Your browser doesn't support some modern features in use on this website.
Please download one of the following modern browsers to continue.

Annotated Bibliography of Teacher Resilience

This page provides links to an annotated bibliography of teacher resilience created for the Keeping Cool project (Mansfield, Price, McConney, Beltman, Pelliccione & Wosnita, 2012) and subsequently updated for the European project Enhancing Teacher Resilience in Europe (Wosnitza et al., 2015). The 157 research articles reviewed here span the years 2000-2014 and have been categorised according to the themes below to make it easy to search for relevant articles. We have created a brief summary of each article to give an overview of the main ideas and findings in each.

Please cite this bibliography as:

Mansfield, C.F. & Beltman, S. (2015). Annotated Bibliography of Teacher Resilience - Retrieved date/month/year, from

Ahrens, P. (2001). Resisting plateauing: An exploration study of teacher resiliency in four veteran secondary teachers. (Doctor of Philosophy), The Pennsylvania State University, The United States. (3035998)

Professional development | Teacher resilience

This qualitative study described and interpreted the ability to stay resilient of four veteran secondary teachers who taught science, English, social studies and family and consumer sciences. In this thesis, resilience is described as “the ability to bounce back, rebound, and repair oneself when faced with adversity” (p. 114). Data collected from three in-depth phenomenological interviews for each participant revealed several resilient traits of the veteran teachers. Despite unfavourable contextual factors, such as critical and unsupportive principals, unreasonably demanding parents, problem students, heavy workload and low salary, the teachers were able to bounce back and remained enthusiastic about teaching due to their interaction with colleagues that led to professional growth, the feeling of being trusted and given professional autonomy, the ability to make a difference in the lives of their students, the enjoyment of working with young people, the validation as professionals, the ability to separate themselves from dysfunctional situations, professional development opportunities, union support, their individual support systems and their innate personality traits (e.g. humour and patience). The study was maintained to shed light on the role of leadership in sustaining teachers’ career enthusiasm and how administrators can help promote and sustain Teacher resilience.

Albrecht, S. F., Johns, B. H., Mounsteven, J., & Olorunda, O. (2009). Working conditions as risk or resiliency factors for teachers of students with emotional and behavioural disabilities. Psychology in the Schools, 46(10), 1006-1022.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition | Teaching rural/remote

This mixed-method study examined risk factors that affected teachers’ intention of leaving the profession and protective factors that influenced their likelihood of staying. 776 special education teachers of students with emotional and behavioural disorders and related services providers from urban, rural, and suburban school settings were asked to complete a survey that consisted of 28 questions including forced choice, multiple responses, Likert rating scales, and opportunities for narrative comments. The results revealed that 20% indicated they would leave the professional while 80% indicated they would stay in the next two years. Factors that significantly correlated with their intention of staying or leaving comprised administrative support, availability of support personnel, access to curricula, adequate time for paperwork, years of teaching students with EBD, and behaviour management approach used. The article proposed many recommendations to foster teacher resilience: induction programs and assigned mentors for early career teachers, stress management techniques, development of positive relationships with administrators and teaching colleagues, and healthy self-care habits such as diet, exercise, and sleep provide emotional and physical strength.

Belknap, B. M. (2012). Fostering resilience in beginning special education teachers. (Doctor of Education), The George Washington University, Ann Arbor, MI.

Beginning teachers | Mentoring | Teacher resilience

Within this study, resilience is defined as the capacity to adapt to stressful events. The study explored nine early career female teachers’ perceptions of resilience in three school districts in a large metropolitan area. Data collected from semi-structured interviews using the Self-in-Relationships protocol highlighted the importance of support networks and making a difference to students in fostering teacher resilience. Teachers who had a mentor or supportive colleagues, and teachers who felt they were making a difference reported to be the most resilient, whereas teachers who felt isolated or not able to make a difference were the least resilient. The study had implications for support systems for new teachers in the form of formal induction or informal teams or mentors. Future research is recommended to compare perceptions of resilience across different groups of teachers and different school settings.

Beltman, S., Mansfield, C., & Price, A. (2011). Thriving not just surviving: A review of research on teacher resilience. Educational Research Review, 6, 185–207.

Beginning teachers | Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher training | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This article provided a review of empirical studies on teacher resilience. In this thorough examination of 50 studies, an overview of the methodological approaches of resilience research was provided, which revealed that interviews were the most frequently used method of data collection and the largest group of participants comprised early career teachers. The paper also shed light on how the construct of resilience was conceptualised in the literature. In general, it was pointed out that most resilience studies appeared to outline common definitions of teacher resilience, which could be summarised as “a dynamic process or outcome that is the result of interaction over time between a person and the environment” (p. 188). Particularly, self-efficacy, confidence and coping strategies were often reported to be the major components that constitute teacher resilience. Added to this, a review of risk factors and protective factors found in the resilience literature was discussed in detail, showing that negative self-beliefs and classroom management/disruptive students were the most common personal and contextual risk factors, while protective factors included personal attributes, self-efficacy, coping skills, teaching skills, professional development, self-care as well as support from school administration, colleagues, students, mentors, family and friends. Implications for pre-service teacher education programmes were also explored. Through the review, it was contended that several issues and challenges emerged with regard to a concise yet comprehensive definition of teacher resilience, research methodology, and the context that influences teacher resilience. Future research was recommended to explore the use of intervention strategies to promote teacher resilience and to understand the role of pre-service programmes and of teachers in fostering resilience. It was also suggested that teacher resilience should be examined from a cross-cultural perspective.

Bernard, M. E. (n.d.). Emotional resilience: Implications for you can do it! Education theory and practice. Retrieved from

Emotions in teaching | Teacher resilience

This theoretical article discussed the notion of emotional resilience, people’s capacity to “continue to pursue goals and solve problems, including being confident, persistent, and organised, and getting along” in the face of adversity (p. 5), with implications for teachers. To be emotional resilient, the author argued one should eliminate negative thinking, while avoiding being upset or frustrated with oneself or one’s mistakes. Other resilient strategies include: Avoiding self-downing, the need to be perfect, the need of approval, negative mindsets of “I can’t do it” or “I can’t be bothered”, and avoiding being intolerant of others. In other words, in order to be resilient, a person needs to eliminate the tendency of perfectionism and negativity.

Bernshausen, D., & Cunningham, C. (2001). The role of resiliency in teacher preparation and retention. Paper presented at the The Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Dallas, TX.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher training

This theoretical paper discussed the role of resilience, “the ability to adapt and thus bounce back when faced with conditions that create disequilibria or adversity” (p. 2), and how to equip teachers with coping strategies. According to the authors, resilience building is a long process while coping strategies take time to develop. Through the review of the resilience literature, several adverse factors were identified: lack of administrative, collegial, and parental support, inadequate induction programs for beginning teachers, insufficient teacher preparation, salary, ethnicity, school location. To combat these risk factors, a model of the attributes of resilience was suggested: the CUBPO model – competence (powerful, authentic classroom interaction, successful interaction with credible educators), usefulness (a sense of successful interaction with students, parents and colleagues), belonging (active involvement in school activities and decision-making processes, memberships in school-based teams), potency (successful responsible decision-making) and optimism (growing sense of competence, belonging to a professional group, successful interaction with students, successful decision-making, frequent success). The paper also pointed out that beginning teachers are usually assigned to teach in unfavourable conditions, e.g. teaching remedial classes, less desirable campuses, while they have not had enough time to develop resilient strategies. Therefore, to avoid early career teacher attrition, this practice should be changed. Moreover, teacher education programs should be designed so as to put resilience development in the centre.

Besser-Scholz, B. (2007). Burnout – Gefahr im Lehrerberuf? [Burnout – A Risk Factor in the Teaching Profession?] Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Teacher resilience

This book deals with the phenomenon of burnout among teachers. It enquires into its symptoms, early indicators and investigates constructive ways of dealing with exhaustion, frustration, and stress generated by increasing workloads and unfulfilled expectations. The first part provides a review of older and more recent publications on this topic, and the discussed themes and topics are given currency with real world case study examples. The second part includes practical hints and long-term perspectives, how to prevent the development profession-related burnout and become aware of and deal with typical burnout risk factors.

Bobek, B. L. (2002). Teacher resiliency: A key to career longevity. Clearing House, 75(4), 202-205.

Beginning teachers | Mentoring | Professional development | Teacher resilience

Within this article, resilience was viewed as a process of development that occurs over time, through person-environment interactions. The article extrapolated ways that new teachers could effectively enhance their resilience based on an investigation into the personal and social resources of 12 young adults who had successfully navigated adversity in the past. The young adults and their high school teachers were interviewed, and written documents concerning the young people's progress were examined. Significant adult relationships, career competence and skills, a sense of ownership, clear pathways to advancement, a sense of accomplishment and a sense of humour were qualities identified as being important in developing resilience. The article concluded that new teachers can effectively develop resilience by using the above resources to assess adverse situations, consider their options, and arrive at appropriate solutions.

Bovier-Brown, R. S. (2002). An evaluation of the teacher resiliency training program in a midwestern suburban school district. (Doctor of Education), Saint Louis University. (3059665)

Teacher resilience | Teacher training

This thesis evaluated a teacher resiliency training program in a mid-western suburban school district in the United States by examining teacher perceptions of the value and usefulness of the program. Within this study, resilience is defined as “the capacity to spring back, rebound, successfully adapt in the face of adversity, and develop social and academic competence despite exposure to severe stress” (Henderson et al., 1999). The participants in the study were two groups of middle and high school teachers; one group (325 teachers) was given a two-day training workshop to learn resiliency skills while the other group (325 teachers) did not receive any training. After that, a close-ended survey was administered to all the teachers. Statistical analyses of the quantitative data indicated significance differences between teachers receiving resilience training and teachers who did not. Moreover, years of teaching experience were also found to predict perception of the usefulness of the resiliency training program. As a result, the study proposed that more research on the same topic should be conducted to validate and extend the resilience literature.

Boyd, J., & Eckert, P. (2002). Creating resilient educators. Hastings Point, NSW: Global Learning Communities.

Teacher resilience

In this paper, resilience is described as “the self-righting capacity to learn and grow and change when adversity, stressors, or disruptions occur in our lives. It is the ability to thrive, not just to survive an adversity or misfortune” (p. 5). With the aim of helping teachers activate their capacity to stay resilient in the face of adversities, the paper presented examples of people who successfully bounced back from life and work hardships. It was acknowledged that the teaching profession involves a multiplicity of stressors, such as intellectual fatigue, physical exhaustion, a sense of powerlessness and loss of morale. However, it is crucial that teachers should be active agents in their personal and professional wellness and accept that most things in life are transient. From there, the Resiliency Process Model was suggested to assist teachers understand the nature of resiliency and the power of choice.

