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Survey of itinerant teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing in British Columbia, Canada Williams, Christine Sybilla


The purpose of this study was to gather information about the demographic variables and responsibilities of British Columbian itinerant teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing, investigate if these teachers experience occupational stress, determine the relationships between these variables and their stress levels, and to determine which manifestations of stress were most prevalent for this population. Two questionnaires were used in this study: the Teacher Stress Inventory (TSI), which was a standardized measure of stress, and the Itinerant Teacher Questionnaire (ITQ), which was a self-created questionnaire to gather information about demographics and itinerant responsibilities. The survey packages were mailed during the months of May and June 1998, to 92 itinerant teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing in BC, Canada. The response rate was 76% (n=70). The demographic information and responsibilities of the typical BC itinerant teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing were presented and discussed. This was the first project of its kind in BC to examine these variables, and it has created a database of information for further research and comparisons. Using the TSI and its norms, it was determined that BC itinerant teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing experience lower levels of stress than American teachers. However, caution should be exercised when comparing BC itinerant teachers to the norms, because the norms were collected from the northeast, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern states of the US. From the questionnaires and a multiple regression analysis, the predominant sources of stress for these teachers were determined to be: work overload, lack of time, high numbers of personnel worked with, poor ability to have rooms assigned in a school, poor quality of rooms worked in, weather interference during travel, and poor communication with school personnel. Using the TSI, emotional (anxious, depressed, etc.) and fatigue (physical exhaustion, weakness, etc.) manifestations of stress were the highest rated symptoms of stress experienced by BC itinerant teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing. Results, implications, concerns, and suggestions for further study are discussed.

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