Burnout of secondary school teachers in the Goldfield region of the Free State Province
The future of South Africa depends largely on the type of education that it offers. If the quality of education is good, the quality of the workforce will be good. For any education system to be of good a quality, quality presenters, i.e. teachers, must present it. But with the constantly changing organisational and educational environment, the well-being of these teachers is under serious threat. The whole system of transformation causes teachers to be uncertain of their jobs, which leads to high stress levels. Constant stress may lead to sicknesses which in turn may lead to increased rates of illness and decreased levels of job satisfaction and job performance. Chronically high stress levels may eventually lead to burnout, rendering teachers unable to do their jobs and causing them to quit their profession. The prevention of burnout could save the education department substantial amounts of money and time, but there is a lack of empirical research regarding burnout among teachers in South Africa. The present research in the Northern Free State is a first step in studying burnout among teachers in this province. In this regard, it is important to use a reliable and valid instrument to measure burnout. The validation of such a measuring instrument formed the first objective of this study. Furthermore it was also investigated if there are any relationship between biographical variables and burnout, and whether differences exist regarding burnout for different demographical groups. The research method consisted of a brief literature review and an empirical study. A cross-sectional survey design was used. Random samples (N = 469) were taken from teachers in the Goldfields district of the Northern Free State. An adapted version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory and a biographical questionnaire were administered. A three-factor structure of burnout was confirmed in this study. It was also found that a model incorporating Depersonalisation fitted the data better than one of Cynicism. Differences regarding burnout were found in respect of marital status, intentions of quitting, perceptions of availability of equipment and skills, knowledge and abilities. By way of conclusion, recommendations for future research are made.