Bröking, B.H. (2011). Widerstandsressourcen im Lehrberuf. 1. Aufl. [Resistance-Resources in the Teaching Profession] Göttingen: Optimus Verl.

Teacher resilience

Without a doubt, there is a close connection between students' learning success on the one hand and healthy, motivated teachers on the other. Health of all parties included in the teaching process promotes school quality. Teachers are increasingly singled out by health professionals as an occupation that is prone to generate burn out. It is the aim of this work to develop a survey instrument, in the context of health promotion, which would allow the illustration of an individual profile on the usage of resources that maintain and promote health. Teachers' health can be maintained or improved through the use of the resilience resources made available to teachers. The developed instrument is able to analyse the use of individual resilience resources, which include among other things: individual coping strategies, social contacts, steps made in order to maintain physical fitness and the use of lesson-specific resources.

Brunetti, G. J. (2006). Resilience under fire: Perspectives on the work of experienced, inner city high school teachers in the United States. Teaching & Teacher Education, 22(7), 812-825.

Professional development | Teacher resilience

This study concerned inner city high school teachers in the United States who work with high proportions of disadvantaged, minority and English as second language students. The research question asked was, "What motivates experienced inner city high school teachers to remain in the classroom?". Resilience was conceptualised as a quality of teachers remaining committed to teaching and teaching practice despite challenging situations and events. The study used mixed methods including the Experienced Teacher Survey (Brunett, 2001) and extended interviews to identify characteristics that enabled nine teachers to remain in challenging teaching positions for over twelve years. Three overarching themes pertinent to the success of these resilient teachers were their devotion to their students, their pursuit of professional and personal fulfilment, and the support of administration staff, colleagues including the organisation and management of the school. The article concluded that more research is needed on the personality dispositions and environmental factors that contribute to teacher resilience.

Çapan, B. E. (2012). Teacher candidates' strategies for coping with stress. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 4(1), 146-161.

Teacher resilience | Teacher training

Student teachers are susceptible to stress due to their lack of experience, uncertain perceptions about their positions, lack of strategies to cope with unexpected situations, school violence, aggressive and problem behaviours of students, and teachers’ feeling that they cannot cope with those problems. In this study that explored how teacher candidates coped with stress according to their gender, age, and major, 307 university students, 183 female (59.6 %) and 124 male (40.4) from three Turkish universities, were asked to complete a personal information form and the Multidimensional Intimate Coping Questionnaire (MICQ). The data analysis indicated that male student teachers resorted to substance use (e.g. alcohol, drugs) more than their female counterparts. Moreover, female student teachers sought external support, believed in religion, and used negative and passive doping strategies more than male students. In addition, student teachers between 23 and 31 used “Positive and Active Coping” and “Self Bolstering” more often than the candidates between 19 and 22. With regard to majors, it was found that student teachers studying in special education departments use “Denial/Mental Disengagement” more often than the candidates studying in science or social science departments. To conclude, it was proposed that teacher training programs should equip student teachers with knowledge and skills to cope with stress and negative conditions.

Castro, A. J., Kelly, J., & Shih, M. (2009). Resilience strategies for new teachers in high-needs areas. Teaching & Teacher Education. 26(3), 622-629.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

This qualitative study investigated the resilient strategies new teachers use when responding to adverse situations, including the resources employed to overcome challenges and obstacles to teaching. Resilience was viewed as the specific strategies individuals employ when they experience an adverse situation. Resilience strategies were identified as allowing the individual to overcome adversity (anxiety and disruption) and minimise the impact of adversity in the future. The research included semi-structured interviews with 15 first year (novice) teachers working in high need areas (rural, urban and special needs education). Resilience strategies identified included: a) help-seeking (adopting a mentor, advocating for resources and acquiring allies to resolve problems); b) problem-solving (trial and error, consulting others, researching alternatives); c) managing difficult relationships (seeking buffers and allies for antagonising relationships, avoiding encounters with difficult others, and collecting documentation); and, d) seeking rejuvenation/renewal (work life balance, caring for one's personal, physical and emotional well being outside the classroom, and obtaining satisfaction while teaching). The importance of individual agency in developing resilience was emphasised. The article concluded that: a) problem solving strategies and techniques must become an essential part of the novice teachers' training and experiences; and, b) teacher educators should facilitate discussion about school as a workplace including professional issues and ways to manage relationships with other teachers and parents.

Cefai, C., & Cavioni, V. (2014). Social and emotional education in primary school (Chapter 8). New York: Springer.

Professional development | Teacher resilience

Teaching is a “vulnerable” (p. 134) profession in which teachers face a multiplicity of challenges, for example, low salary, heavy workload, long working hours, large classes, students’ misbehaviour, students’ underachievement, and lack of administrative support, to name just a few. All of these stressors lead to a feeling of incompetence, lowered self-esteem, job dissatisfaction, and emotional burnout, which in turns result in teachers leaving the profession. To help teachers bounce back from these adversities, it is important to assist them to cultivate positive attitudes and emotions, in order to strengthen their well-being and ability to cope with the demands of the job. To this end, the chapter proposes an approach called the “interactionist, biopsychosocial perspective to well-being”, which is argued to assist teachers to build their social and emotional competence as a protective factor against work stress. Some of the measures suggested include: building positive healthy relationships in the classroom, using effective class management strategies, creating a positive classroom climate, including teachers in professional development, enhancing teachers’ self-efficacy, providing support to new teachers, encouraging teachers to participate in social and emotional learning, and helping teachers identify targets for improvement.

Chan, D. W. (2008). Emotional intelligence, self-efficacy, and coping among Chinese prospective and in-service teachers in Hong Kong. Educational Psychology, 28(4), 397-408.

Emotions in teaching | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This study examined the role of emotional intelligence (intrapersonal and interpersonal) and general teacher self-efficacy in coping with teacher stress. The quantitative study included the assessment of emotional intelligence, teacher self-efficacy and coping styles amongst 273 prospective- and in-service Chinese teachers working in Hong Kong. Emotional intelligence was defined to include the ability to appraise, regulate and manage one's emotions (intrapersonal) and to appraise emotions in others (interpersonal). Results of the study identified that in-service teachers had higher levels of teacher self-efficacy, intrapersonal emotional intelligence, and interpersonal emotional intelligence than prospective teachers. Teachers who applied active coping (using problem solving and seeking support) tended to have high teacher self-efficacy, and a high level of intrapersonal and interpersonal emotional intelligence. Intrapersonal and interpersonal emotional intelligence emerged as significant predictors of the employment of an active coping style (as opposed to passively employing resigned distancing or wishful thinking coping). The study concluded that developing preventive and intervention programs to enhance the emotional intelligence of trainee teachers would contribute to the development of adaptive coping in teachers.

Chong, S., & Low, E.-l. (2009). Why I want to teach and how I feel about teaching: Formation of teacher identity from pre-service to the beginning teacher phase. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 8(1), 59-72.

Beginning teachers | Professional development | Teacher resilience

This study explored the developing professional identities of student-early career teachers, including their motivations for joining teaching and how they feel towards teaching and the teaching profession at different times (at entry and exit of their teacher training and at the end of their first year of teaching). The research study initially included 605 trainees (405 participated again at the end of their training and 116 participated at the end of their first year of teaching). Study participants completed questionnaires including questions on their main reason(s) for choosing teaching as a career, how they felt about teaching, and their perceptions, knowledge of and skills in teaching. Study findings indicated that students were mainly motivated by altruistic and intrinsic factors. Students had a very positive perception of teaching and the profession at point of entry and were least motivated by extrinsic factors. Over time, teaching trainees/graduates became more realistic and less idealistic about teaching. The study concluded that teacher education programmes should place a priority on supporting student teachers as they build a positive professional identity. In addition, it was argued that schools should monitor and support beginning teachers' coping and assist them to keep building a positive professional identity.

Cochran-Smith, M. (2004). Stayers, leavers, lovers, and dreamers: Insights about teacher retention. Journal of Teacher Education, 55, 387-392.

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

This editorial highlighted new research results on teacher retention and extrapolated reasons of teachers staying. Within this article, resilience is defined as capability to “persevere, in spite of all the deprivations and challenges” (Nieto, 2003, p. 7). While frustrated by social inequities, urban educational bureaucracy, and their own self-doubts, good urban teachers stay because they love, believe in, and respect the students they work with, and take pride in making a difference to their lives. In addition, staying teachers participate in teacher communities and other opportunities to meet, talk, and work with others who value teaching. As teacher shortage is a big problem, the author argued that teachers should be encouraged to be “lovers and dreamers” (p. 391).

Coetzee, S., Ebersöhn, L., & Ferreira, R. (2013). South African rural teachers’ conceptualisation of their own career resilience: Stories of defining moments and career satisfaction. Paper presented at the Responsible Teaching and Sustainable Learning. 15th Biennial EARLI conference for Research on Learning and Instruction, Munich, Germany.

Teacher resilience | Teaching rural/remote

This paper, which examined how to sustain teacher resilience in poverty and rural education settings, defined resilience as “a process of risk management and development despite adversity within the complex interaction between a person’s lifespan, life roles, culture and personal beliefs” (p. 4).The teachers in the study did not choose the teaching job because of their inner calling, but because of convenience reasons. However, being a teacher in South Africa involves a variety of chronic risk factors that cause stress and burnout: poverty, legacies of apartheid, constant policy reform, low morale of teachers, depraved attitude of learners, and unstable working conditions. To counteract these risk factors, the teacher drew on both external protective factors (social support from school leadership, colleagues and families) and internal protective factors (career satisfaction, commitment to learner success, value of their work to help marginalised children, religion) to help them bounce back and thrive in poverty and rural settings. As a conclusion, the authors pointed out that resilience is a condition of a teacher’s well-being and appears to be enabled and sustained by adversity.

Cohen, R. M. (2009). What it takes to stick it out: two veteran inner-city teachers after 25 years. Teachers and Teaching, 15(4), 471-491.

Teacher resilience

This article identified traits of two resilient urban high school teachers who remained committed and enthusiastic about their work over 25 years. Using ethnographic, open-ended interviews and observations, the study showed that common issues such as race and class, and complexities of teaching in a diverse environment were not perceived as stressors by the participating teachers. They persisted and thrived thanks to their ability to forget unhappy moments to move forward, some certain degree of narcissism – self-involvement, their positive assumptions about their students and their love of their subject matters. Contrary to common assumptions, the two teachers survived due to strategies that were non-student-centred. As a conclusion, the researcher pointed out that to enhance teachers’ hardiness, teachers’ opinions should be solicited and academics should be valued while the definition of good teaching should be broadened.

