Generally, individuals who work face to face with people may experience burnout. Burnout can be a primary cause to an individual who suffers from this symptoms and also people around them (Landeche, 2009). Moreover, this syndrome affects people who work in helping professions or other client-centered fields (Schutte, Toppinen, Kalimo, & Schaufeli, 2000).
The idea of burnout was formed by Herbert Freudenberger in 1974 as wearing down or draining out of energy (Freudenberger & North, 1985). In addition, Freudenberger (1974), state that burnout “is not a situation that gets better by being ignored. Nor is it any kind of disgrace. On the opposite, it’s a problem born of good intentions.” Burnout may render people unable to cope with their problems; however, those who are able to cope with their problems of work issues may perform better at their jobs. In the teaching profession, the phenomenon of burnout has often been studied and has globally been well accepted as being problematic and uncertain for teachers (Cherniss, 1995; Guglielmi & Tatrow, 1998).
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Folkman (1984) relates burnout with stress; it is a combination of mental and physical symptoms. This psychological react as “long-term exhaustion and diminished interest” and it may take a long period to blow up to the surface. In addition to that, high level of stress for considerable periods of time could increase burnout characteristics including less sympathy and understanding towards students, reduced acceptance of students, failure to set up lessons and a lack of commitment to the teaching profession (Dorman, 2003).
Ingersoll and Smith (2003) mentioned that teacher burnout is often known as a main source of teacher retention phase. At present, teachers in Malaysia are facing extensive pressure from all the changes taking place in the education system due to the Malaysia Plan. About 4 out of 27 Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia (IPGM) (Teachers Training Institutes) will focus on teacher training of English language teachers. Besides, the government will assess and monitor the effectiveness of the program constantly and will provide some inventive to empower students with English language (Tenth Malaysia Plan, 2010). This idea has increased ESL teachers’ workload and hence brings about the assumption that their burnout level has also risen.
To make the above statement clearer, the teaching periods had increased from 90 – 240 to 330 minutes a week for primary 1, 2 and 3. Meanwhile, for primary 4, 5 and 6 it has increased from 90 – 210 minutes to 300 minutes a week. The changes also do not exclude secondary schools ESL teachers, whereby their teaching periods had increased from 80 – 200 to 280 minutes a week. Further, literature reports that workload or work tasks have increased and education system transformation,
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