of the three selected private
Islamic schools were identified and ranked accordingly. All the items were found to have means scores greater than 3.6
on 5-point Likert type scale, which is above the anchor point of 2.5.

Distributions and Rank Order of Managing stress items (8) (N=130)


S/N Managing stress Item Std.
Ranking Mean Deviation
copt38 Spending leisure time at home with family can reduce job 1
4.0846 .98070
related stress
copt35 Exercise can reduce stress 2 3.9692 .95592
copt31 Sharing problem related to job-stress with spouse might 3
3.7846 1.07100
reduce stress
copt37 Light exercise is preferable due to leisure time in 4
3.7692 .89389
reducing stress
copt36 Meditation increases my concentration and gives me a 5
3.7385 .92806
good state of mind
copt33 Relaxation breathing technique is thought to be the 6
3.7385 1.00042
easiest method of reducing stress
copt32 Taking balanced diet can help to reduce stress 7 3.6769 .98213
copt34 Mental visualization is effective to individuals in treating 8
3.6615 .91120
many stress related illness

RESULT

Principal components analysis revealed the presence of five components with eigenvalues exceeding 1, explaining
35.413%, 10.212%, 6.570%, 6.345%, and 4.299%. An inspection of the Catell's (1966) screeplot revealed a clear break
after the third components. A different numbers of factors were revealed by the parallel Analysis result which
conspicuously showed four eigenvalues exceeding the corresponding criterion values for a randomly generated data
matrix of the same size (27 variables x 130 respondents). This made the decision regarding the number of factors or
components to retain a bite difficult. However, going through the literature, it was observed that many research reported
five factors of occupational stress, therefore the researcher decided to go by the five component revealed by the
eigenvalues result. The Anti-image Correlation values are greater than .8; this is an additional indication to proof the
existence of a strong inter-correlation among the items which are greater than the acceptable level (.5) for each
individual variable.
FACTOR STRUCTURE

The first factor which consisted of 7 items directly related to lack of support and resolving conflicts and was
labeled Lack of support from parent and staff. The eigenvalue was 9.207 exceeding the value requirement of 1, also,
factor one explained more than 35% of proportional variance. The second factor was named workload, it consisted of 5
items with eigenvalue greater than 1 and it accounted for more than 10% of proportional variance. The third factor
consisted also of five items which are directly related to responsibilities, and it was labeled Administrative
responsibility. The eigenvalue was 1.708, it accounted for more than 6% of proportional variance. Factor four was
named inadequate resources; it consisted of four items with eigenvalue of 1.650 exceeding the requirement of 1, it also
explained for more than 6% of the proportional variance. Factor five was named working environment, it consisted of
four items, with eigenvalue more than 1. It accounted for more than 4% of the proportional variance explained.
Table 3 revealed eight different stress management uses by administrators and senior teachers with their
corresponding mean and standard deviation. Spending time with family was ranked first with mean and standard
deviation of 4.0846 and .98070, while Item 34 (Mental visualization is effective to individuals in treating many stress
related illness) was ranked last with mean and standard deviation of 3.6615 and .91120.

DISCUSSION

A principal component analysis (PCA) of this study revealed five components which are: lack of support and
resolving conflicts, workload, working conditions, administrators' responsibilities and inadequate resources. This
replicated the (PCA) on sources of stress of other studies (Wilson, 1988; Kelly, 1988; Borg & Riding, 1993) which also
revealed the same factors. This indicate that there are no adequate resources to support administrators and senior
teachers of private Islamic school in Klang Valley in dealing with factors that cause stress, in addition, Work overload,
lack of support from parent and staff, administrative responsibility work environment are another prominent factors in
bringing about occupational stress among the administrators and senior teachers. This support the finding of (Lilia et .al
2006 and Yahaya 2001)
On the other hand, the result also shows spending time with family, sharing problem with spouse, meditation,
good diet and regular exercise are some of the techniques of managing stress; this is in line with the findings of (Jane
1990, Chyuan 1998 and Alinson 1996).

CONCLUSION

There is little doubt that a contribution of teaching and administrative duties in school makes management of
schools one of the most stressful occupations. The nature of the demands on school administrators and senior teachers
in their work means that the role of school administration is likely to remain a stressful profession in years to come. An
understanding of both the nature of stress and the sources of stress facing school administrators and senior teachers can
provide useful basis for developing appropriate strategies which can be applied to reduce stress. Spending more time
with family, regular exercise, Meditation and Good diet, all contribute to reduce level of stress. School systems should
therefore promote an awareness of health knowledge in their schools regarding administrators and senior teachers stress
in the areas of administration, school climate, and resources through communication and training.

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