Curry, J. R., & O’Brien, E. R. (2012). Shifting to a wellness paradigm in teacher education: A promising practice for fostering teacher stress reduction, burnout resilience, and promoting retention. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, 14(3), 178-191.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher training

This article explored how a wellness paradigm may reduce work-related stress and promote teacher resilience. An analysis of two teachers’ narratives of their first year in the teaching profession showed that they faced a myriad of stressors, including professional factors (heavy work load, children’s low socioeconomic background and low literacy level, parents’ indifference, lack of professional support) and personal factors (lack of time for personal and social life and family commitment). As a result, one teacher gave up and looked for another non-teaching job, while the other teacher stayed resilient by attending to her own wellness. Despite the lack of a mentor, she reached out to colleagues and asked for support while establishing a good relationship with an experienced teacher. She also focused on her physical and mental wellness by frequent exercise and time management. From these two cases, the researcher suggested that wellness is a promising practice that can be incorporated in teacher training programs to help pre-service teachers learn how to foster resilience. Within the wellness paradigm, the researcher recommended that beginning teachers should focus on five domains: physical health and nutrition, leisure, relationships, school- or work-based pursuits, and an additional area of their choosing (i.e., spirituality, finances, hobby, etc.).

Dallas, F. I. (2003). Enhancing teacher efficacy and resiliency through professional learning communities: A case study in middle school teacher professional development. (Doctor of Philosophy), The University of North Carolina, Greensboro. (3103528)

Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This thesis examined the influences that one professional learning community had on teacher efficacy and resiliency. Within the study, resilience is characterised as the ability to thrive in the face of adversity (Brown, D’Emidio-Caston, and Benard, 2001, p. xi).The participants of the study were teachers at a low performing urban middle school in the South-eastern United States. Thirty-five faculty members were asked to complete the Collective Efficacy Scale (CES), while nine sixth grade Math and Language Arts teachers were required to complete the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale. In addition, the sixth grade Language Arts teachers also completed several questionnaires about their experiences in the professional learning community. Additional sources of data comprised multiple interviews with the sixth grade Language Arts teachers, field notes from planning meetings, class observations, artefacts, emails, and informal discussions. The findings showed that the participating teachers felt efficacious in their instructional strategies and somewhat efficacious in their classroom management, but not efficacious in their ability to engage students in learning. Furthermore, the teachers felt a general lack of administrative support for student discipline. However, the positive outcome of the professional learning community was stronger professional relationships, effective collaborative planning and problem solving, increased confidence, collegial support, enhanced resilience, and professional growth. In general, professional learning communities proved to be effective in cultivating teacher efficacy and resiliency.

Davison, K. M. (2006). Teacher resilience promotion: A pilot program study. (Doctor of Philosophy), Wright Institute Graduate School of Psychology, Ann Arbor, MI.

Teacher resilience | Teacher training

The aims of this thesis were to develop and pilot a resilience promotion workshop and evaluate its effectiveness. Resilience is “the human ability to adapt in the face of tragedy, trauma, adversity, hardship, and ongoing significant life stressors” (p. 26). A 90-minute “10 Ways to Build Resilience” workshop developed from resilience and stress management literature was conducted with 66 pre-service and in-service teachers. A follow-up feedback evaluation form and a long-term feedback survey were administered to the participants. The results indicated that, although the effectiveness of the workshop on the participants’ resilience could not be established, 90% of the participants said they would recommend the resilience workshop to others and 85% of the participants rated the skills as sufficiently useful. To conclude, the researcher stressed that the severity of stressors creates a condition for resilience building and that the role of psychologists in helping teachers build resilience through training workshops should be emphasised.

Day, C. (2008). Committed for life? Variations in teachers' work, lives and effectiveness. Journal of Educational Change, 9(3), 243-260.

Emotions in teaching | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

This article reported on findings from the VITAE (variations in teachers work, lives and effectiveness) project. Within the paper, resilience was considered to be enduring commitment, socially constructed and a product of personal and professional values or dispositions. Resilience was considered to include: a) forming and sustaining socially positive relationships, b) being adept at problem solving, c) having a sense of purpose and motivation for self-improvement, and d) having the capacity to bounce back under adverse circumstances. This mixed-methods study included 300 teachers from 100 schools throughout the United Kingdom. Teachers of students aged 7, 11, and 14 were selected because national testing data was available for those students, providing pupil outcome measures. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participant teachers twice a year over four years. The study identified six professional life phases related to years of experience in teaching (not to age or responsibilities). In addition, resilience was found to vary depending on the career phase of the teacher and the type of school (it is more challenged for late-phase of career teachers and those teaching in schools experiencing higher levels of disadvantage). The students of teachers who were committed and resilient attained better than those who were not. The researcher concluded that sustaining and enhancing teachers' commitment and resilience is a key quality and retention issue. In addition, further research is needed to better understand the factors that enable teachers to sustain their motivation, commitment and subsequent effectiveness.

Day, C. (2007). Teachers matter: connecting work, lives and effectiveness (Chapter 10). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press.

Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

In this book chapter, Day investigated how teachers retained their resilience and effectiveness in their teaching profession. Data used in this chapter were from the VITAE research project, which involved 300 primary and secondary teachers; some typical cases of resilient teachers were closely examined. The findings showed that teachers faced a myriad of work stressors such as government policies, disruptive student behaviour, lack of school support, heavy workload, increased paperwork, long working hours, unpleasant incidents with parents, and a lack of work-life balance. To bounce back from such adversities, the teachers drew on protective factors such as rewards gained from working with students, sense of efficacy, sense of being trust by being given more responsibilities, staff collegiality and a strong sense of professional goals and purposes. The chapter also pointed out early and middle career teachers are more likely to sustain their resilience than late career teachers, whose poor health makes it difficult for them to endure a multiplicity of aforementioned work stressors. In addition, the authors pointed out there were no significant differences between primary and high school teachers’ resilience. To conclude the chapter, Day suggested that teachers should be assisted to develop their self-efficacy, “one of the very robust predictors of resilience” (p. 208).

Day, C., & Gu, Q. (2009). Veteran teachers: Commitment, resilience and quality retention. Teachers and Teaching, 15(4), 441 - 457.

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

This article reported on findings from the VITAE (variations in teachers work, lives and effectiveness) project. The mixed-methods research study included 300 teachers from 100 schools throughout the United Kingdom. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participant teachers twice a year over four years and student achievement data was collected. This paper focused on veteran teachers (those who have served in the profession for 24 years or more) and the journey of two teachers in particular. Story 1 – restoring lost commitment – the key role of leadership. Story 2 – tired and trapped – holding on but losing motivation. As with all VITAE research, the study focused upon the "...combination of personal, situated and policy-related circumstances which affect teachers' resilience and quality retention" (p. 442). Personal, situated and professional factors were found to influence teachers work and lives, and how these are managed helps sustain motivation and commitment in the face of adversity. Appropriate and responsive leadership support in work contexts was identified as the key to ensuring and promoting quality and effectiveness of teachers' professional lives. Attending to the "...broader personal well-being of staff – through building trust through genuine regard and sustained interaction – must go alongside the raising of expectations and continuing pursuit of standards" (p. 454). When the emotional context of teaching is positive (e.g., job satisfaction, positive teacher-student relationships), positive emotions can be 'banked' in reserve and this promotes resilience when times are challenging. The researchers concluded that more research was needed on what builds and supports teacher's commitment and effectiveness.

Day, C., & Gu, Q. (2010). The new lives of teachers (Chapter 9). Ulc: Routledge.

Teacher resilience

In this book chapter, resilience is characterised as “the capacity to continue to ‘bounce back’ to recover strengths or spirit quickly and efficiently in the face of adversity” (p. 156). Resilience is theorised as a psychological construct as well as a multidimensional, socially constructed concept. Through the examination of three case studies of three teachers, the authors found that resilience is fostered from a sense of vocation, the call to teach, a sense of rewards from students’ progress, support from the school leadership and colleagues, personal support, and successful management of work-life tensions. Based on these findings, two resilience concepts were recommended: relational resilience, which is about drawing strengths from each other, and organisational resilience, which stresses the importance of leadership in promoting teacher resilience.

Day, C., & Gu, Q. (2007). Variations in the conditions for teachers' professional learning and development: Sustaining commitment and effectiveness over a career. Oxford Review of Education, 33(4), 423-443.

Professional development | Teacher resilience

This article reported on findings from the VITAE (variations in teachers work, lives and effectiveness) project. The mixed-methods research study included 300 teachers from 100 schools throughout the United Kingdom. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participant teachers twice a year over four years and student achievement data was collected. This paper focused on teachers' six professional life phases and variations in their professional, personal and workplace conditions that affect their commitment, resilience, and subsequently, their effectiveness. The first professional life phase (0-3 years) was described as "learning which builds identity and classroom competence" and study participants within this phase fell into two categories: one with a developing sense of efficacy and the other with a reducing sense of efficacy. The paper described each of the six phases and provides two teacher's stories to illustrate contrasting professional trajectories and how change in professional, personal and situated factors affect teachers' commitment to learn and develop over time. Support was identified to be critical in promoting teacher effectiveness. Experience did not necessarily result in teacher effectiveness and the authors concluded that, "Just as the best teaching 'personalises' students' learning agendas, so the best professional learning and structures and cultures will differentiate between the learning agendas of teachers in order to sustain their resilience, commitment and effectiveness which are fundamental to classroom and school effectiveness and improvement" (p. 441).

Day, C., & Gu, Q. (2014). Resilient teachers, resilient schools. New York, NY: Routledge.

Teacher resilience

This book on teacher resilience examines how teachers and schools sustain the quality of their teaching, passion and commitment through good and bad times, as well as factors that may prevent them from doing so. The book has nine chapters that elaborate on three main sections: the nature of resilience, how to build resilience in teachers, and the importance of teacher resilience. Drawing on international research and illustration from practice, the book discusses some major issues: teachers learn to bounce back from adversity; their resilience is formed over time, as they become efficient problem solvers; when they feel competent and supported in the workplace, their resilience is fostered. Moreover, the book also points out positive associations between teachers’ self-efficacy, well-being, commitment, and emotional energy with resilience. As directions for future for research, Day and Gu (2014) argue that, rather than concentrating on stress factors, future studies should target at understanding what teachers, schools and organisations can do to build teachers’ resilient capacity.

