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from the editor's desk

Science Teaching Challenges

Science Scope—January/February 2022 (Volume 45, Issue 3)

By Patty McGinnis

The pandemic has been extremely challenging in ways that could never have been anticipated, but even prior to that, teachers faced a wealth of issues including rapidly changing demographics and shortages of funds. These issues, coupled with the fact that many districts cannot find qualified science teachers, may mean that you are teaching a subject outside your area of expertise, are struggling to present a quality experience with limited resources, or are experiencing difficulty in identifying appropriate teaching resources. All of this means that there’s never enough time in the day to complete all of your teaching tasks, much less keep up with cutting-edge information.

I don’t have to tell you that teaching is stressful. According to Keith Herman who conducted a survey of 121 teachers, 93% of teachers experienced some level of stress in their job, with only 7% of teachers “getting the support they need to adequately cope with the stressors of their job” (Herman, Hickmon-Rosa, and Reinke 2018; Riley-Missouri 2018). Furthermore, Herman asserts that teacher stress is related to student performance, both academically and behaviorally, with more instances of disruptive behaviors occurring in classrooms of highly stressed teachers.

Given that many teaching challenges are beyond our ability to solve, the focus should then be on the question: how does one keep emotionally healthy, given the tremendous stress that teachers are under? Engaging in stress-reducing strategies such as yoga, exercise, and meditation can be beneficial, as can talking with colleagues, eating well, and getting enough sleep. Because it is likely that many of your colleagues are also stressed, talk to your administrator about the possibility of creating a workplace wellness program. Above all, take time for yourself, talk to someone who understands, and focus on what you can control. After all, dealing with stress in a positive manner will benefit you AND your students!

Patty McGinnis
Editor, Science Scope


Herman, K.C., J. Hickmon-Rosa, and W.M. Reinke. 2018. Empirically derived profiles of teacher stress, burnout, self-efficacy, and coping and associated student outcomes. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions 20 (2): 90–100

Laboratory Southwest.

Riley-Missouri, C. 2018, April 24. Lots of teachers are super stressed out. Futurity (blog].


Patty McGinnis is an instructional coach and veteran middle school teacher. You can contact her at or on Twitter: @patty_mcginnis.

Teacher Preparation Teaching Strategies Middle School

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