Dellow, K. E. (1998). Looking beyond survival: A study of teacher resilience in a context of change. (Doctor of Philosophy), University of Saskatchewan, Ottawa.

Teacher resilience

This thesis examined high school teacher resilience in the context of change using a naturalistic interpretive case study approach and semi-structured interviews. In the study, resilience is viewed as “a capacity to go beyond survival to actually prosper in environments that are increasingly complex” (p. 8). The participants of the study comprised 3 experienced teachers identified by superintendents and principals as being resilient. The analysis of qualitative data showed that the teachers faced many challenges in the context of change, i.e. new provincial curricula with no supporting materials or textbooks, frustration of having to develop instructional materials, and personal sacrifices in order to keep up with the changes. However, all the teachers remained resilient due to their pride in their skills, their efficiency and effectiveness, their caring and commitment. To conclude, it was recommended that teachers should foster their resilience to embrace change and “the many opportunities of a rapidly changing world” (p. 242).

Demetriou, H., Wilson, E., & Winterbottom, M. (2009). The role of emotion in teaching: are there differences between male and female newly qualified teachers' approaches to teaching? Educational Studies, 35(4), pp. 449-473.

Emotions in teaching | Teacher resilience

This research study incorporated mixed methods (surveys and interviews) to investigate the emotional responses of new teachers (Graduates for the University of Cambridge) to adversity and challenge in the classroom. Although the concept of resilience is not directly employed, the paper discussed strategies that new career teachers employed in response to difficulties that they experienced with students (in particular). Within the paper it was argued that adaptive responses include: actively seeking help and advice, maintaining a friendly rapport with students whilst adhering to the remits of being a teacher, thinking reflectively and being able to put one's role and relationships with colleagues into perspective. Study findings indicated that females were generally better equipped to respond emotionally to their students as they were more likely to go to greater lengths to engage with their students and to employ emotional tactics. Overall, being able to think and talk about feelings and emotions was concluded to be an important contributor to teacher retention.

Doney, P. A. (2013). Fostering resilience: A necessary skill for teacher retention. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 24, 645–664.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher training | Teaching rural/remote

This interpretive case study investigated how four novice secondary science teachers developed their resilience through reaction to stressors. Data collected from multiple sources, such as interviews, a response to a written prompt on a resilience, classroom observations, relational maps of stressors and protective factors, and work shadowing for one full day for each participant showed the teachers had to face stressors from personal factors (personality characteristics, school, family and friends), professional factors (students, adults and teaching schedules; extra-curricular activities), and contextual factors (school culture, turnovers in personnel and administration). To counteract these stressors, several coping strategies were employed, including problem solving, maintaining a sense of purpose, having a sense of humour, and maintaining self-efficacy. Added to this, the teachers received support from protective factors, such as family, administration, management, colleagues, who helped them recognise their self-worth. To conclude, the author pointed out that resilience is a process that happens over time and cannot occur without the presence of stressors. Therefore, it is important that early career teachers be assisted to understand and embrace the resilience process to promote teacher retention. The researcher also suggested that future research look into examining resilience of teachers working in suburban, rural, and urban school settings, with consideration given to both genders and teaching experience.

Dworkin, A. G. (2009). Teacher burnout and teacher resilience: Assessing the impacts of the school accountability movement. In L. J. Saha & A. G. Dworkin (Eds.), International Handbook of Research on Teachers and Teaching (pp. 491–509). LLC: Springer Science + Business Media.

Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This theoretical chapter discussed the impacts of the school accountability movement on teacher resilience, which is defined as “the process of, capacity for, or outcome of successful adaptation despite challenging or threatening circumstances” (Masten, Best, & Garmezy, 1990, p. 425). According to the author, teaching is a profession that causes higher than average rates of job stress and burnout than other college-educated jobs. Besides the common stressors such as long working hours and lack of adequate compensation, the externally-imposed school accountability systems that attribute low student achievement to teachers’ incompetence lead to a significant amount of job stress, low morale and burnout. Drawing on the literature, the author pointed out several key characteristics of the resilient teacher, which included a strong sense of agency; a tendency not to dwell on past mistakes or failures; a capacity to depersonalise unpleasant experiences and thereby understand them analytically; and a strong moral sense of purpose. The chapter also discussed some clinical strategies to help teachers promote their resilience as well as the role of social support networks, including supportive co-workers and administrators.

Ebersöhn, L. (2012). Adding ‘flock’ to ‘fight and flight’: A honeycomb of resilience where supply of relationships meets demand for support. Journal of Psychology in Africa, 27(2), 29–42.

Teacher resilience

This article examines the role of relationships in promoting teacher resilience. The article drew on an eight-year longitudinal study that used multiple methods, i.e. focus groups, semi-structured interviews, informal conversational interviews, observations, visual method, colloquium presentations. Data collected from 74 teachers working at 12 schools revealed that relationships from school and family are central protective resources, constituting a way to mitigate the effects of adversity. Relationships can also reconfigure a risk ecology and predict positive adaptation, which helps teacher avoid hopelessness, distress, burnout, depression, aggression and withdrawal. The findings of the study were asserted to have important implications for the restructuring of the ecology of adversity. A Relationship Resourced Resilience model was also proposed.

Ee, J., & Chang, A. (2010). How resilient are our graduate trainee teachers in Singapore? The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 19(2), 321-331.

Beginning teachers | Emotions in teaching | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher training | Teacher- or self- efficacy

The study is located in the context where schools in Singapore face high teacher burn-out and attrition due to many educational initiatives from the Ministry of Education and the demands from parents. Within the article, resilience is characterised as “the capacity to take risks and adapt even when one faces adversity or negative life conditions” (p. 321). With an aim of identifying the resilience traits of graduate trainee teachers in Singapore, 109 trainee teachers were asked to complete a resilience questionnaire with the subscales of impulse control, empathy, emotion regulation, optimism, self-efficacy, causal analysis, and reaching out. Statistical analyses indicated that self-efficacy, emotional regulation, empathy and optimism were predictors of resilience. The article is maintained to have two important implications for future research and practice. First, early career teachers should be assisted to recognise and discuss resilient responses to stressful events to enhance their sense of efficacy. Second, novice teachers should be encouraged to work with scenarios, videos, or actual classroom observations of challenging situations they encounter to improve their resilient thinking and coping strategies.

Ewing, R., & Manuel, J. (2005). Retaining quality early career teachers in the profession: New teacher narratives. Change: Transformations in Education, 8(1), 1-16.

Beginning teachers | Teacher retention/attrition

This article focused on teacher retention issues and early career induction. It reported on several longitudinal studies (Ewing and Smith, 2003; Manuel and Brindley, 2002) that help identify the "...forces and conditions that lead to early teacher retention and attrition. It seeks to explore how the continuities and discontinuities in the journey from pre-service teacher into the teaching workforce influence the decision to stay or leave the profession" (p. 2). An overview of retention issues is provided and then findings from previous research are reported. The phase of teacher development from pre-service teacher education to the end of the first year of teaching is described from the early days of the first teaching appointment, finding a place (the establishment phase), and building a professional identity and voice. The importance of induction programmes in the teacher's specific school context is discussed including the importance of informal support (which cannot be ensured), and mentoring (although many do not receive this support). The authors argued that there is a need to hear the voices of new teachers more.

Fajardo, I., Minayo, M., & Moreira, C. (2010). Educação escolar e resiliência: política de educação e a prática docente em meios adversos [School education and resilience: The practice of teaching in media adverse]. Ensaio: Avaliação e Políticas Públicas em Educação, 18(69), 761-773. DOI: 10.1590/S0104-40362010000400006

Teacher resilience

Translated abstract – This paper is a theoretical essay constructed from a literature review. It aims to discuss the issue of resilience in school education. This article also searches to comprehend the meaning of the term resilience and how this concept fits the picture of the teacher that at the same time provides practical and constructive attitudes of students, and the problems associated with the school routine. The search of literature occurred in the databases Medline, Google Scholar, Scielo, Lilacs (BIREME) between the years 2002 to 2008. Studies on the teacher’s resilience proved to be still rare, preliminary or insufficient. The studies also showed that being resilient is not an attribute of the person but can be consolidated in teaching activities and that resilient environment of pedagogical action grows when there is an affective and emotional support necessary for people to work in learning climate.

Fajardo, I., Minayo, M., Moreira, C. (2013). Resiliência e prática escolar: Uma revisão crítica [Resilience and educational practice: A critical Review]. Educação & Sociedade, 34 (122), 213-224.

Teacher resilience

Translated abstract – This article explores the national and international literature on resilience and education through a critical review study. The analysis was based on the dialectical hermeneutics. We identified two themes: the relational dimension of resilience and the educational structure, the structure of educational policy and resilience in the teaching practice. The first one is divided into two fields: one related to developmental psychology, emphasizing the individual′s place in building resilient attitudes and behaviors, and another that binds to the systemic perspective of the institutions including school and family. We conclude that, "resilient processes" are produced in education as opposed to resilience as a concept devoid of context, reality and reflection. We suggest that an analysis of the symbolic field, capital generated in this universe and dialogue between traditions, can be useful for future analysis of the theme of resilience and education.

Fantilli, R.D., & McDougall, D.E. (2009). A study of novice teachers: Challenges and supports in the first years. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 814-825.

Beginning teachers | Professional development

This study explored where and how novice teachers require support in order to meet the challenges of the first years of teaching. 54 graduates of a two-year initial teacher education program at an Ontario university responded to an on-line survey (all were certified to teach with three years or less of teaching experience). 5 participants were included in follow-up interviews. Major challenges that participants faced as new teachers included: late placement and the assignment of difficult and challenging positions, differentiating instruction to meet the needs of exceptional students, communicating with parents, planning and organizing daily and long-term schedules, assessment, behaviour management, and constantly seeking alternate sources of guidance and/or assistance from teacher colleagues due to the absence of a qualified mentor. Desired supports included the need for pre-service programs to include increased exposure to practical tasks, a variety of district-sponsored support and professional development, and more refined district hiring practices. With regard to induction and mentorship participants identified that mentee involvement in the selection of a mentor, and qualified mentors with sound teaching practice and adequate time to work with them were highly desirable.

Ferguson, D. (2008). Wellbeing through resilience. In What teachers need to know about personal wellbeing. (Ch. 2., pp. 14-27). Victoria: ACER Press.

Professional development | Teacher resilience

This book represents a resource for teachers who wish to develop their wellbeing through resilience. In Chapter 1 of the book, resilience is defined as a life skill, including "...the buoyancy and power of recovery for life's ups and downs" (p. 6). Resiliency is characterised by emotional maturity (intelligence), and includes self-esteem, self-confidence, and the ability to maintain friendships with peers. In Chapter 2, Ferguson outlines that resilience can be developed by training the mind and developing methods of attending to stress and reactivity that support one's wellbeing. Strategies that develop resilience and wellbeing include assessing stressful situations and evaluating how permanent, pervasive and personalised they are. Ferguson recommends developing optimism as a key way of fostering a sense of personal control and wellbeing.

Fleet, A., Kitson, R., Cassady, B. Hughes. R. (2007) University-qualified Indigenous early childhood teachers: Voices of resilience. Retrieved September 2010 from:

Early childhood teachers | Teacher resilience

This paper looked at the topic of resilience with and from an Australian Indigenous perspective, which is rare amongst the research related to resilience. The research was located within a qualitative participatory research paradigm using oral narratives, ethnographic case study and taking time to 'chat and yarn' sessions to gather the data. Indigenous co-researchers with long standing relationships with the participants were employed to conduct the interviews with 25 newly qualified Indigenous teachers. The research focused on the factors that supported and constrained Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in gaining university qualifications to become Early Childhood Education teachers. Based on analysis of the data the researchers found support mechanisms identified included: support systems in and out of university (family, peers, university infra structure, Federal funding); the nature of program – i.e., Indigenous cohort; the role of the Indigenous Academic support unit (Cultural safety); ITAS; persistence, resilience and humour.

Fleming, J. L., Mackrain, M., & LeBuffe, P. A. (2013). Caring for the caregiver: Promoting the resilience of teachers. In S. Goldstein & R. B. Brooks (Eds.), Handbook of Resilience in Children(pp. 387-397). New York: Springer Science+Business Media.

Teacher resilience | Teacher training

This book chapter explored the adverse factors that affect teachers’ health and well-being and proposed measures to promote teacher resilience. A review of the literature showed that common and unique stressors experienced by teachers include work stability, salary, severe time constraints, children displaying problem behaviours, lacking motivation, or coming to school sleep-deprived, school reform efforts, inadequate administrative support, poor working conditions, lack of participation in school decision making, the burden of paper-work, lack of resources, family responsibilities and relationships. These multiple stressors lead to burnout, lower quality interactions with students, and lack of emotional availability to students. The writers then suggested resilience programs to enhance the well-being and resilience of teachers such as the Inner Resilience Program, The Emotional Intelligent Teacher Program, the Personal Resilience and Resilient Relationships (PRRR) worksite training program, all of which are available in the United States. To conclude, the authors stressed that “supporting teachers’ resilience is a promising practice that is critical to educational planning efforts at the national, state, and local levels” (p. 394).

Flores, M. A. (2006). Being a novice teacher in two different settings: Struggles, continuities, and discontinuities. Teachers College Record, 108(10), 2021–2052.

Beginning teachers | Professional development | Teacher training

This study aimed to "chart the development of a cohort of new teachers by examining the ways in which they learned, developed, and changed (or did not change) over the first 2 years of teaching in changing educational settings" (p. 2023). The study utilised data from a larger study of teachers' professional development and change and included semi-structured interviews with 14 teachers. This paper focuses on participants' perceptions of their experiences as 1st and 2nd year teachers in two different schools. A key finding concerns the complex interplay between idiosyncratic and contextual factors that was observed in the study participants. New teachers revisit, challenge and reframe their initial beliefs and images about teaching resulting in a transformation of identity. Self-motivation and self-efficacy emerged as characteristics distinguishing between teachers who were enthusiastic and committed and those who were more compliant and gave up. The authors underlined the importance of effective induction practices for new teachers. They also emphasised the importance of partnerships between universities and schools in the delivery of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and they recommend that prior beliefs about teaching should be taken into account in teacher training.

Freeman, T. M., Leonard, L., & Lipari, J. (2007). The social contextual nature of resiliency in schools. In D. M. Davis (Ed.), Resiliency considered policy implications of the resiliency movement(pp. 15-30). Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.

Resilience in school

This theoretical/discussion chapter reviews empirical research on youth resilience in the context of middle school and high school based on an ecological systems framework. In the ecological framework, positive and caring relationships with peers, teachers and parents, positive high expectations for all students, and opportunities to participate and contribute, are argued to be major factors that constitute student resilience. The article also outlines what policy makers, administrators, teachers, parents and community members can do to support students’ resilience.

Friedman, I. (2004). Directions in teacher training for low-burnout teaching: lessons from the research. In Frydenberg, E. (Ed)., Thriving, surviving, or going under: coping with everyday lives. (pp. 305-325). Victoria: Information Age Publishing.

Beginning teachers | Emotions in teaching | Professional development | Teacher training | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This book chapter is concerned with reducing the incidence of teacher burnout, particularly amongst early career teachers. Burnout includes cognitive perceptions of lack of success and professional non-fulfilment and emotional experiences ranging from overload to exhaustion. Burnout occurs as a result of a gap between an individual's expected and observed sense of professional self-efficacy. Teacher efficacy distinguishes teachers on the road to burnout and those on the highway to professional accomplishment. Early career teachers are described as experiencing a "reality shock" - a gap between training and expectations and the realities of working life in a school. Friedman argues that professional skills for low burnout teaching should be developed through appropriate training in the areas of leadership, organisational efficacy, self-regulation, and skills for evading the burnout trap.

Gibbs, S., & Miller, A. (2013). Teachers’ resilience and well-being: a role for educational psychology. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 1-13. Doi: 10.1080/13540602.2013.844408

Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This theoretical article explored factors that may sustain or erode teacher resilience. An examination of the literature showed that teacher resilience is constituted by teachers’ belief in their efficacy, confidence and determination to succeed. However, teacher resilience is often challenged by professional difficulties, especially the general belief that teachers are accountable for children’s misbehaviour. The consequence is the loss of resilience, which leads to teachers’ ill-health and time absent from work. To help teachers regain a sense of resilience, the author argued that support from peers, leaders and colleagues plays a key role. In particular, consultation with psychologists as an intervention is maintained to assist and challenge teachers to generate new knowledge, new skills and a greater belief in their own self-efficacy, which in turns helps them regain their resilience.

Giroux, P. (2007). Resilient teachers: A qualitative study of six thriving educators in urban elementary schools. (Doctor of Education), Western Michigan University. (3293194)

Teacher resilience

This thesis examined the characteristics of six resilient teachers at urban schools who had at least eight years of teaching experience. It drew on two concepts of resilience, i.e. “the ability to adjust to varied situations and increase one’s competence in the face of adverse conditions” (Bobek, 2002, p. 202) and “the ability to bounce back when faced with adverse conditions” (Bemshausen & Cunningham, 2001, p. 3). In-depth interviews were conducted to explore the teachers’ level of resilience and build a portrait of their characteristics. The results indicated that professional development or professional learning was a significant element that contributed to the participants’ resilience. Moreover, resilient teachers were also reported to rely on collegial and personal supports as well as personal connections with students to promote their capacity to bounce back from hardship. The research study was said to have implications for the fields of educational leadership, teacher education, teacher resilience, resilience theory and positive psychology.

Goddard J., Foster R. (2001) The Experiences of neophyte teachers: a critical constructivist assessment. Teaching and Teacher Education 17 pp. 349-365.

Beginning teachers | Teacher training

This paper aimed to develop a "more informed" and "more sophisticated construction of the phenomenon of beginning teachers leaving the profession" (p. 349). The researchers worked within a critical constructivist paradigm and used a collective case study of 9 beginning teachers to gather their data in context through interviews. Six themes/stages emerged from analysis of the data:

  1. Archetype – a preconscious and instinctual expression of human nature that is recurrent
  2. Approaching the gates
  3. Clearing the gates
  4. The gloss wears off
  5. Disillusionment
  6. Alternative routes across the Rubicon

The researchers argued that ECE teachers need support through all transitional phases and that individual's pass through at varying rates and with different triggers.

Goddard, R., & O'Brien, P. (2004). Are beginning teachers with a second degree at a higher risk of early career burnout? Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 29(1), 31-40.

Beginning teachers | Teacher training

The research study reported in this article included 123 teachers working in Queensland and investigated whether differing rates of burnout arise in beginning teachers with different pre-service backgrounds. The study used a mail survey six weeks after the commencement of full time teaching and then again six months later. The survey used is an Educators version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI: Maslach, Jackson & Leiter, 1996). Findings from the study indicated that burnout developed at different rates for groups holding a second university degree at the time of registration as a teacher, compared with those holding a BEd qualification: BEd students evidenced lower rates of burnout on two key indicators (emotional exhaustion and depersonalization). Possible reasons proposed for this difference include: higher expectations of teacher resulting from a higher investment in study/training; a focus on the teaching area of specialisation itself rather than the teaching process; and the condensing of training for graduates resulting in less preparedness.

Green, D., Oswald, M., & Spears, B. (2007). Teachers’ (mis)understandings of resilience. International Education Journal, 8(2), 133-144.

Teacher resilience

This study investigated teachers’ understandings of resiliency. Totally 57 teachers (16 junior primary teachers, 24 middle and upper primary teachers and 17 specialist teachers or teaching support staff) were asked to complete a Likert scale qualitative questionnaire modified and adapted from the questionnaire ‘What teachers do to foster resilience’ (Oswald et al, 2003) and then an open-ended questionnaire comprising six questions. The results indicated the teachers conceptualised resilience as the ability to cope, bounce back or move on despite perceived adversities (p. 137). In addition, they believed that resilience was mainly a product of individuals’ efforts and their willingness to work hard and achieve. Moreover, in contrast to most research that has identified resilience as a fluid attribute, the teachers in this study perceived resilience as a ‘mindset’, a personality trait, a stable construct that remained unchanged over time.

Gu, Q. & Day, C. (2007). Teachers resilience: A necessary condition for effectiveness. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(8), 1302-1316.

Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This article reported on findings from the VITAE (variations in teachers work, lives and effectiveness) project. The mixed-methods research study included 300 teachers from 100 schools throughout the United Kingdom. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participant teachers twice a year over four years and student achievement data was collected. This paper includes portraits of three resilient teachers and describes the range of internal and external protective factors which enabled them to flourish and remain effective teachers. Based on study findings mediating influences are outlined to occur within three dimensions: personal, situated (lives in school) and professional (values, beliefs). The three teachers included in the study demonstrated a sustained sense of vocation, characterised by a strong sense of self-efficacy, and this was concluded to important to the development and maintenance of resilience. They were consequently able to cope with a range of challenges and stressors in ways that enhanced their professional development.

Gu, Q., & Day, C. (2013). Challenges to teacher resilience: Conditions count. British Educational Research Journal, 39(1), 22-44.

Teacher resilience

This article reported the findings of a part of the VITAE (variations in teachers work, lives and effectiveness) project. In this study, resilience is conceptualised as an unstable construct that may be learned, acquired, or changed over time. Examining data collected from semi-structured face-to-face interviews with 300 primary and secondary teachers at 100 schools in the UK, the study found that teachers’ perceptions of resilience are dependent on not only their background and education values, but also the personal, relational and organisational conditions of their work and lives. The resilience of the majority of the participants was reported to be challenged by poor relationships with leaders and colleagues, students’ deteriorating behaviour, absence of parents’ support, changes of government policies and unexpected events in their personal lives. Apart from these factors, teachers’ resilience was also found to be influenced by the socio-economic status of the school as well as the school cultures created by the school leadership. In addition, comparing three groups of teachers, early career teachers (0–3 and 4–7 years of experience), middle career teachers (8–15 and 16–23), and late career teachers (24–30 and 31+) the study revealed that early and middle career teachers are more likely to sustain their capacity of resilience than late career teachers.

Gu, Q., & Li, Q. (2013). Sustaining resilience in times of change: Stories from Chinese teachers. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 41(3), 288-303.

Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

In this article, Gu and Li explored how 568 Chinese primary and secondary teacher sustained their resilience and commitment in the context that the Chinese government has implemented many new top-down education policies. From data collected through a questionnaire and in-depth semi-structured interviews, the authors found that the current definition of resilience as teachers’ capacity to bounce back from adversity is inadequate to describe teacher resilience. Rather, teacher resilience should be reconceptualised in a way that takes into account such factors as teachers’ sense of vocational commitment, wellbeing, efficacy, and job fulfilment. Other factors that correlated with teacher resilience included school conditions (working hours, workload, pressure and responsibility, and salary) and workplace relationships (e.g. teachers trust in the head, colleagues, students, and parents). The paper concludes by stressing that “the nature and sustainability of resilience in teachers is not innate, but influenced by individual qualities in interaction with contextual influences in which teachers’ work and lives are embedded” (p. 300).

Hastings, R. P., & Brown, T. (2002). Coping strategies and the impact of challenging behaviors on special educators' burnout. Mental Retardation, 40(2), 148-156.

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

This study examined special educators’ coping strategies when teaching mentally retarded children. Special educators in mental retardation services were maintained to face many sources of stress (e.g. challenging behaviours) that affect their well-being and lead to burnout, manifested in emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation, and lack of personal accomplishment. 55 teachers and support staff in special schools for children with mental retardation were asked to fill in self-report questionnaires assessing burnout, coping strategies for challenging behaviour, and exposure to challenging behaviour. Statistical analysis indicated there were significant correlations between teachers’ well-being and students’ challenging behaviours. Moreover, the use of maladaptive coping strategies (e.g. avoidance strategies, behavioural disengagement) did not help with resilience but could actually contribute to teachers’ burnout. As a conclusion, the article recommended that intervention strategies should be implemented to assist special education teachers and support staff to overcome stress and burnout.

Hemmings, B., & Hockley, T. (2002). Student teacher stress and coping mechanisms. Education in Rural Australia, 12(2), 25-35.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience

This mixed method study explored the main sources of stress faced by student teachers and to explore how the student teachers coped with this stress. The subjects comprised 54 Charles Sturt University student teachers undertaking a nine-week internship in a rural location. They were interviewed and asked to keep a diary to record 'critical incidents' that occurred during each day. They were also asked to complete a survey with open-ended questions concerning their coping strategies. The analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data indicated a myriad of causes of stress that the interns encountered: student behaviour, teaching roles and responsibilities, time and workload management, costs of living away from home, isolation, and meeting the expectations of others. Five categories of coping strategies were identified:

  1. communicating with others,
  2. self-help (i.e. adopt a positive attitude, believe in oneself),
  3. relaxation/recreation (watching TV, playing play-station, socialising, meditating, eating, sleeping, spending time with family, reading, sightseeing and having a bath),
  4. organisation, and
  5. teaching and managing (e.g. not leave anything unresolved for another time).

Among these coping strategies, communicating with others was identified as the most used strategy that the interns used to release and share concerns with mentors, class teachers, the principal, parents, boyfriends, and evening cleaning staff. To conclude, the researchers recommended that primary school staff members should be aware of the stressors that interns may experience, and of the fundamental role they play in reducing some of the sources of stress during the semester-long internship.

Henderson, N., & Milstein, M. (2003). Resilient students need resilient educators. In Resiliency in schools: making it happen for students and educators. (Ch 3., pp. 34-46). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Professional development | Teacher resilience

Within this book resiliency is defined as the ability to 'bounce back' and develop competence despite adverse or stressful conditions. The book parallels the development of resilience amongst students and educators, and advocates for the development of resilience promoting schools. Chapter 3 focuses on six factors that build educator resilience, including: increase bonding, set clear and consistent boundaries, teach life skills, provide caring and support, set and communicate high expectations, and provide opportunities for meaningful participation. Both individual effort and supportive environments are concluded to be necessary for the development of resilience amongst educators.

Hirschkorn, M. (2009). Student-teacher relationships and teacher induction: Ben's story. Teacher Development, 13(3), 205-217.

Beginning teachers | Professional development

This qualitative study focused on student-teacher relationships. The study followed a male student teacher in his early 30's, from the beginning of his pre-service training to the end of his first year of in-service teaching. Individual and group interviews, reflective journals and school observations are used to gather information about Ben's relational experiences. The study focused on the role played by student-teacher relationships because it is argued that this is an often-ignored aspect of teacher training and teacher induction. The researcher argued that student-teacher relationships play an important role in assisting beginning teachers to cope with the challenges and hardships of their early teaching career. It was recommended that beginning teachers be assigned a mentor, that they be encouraged and rewarded in their efforts to build positive student-teacher relationships, and that they be given more time for this to occur. The researcher also recommended that student teachers are made aware of own relationship building skills and capitalise on these in schools, since positive relationships promote teaching efficacy.

Hong, J. Y. (2012). Why do some beginning teachers leave the school, and others stay? Understanding teacher resilience through psychological lenses. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 18(4), 417-440.

Mentoring | Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

In this article, resilience is defined as “the process of, capacity for or outcome of successful adaptation despite challenging circumstances” (p. 419). Examining the factors that enabled some teachers to survive and be more competent while others left, the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with seven stayers and seven leavers. While both groups of teachers reported strong intrinsic interest in teaching the subject matter and helping the students to learn, the leavers showed weaker efficacy beliefs in handling misbehaving students and held strong beliefs about their roles as knowledge givers that led to stress and emotional burnout. The stayers, on the other hand, believed the responsibility to learn lay in the students’ hands, and set clear emotional boundaries with the students so they did not get burnt out by their problems. The study also reported different amount of guidance and scaffolding provided to stayers and leavers from school administration that added to the increase or decrease of their resilience. The article concluded with several implications and suggestions, including the provision of systematic opportunities for teachers to reflect on their internal drive; adequate and timely feedback and mentoring from experienced teachers; provision of professional development with regard to handling disruptive behaviours; provision of professional development that challenges teachers’ existing inadequate beliefs; and helping teachers to set emotional boundaries with students.

Howard, S., & Johnson, B. (2004). Resilient teachers: Resisting stress and burnout. Social Psychology of Education, 7(4), 399-420.

Teacher resilience

The study took a resilience perspective to investigating stress and burnout, in that rather than focusing on deficit (what is going wrong), the research focused on what is going well. Ten teachers were identified by their principals as (a) exposed to significant stress and (b) resilient. These 10 teachers came from 3 disadvantaged schools located in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. A qualitative methodology was adopted that involved semi-structured interviewing. Four protective characteristics of resilience were identified:

  • (a) Agency, a belief in ones ability to control a situation (this involved depersonalising oneself from and deconstructing negative events);
  • (b) A sense of ones own competence and achievements;
  • (c) Moral purpose, a desire to make a difference to students' lives and
  • (d) Strong formal and informal support networks within the schools in which they operated.

The study concluded that the identified protective characteristics are easily within the power of individual schools, education bureaucracies and teacher education faculties to provide.

Huisman, S., Singer, N. R., & Catapano, S. (2010). Resiliency to success: supporting novice urban teachers. Teacher Development: An international journal of teachers' professional development, 14(4), 483-499.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience

Urban teachers are maintained to experience multiple sources of stress that result in high turnover, namely limited resources, demands on teachers to improve children’s standardized test scores, and reduced amount of time available to teachers to apply the practices that they learned in their teacher education programs. This study is a part of a larger project funded by a $3.2 million US Department of Education Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant (2004–08) to examine factors that helped new teachers remain in challenging urban schools. In the study, resilience is defined as “the ability to adjust to situations that require adaptation and to view the situations as opportunities to continue learning, even under the most adverse of conditions” (pp. 484-485). 12 novice urban teachers who participated in a mentoring program designed to attract and retain quality urban educators were asked to reflect on their experience as a new urban teacher and their success during the first one or two years of teaching. Seven themes emerged as contributing to early career teacher resilience: significant adult relationships, mentoring others, problem-solving, hope, high expectations, sociocultural awareness, and professional development. More research was suggested to further examine teacher resiliency and success.

Hung, C. L. (2011). Coping strategies of primary school teachers in Taiwan experiencing stress because of teacher surplus. Social Behavior and Personality, 39(9), 1161-1173.

Teacher resilience

This study examined primary teachers’ stress and their coping strategies in the context of teacher surplus in Taiwan. An inventory of factors that caused teacher surplus stress and an inventory of coping strategies factors were administered to 436 full-time Central Taiwanese teachers from 35 public primary schools. The results showed that the teachers faced many sources of stress: redundancy, education reforms, increased work load, class and school cuts, student absenteeism, students with special needs, accountability for students’ academic success and a lack of support. To bounce back, they used four main coping strategies: problem solving, seeking social support, regulating emotion, and denial. Teachers under 30 years old were found to feel more stress from teacher surplus than teachers of other age groups. Furthermore, teachers with less experience (under 5 years, and from 5 to 16 years) employed denial coping strategy more than highly experienced teachers (16-25 years). These findings were maintained to be useful to guide other studies of the same topic in Taiwan.

Jarzabkowski, L. (2003). Teacher collegiality in a remote Australian school. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 18(3), 139-144.

Teacher resilience | Teaching rural/remote

Remote schools in Australia typically are required to deal with a raft of challenges including high teacher turnover, student absenteeism and limited access to educational supports such as professional learning. This paper reports on the experiences of a small remote school in Western Australia that, despite these challenges, appears to thrive. The paper posits that high levels of teacher collegiality, characterised by teachers working professionally with each other in a socially and emotionally supportive environment, may be related to better outcomes in terms of teacher satisfaction and retention. Collegiality was also said to increased teachers' resilience.

Jarzabkowski, L. M. (2002). The social dimensions of teacher collegiality. Journal of Educational Enquiry, 3(2), 1-20.

Emotions in teaching

The article used ethnographic techniques to get "up close and personal" with a small catholic primary school located in metropolitan Australia. It is argued that informal social interaction is often overlooked in studies into the cultures of schools, and that significant organisational benefits can result from healthy social interaction amongst teachers. The paper calls for the educational research community to take social interaction more seriously in the research agenda concluding that the development of strong personal relationships is a necessary pre-condition for collegiality and genuine collaboration in schools.

Jenkins, K., Smith, H., & Maxwell, T. (2009). Challenging experiences faced by beginning casual teachers: Here one day and gone the next! Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 37(1), 63-78.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher training

The article reviews the literature on casual teachers and argues that many of the strategies suggested in the literature continue to be ignored. It is suggested that the transition period from pre-service to professional teacher has significant implications for retention of teachers and for teacher educators. The authors recommend that (a) teacher education faculties should deliberately prepare students for the prospect of casual appointments and (b) that schools provide supports that facilitate greater success for casual teachers. The article provides an overview of the challenges facing beginning casual teachers. The recommendations include explicit preparation of pre-service teachers for the prospect of casual employment, and provision of "survival packs" by schools for beginning casual teachers.

Jennings, P. A., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2011). Improving classroom learning environments by Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE ): Results of two pilot studies. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 46(1), 37-48.

Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy | Teaching rural/remote

Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) indicates a professional development program aiming to reduce stress and enhance teachers’ efficacy. The purpose of this article was to examine whether CARE could improve teachers’ social-emotional skills and well-being and consequently improve their ability to develop their resilience. The article drew on the findings of two studies; the first one involved 31 educators from a high-poverty urban setting while the second one involved 33 suburban/semi-rural student teachers and 10 mentors. The participants were given questionnaires prior to and after the CARE program to assess changes in well-being, motivational orientation/efficacy, and mindfulness. Moreover, focus group conversations with the participants in study one were conducted while observations and self-reports were additional data collection methods in study two. The results indicated that the teachers in study one demonstrated improvements for pre-post intervention in well-being and found the program enjoyable and beneficial for their teaching. Overall, they were satisfied with the program due to an improvement of their classroom management skills and relationships with students. In particular, urban teachers were able to self-regulate to find balance in work and life, whereas suburban/semi-rural teachers did not report such a high level of satisfaction. Moreover, suburban/semi-rural participants did not find the intervention program very engaging or beneficial. The discrepancies in the findings suggested that CARE may be more effective in supporting teachers working in high-risk settings.

Jew, C.L., Green, K.E., & Kroger, J. (1999). Development and validation of a measure of resiliency. Measurement and Evaluation in Counselling and Development, 32(2), 75-89.

Professional development

This article outlined the results of four studies exploring "...the definition, development, revision, reliability, and validity of a self-report measure of resiliency" (p. 77). Within the study resiliency is assumed to derive from the specific beliefs of the individual (about themself, their abilities, relationships and goodness in the world), interacting with environmental stressors to determine their coping skills. The resiliency scale was primarily intended for use with children/adolescents and was tested on ninth grade students. The instrument development was based on Mrazek & Mrazek's (1987) 12 skills and abilities that resilient people use in stressful situations. For examples, information seeking, formation and utilization of relationships for survival, and decisive risk-taking. Overall, the measure would found to have reliability and validity. Three main resiliency subscales were identified: Active Skill Acquisition, Future Orientation, and Independence/Risk-Taking. Participants scoring higher on the resiliency scale were found to demonstrate better academic skills, have a higher internal locus of control, higher self-perceived competence and a wider range of coping skills. In addition, it was noted that "...resilient individuals endorse a different set of beliefs that enable them to acquire and use more effective coping skills in times of stress" (p. 87).

Johnson, B., & Down, B. (2013). Critically re-conceptualising early career teacher resilience. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 34(5), 703-715.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience

This article offers a critique of the literature of teacher resilience with regard to reductionism, hyper-individualism and normativity. As to reductionism, Johnson and Brown question the examination of resilience in relation to risk factors and protective factors, arguing that this practice reduces the complexity of the construct into concrete dependent and independent variables that examines aspects of life in isolation. As an alternative, the authors suggest that human subjectivity and human metal life as a whole should be emphasised while resilience should be studied within the broader social, political and economic context of the teaching profession. In regard to hyper-individualism, Johnson and Brown critique studies that individualises human problems and their adaptive solutions. Instead, the authors propose that researchers should step back to examine how early career teachers overcome adversity from a socio-cultural/ecological perspective. In relation to normativity, Johnson and Brown maintain that the current concept of resilience is heavily regulated by the biased norms of middle class and Western cultural values. The authors then recommended a shift in the conceptualisation of teacher resilience that steers away from such constructs as risk factors, traits, and personalities, to place the teacher in a wider context of institutional and cultural conditions, to link their ‘private troubles’ to ‘public issues’.

Johnson, B., Down, B., Le Cornu, R., Peters, J., Sullivan, A. M., Pearce, J., & Hunter, J.(2012a). Early career teachers: Stories of resilience. SA: University of South Australia. Retrieved from [accessed 11 April 2014].

Beginning teachers | Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This book was developed from the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project (2008–2012). Within the study, resilience is characterised as ‘the process of, capacity for, or outcome of successful adaptation despite challenging circumstances’ (Masten, Best & Garmezy, 1990, p. 425). The data of the project comprised 60 semi-structured interviews with early career teachers and 111 interviews with 51 school leaders. Human and computer coding were employed, which resulted in the identification of five emergent themes: relationships, school culture, teacher identity, teachers’ work, and policies and practices. The book was organised around these five themes, which can also be seen in the reference below (Johnson et al., 2012b).

Johnson, B., Down, B., Le Cornu, R., Peters, J., Sullivan, A. M., Pearce, J., & Hunter, J.(2012b). A framework of conditions supporting early career teacher (ECT) resilience. Retrieved from [accessed 11 April 2014].

Beginning teachers | Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

As a part of the ARC Linkage Grant 2008-2012, the authors developed a framework of five conditions that support early career teacher resilience. These include: policies and practices, teachers’ work, school culture, relationships and teacher identity. As regards policies and practices, it is suggested that university teacher education programs should provide pre-service teachers with relevant preparation for the career, create a smooth transition into the workforce, and provide a fair and supportive employment environment. Regarding teachers’ work, it is crucial to acknowledge the demanding nature of the profession, equip teachers with curriculum knowledge and strategies and ensure they get enough support, teaching resources and professional development opportunities. With respect to school culture, early career teachers’ resilience can be cultivated by enhancing a sense of belonging and connectedness, promoting a professional learning community, supporting their transition with formal/informal inductions, and creating a democratic working environment. The fourth factor in the framework, relationship, can be fostered by creating a sense of acceptance, well-being, professional growth, ownership and responsibility. Also, it is important that the relationships between teachers and students be central to the teaching process. The last variable in the framework of resilience condition is teacher identity. To promote this dimension, teachers should be assisted to understand the interaction between personal and professional identity, develop a sense of self-efficacy and self-worth, and engage in reflection.

Johnson, B., Down, B., Le Cornu, R., Peters, J., Sullivan, A., Pearce, J., & Hunter, J. (2010). Conditions that support early career teacher resilience. Paper presented at the Australian Teacher Education Association conference, Townsville, Queensland.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience

This conference paper drew on a longitudinal collaborative qualitative research project between the University of South Australia, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University and eight stakeholder organisations in South Australia and Western Australia. With the aim of exploring the dynamic individual, relational and contextual dimensions that promote early career teacher resilience, 59 beginning teachers and school leaders from the two states were interviewed at the beginning and end of one school year. The results highlighted five main themes that contribute to the promotion of teacher resilience: relationships, school culture, teacher identity, teachers’ work, and system policies and practices. The study is maintained to have important implications for teacher resilience research in that the five-condition framework can be used for the examination of policies, practices and resources that promote early career teacher resilience.

Johnson, S., Berg, J., & Donaldson, M. (2005). Who stays in teaching and why: A review of literature on teacher retention (Introduction & Chapter 2). The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, Cambridge: Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher training | Teacher- or self- efficacy

The introduction of this literature review on teacher retention discussed factors that influence teacher resilience. An examination of past research showed that teachers stay in teaching due to such factors as positive working conditions (e.g. resources, socio-economic state of the school), sense of self-efficacy, support from colleagues and school leaders, intrinsic rewards (the pleasure of being with children, the enjoyment of contributing to students’ learning, the love of teaching subject matter, or the chance to develop new skills) and extrinsic rewards (e.g. salary, benefits, and bonuses, public recognition for one’s accomplishments, or being chosen to take on special responsibilities). Chapter two stressed that teacher preparation programs can help pre-service teachers foster their resilience by assisting them to become confident and effective teachers, since teachers who are effective in the classroom are more likely to remain in teaching than those who are not.

Keogh, J., Garvis, S., Pendergast, D., & Diamond, P. (2012). Self-determination: Using agency, efficacy and resilience (AER) to counter novice teachers' experiences of intensification. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 37(8), 46-65.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher training | Teacher- or self- efficacy

The paper examined the effect of peer support on 16 early career teachers’ qualities of agency, efficacy and resilience (AER) throughout their first year of teaching. Qualitative analysis of their electronic conversations with their peers and practicum co-ordinator revealed the teachers built up their resilience skills from seeking help from their peers and co-ordinator. Peer support was found to assist the beginning teachers to manage difficult relationships with students, handle disruptive classroom behaviour, and enhance classroom management and control. As the beginning teachers’ competence in dealing with students increased, their AER was also reported to improve significantly. Apart from managing relationships with students, the teachers also faced challenges from the lack of support from the head of department and other teachers. However, these threats to their resilience were overcome by positive thinking of coming happy events. Moreover, by sharing experience about distressing events in dealing with parents, the beginning teachers were able to improve their communication skills and problem-solving competence, which in turn facilitated the growth of their AER. The paper concluded that peer-support during the first year of teaching enabled beginning teachers to become more self-determined and build up their sense of efficacy, which resulted in an improvement of their resilience and a sense of positive agency. The paper, therefore, suggested that peer-support mechanisms should be embedded as a fundamental element into teacher education programs to aid the promotion of agency, efficacy and resilience.

Kim, J. Y. (2009). "If at first you do not succeed:" A study of teacher resiliency in sixteen public urban elementary schools. (Doctor of Education), Loyola Marymount University, Ann Arbor. (3491101)

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This study examined urban elementary school teachers’ perceptions of significant school factors linked to teacher resiliency and also explored additional resilient factors that had not been mentioned in the resilience literature. The definition of resilience in the study was teachers’ ability to “bounce back from negative life experiences and become stronger in the process of overcoming them” (Henderson & Milstein, 2003, p. 2). It was indicated that a major problem several urban elementary schools in the United States faced was a high level of teacher attrition because of constant change, student absenteeism, and work stress. In that context, the promotion of teacher resilience was maintained to be of paramount importance. The participants of the study were 284 elementary teachers in sixteen, public urban elementary schools in two urban school districts in southern California, who were asked to complete a Likert survey that focused on six resilience factors known as collegiality/ collaboration, professional development, leadership, shared power, commitment to students, and teacher efficacy. The result showed that commitment and values and shared power were perceived as the two most significant resilient factors. Some other factors that were felt by the teachers to contribute to teacher resilience included urban school dynamics, intrinsic motivation, and community. To conclude, the researcher suggested that parent conferences, community committees, and teachers’ intrinsic motivation should be promoted to cultivate teacher resilience.

Kirk, J., & Wall, C. (2010). Resilience and loss in work identities: A narrative analysis of some retired teachers’ work-life histories. British Educational Research Journal, 36(4), 627-641.

Emotions in teaching | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

As a part of a wider project that examined the relationship between work, identity and social action, this paper looked at the role emotional labour played in the maintenance of resilience of three retired primary and secondary teachers, aged from 58-78. Semi-structured interview data illustrated the teachers’ feeling of anger, disillusionment, and dismay with the negative effects of government policy changes in relation to restructuring education in the UK during the 1970s. Through that emotional labour, resilience emerged. The teachers were asked to take up roles contrary to those that defined their career, such as teaching students who were excluded, or long-term absent, from school, or putting out fires and doing night-time duties. While being successful with the new roles, the teachers faced many teaching and non-teaching challenges, such as the lack of resources and the hassle of internal and external bureaucracy. What resulted was a sense of failure, which led to one of the participants’ early retirement. However, the sense of emotional commitment to the children significantly contributed to the teachers’ resilient qualities and made the two others stay.

Kitching, K., Morgan, M., & Leary, M. (2009). It's the little things: Exploring the importance of commonplace events for early-career teachers' motivation. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 15(1), 43-58.

Beginning teachers | Emotions in teaching | Teacher- or self- efficacy

The research explored how routine everyday positive and negative experiences impacted on teachers' motivation to teach. A small sample of 56 Irish teachers took part in 2 related studies (17 in study 1 and 39 in study 2). Study 1 involved maintenance of a diary over a two month period in 2005. 17 teachers took part in this study most of whom had between 2 and 4 years of teaching experience. Study 2 involved maintenance of a diary again for 2 months in 2005, and completion of a questionnaire. 39 teachers participated in this Study 2 most of whom had between 4-5 years teaching experience. In study 1, 7 categories of Affect Triggering Incidents (ATIs) were identified. Positive incidents revolved around student engagement, achievement and well-being; negative incidents mainly centred on classroom management and interaction with students' homes. Positive and negative incidents were found not to counteract each other. Rather they were held in constant tension. Therefore, positive feelings were not lessened by negative feelings and vice versa. The authors concluded that focusing on maximising positive incidents rather than minimising negative incidents will be more fruitful in building teachers resilience (e.g. beginning teachers working to their strengths rather than attempting to redress their weaknesses). Extrinsic recognition/rewards did not seem to matter much in either study 1 or 2.

Klusmann, U., Kunter, M., Trautwein, U., Lüdtke, O., & Baumert, J. (2008). Teachers' occupational well-being and quality of instruction: The important role of self-regulatory patterns. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(3), 702.

Emotions in teaching | Professional development

The article used quantitative techniques to identify 4 distinct teacher-types: healthy ambitious, unambitious, excessively ambitious and resigned. These teacher types were then related to some measures of instructional quality: tempo, cognitive activation, social support and classroom management. It was found that healthy ambitious teachers were more satisfied in their workplace, and more successful in the classroom on measures of tempo, cognitive activation and social support. Further, students of healthy ambitious teachers reported more positive motivational experiences. Although there are questions around the generalisability of the findings (particularly as the sub-sample – part 2 of the study – were all mathematics teachers), the research suggests that it may be useful to adopt latent profiling as an aide to negotiating appropriate professional development options.

Knight, C. (2007). Building resilience in learning managers. In Learning management: transitioning teachers for national and international change. Chapter 8: (pp. 66-74). NSW: Pearson Sprintprint.

Emotions in teaching | Professional development | Teacher resilience

Knight advocates strongly for the relevance of resilience; as a personal protective factor for educators, as a key to quality teaching, as an important skill to model and develop in students, and as an important adjunct to recent national educational policy directions in Australia (e.g., National Safe Schools Program). Learning Managers (teachers for the 21st century) are optimistic about their ability to make a difference with their students, and they foster emotional intelligence (which includes managing one's own emotions, having empathy and good social skills). Resilience is conceptualised as a 3-dimensional framework including a state (emotional & social competence and future oriented), a condition (looking for opportunities to minimise risk and enhance protective factors, etc), and a practice (promoting resilience).

Knight, C. (2007). A resilience framework: Perspectives for educators. Health Education, 107(6), 543-555.

Teacher resilience

This paper presents a theoretical framework for resilience education. According to the author, “resilience is associated with optimism and suggests we can encounter change and adversity but still find hope” (p. 543). A three-dimensional framework was suggested: resilience as a state, resilience as a condition and resilience as a practice. Resilience as a state means a set of personal characteristics associated with healthy Development. Resilience as a condition indicates the interplay between the individual and the environment. Resilience as a practice is concerned with the role of families, schools and communities in fostering resilience.

Knight, C., Balatti, J., Haase, M., & Henderson, L. (2010). Preservice teacher stressors and their reactions to those stressors: resilient responses. Paper presented at the Australian Teacher Education Association Conference, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

Mentoring | Teacher resilience | Teacher training

This study explored pre-service teachers’ perceptions of stressors and ways they mitigated those stressors to stay resilient. Within this article, resilience is characterised as “the ability to be flexible and adaptive in response to a problem, the ability to 'bounce back' after a negative experience and the ability to empathise with how others feel” (Knight, 2007a, p. 67). Data were collected from 135 pre-service teachers who were exposed to the notion of teacher resilience in a compulsory second year subject as a foundation for resilience education at James Cook University. Data collection tools comprised a survey, a written assignment on the topic of resilience, and participants’ contributions to a blog on the topic of teacher resilience. Then, data were analysed by the Knight 3-dimensional framework of resilience: resilience as a state, a condition and a practice. The result showed that the participants were concerned about several stressors that teaching would generate: their ability to manage the class, their ability to cope with the demands of the school experience, managing the workload, relationships to the School Based Teacher Educator; understanding the requirements of professional experience, relationships with the students in the class, possessing adequate teaching skills, and time management. However, they indicated they felt empowered by experienced mentors; support from their School Based Teacher Educators; support among their family and friends; but did not mention seeking support from their university lecturers. They reported that studying teacher resilience as a course unit had increased their awareness of resilience.

Lavigne, A. L. (2010). Beginning teachers who stay: How beliefs buffer the challenges of the first years of teaching. (Doctor of Philosophy), University of Arizona Ann Arbor, MI. (3412590)

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher training

This doctoral thesis explored the beliefs of beginning teachers who stayed in teaching in the first 3 to 5 years and how these beliefs buffered challenges. Data were collected from 67 K-12 teachers using several methods: classroom observation using the Tsang-Hester Observation Rubric, teacher follow-up survey, data from teacher preparation program, demographic data for University of Arizona teacher graduates collected using a University of Arizona student database system. The findings showed that positive and coherent beliefs help the teachers cope in their first five years in the profession. Added to this, staying teachers obtained a sense of personal satisfaction from student achievement and believed in the importance of preparation, planning, completion, and trying another way when encountering a challenge. As a recommendation for teacher education and induction programs, the thesis proposed that positive beliefs about students should be cultivated early in pre-service and in-service teachers.

Lavigne, A. L. (2014). Beginning teachers who stay: Beliefs about students. Teaching and Teacher Education, 39, 31-43.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience

This article examined the role of teacher beliefs about their students in making them stay in the profession. Data collected from 67 K-12 beginning teachers in the south-western United States using a 30-item Likert-scale questionnaire indicated that, despite the challenges and difficulties typically encountered by beginning teachers, the participants held positive beliefs about students that illuminate pride and participation. While other studies on beginning teachers often show that teachers focus on themselves and superficial classroom issues, this study highlighted the fact that the teachers did think about their students as evidence of positive beliefs, which resulted in their resilience and retention. The paper concluded that teacher education programs and induction programs should assist pre-service and in-service teachers to develop positive beliefs about learners to help retain and sustain beginning teachers.

Le Cornu, R. (2009). Building resilience in pre-service teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(5), 717-723

Beginning teachers | Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher training

This paper uses Jordan's model of relational resilience as a framework to discuss the professional experiences during pre-service teacher education at an Australian university. This model suggests that engagement in "mutually empathic and responsive relationships" is the key to developing resilience. Using the results of survey data, the main features of this university's "Learning Communities" model of professional experience that contribute to the development of the pre-service teachers' resilience are identified. For example, peers, mentor teachers and university mentors provide support of somewhat different types.

Le Cornu, R. (2013). Building early career teacher resilience: The role of relationships. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(4), 1-16.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience

Being a part of a larger project, the study employed the theoretical framework of relational resilience, in which teacher resilience is characterised as occurring not in the separate individual but in relationships with students, teaching colleagues, peers, family, teachers themselves, professional staff, leaders and parents. As such, resilience is discussed in relation to mutuality, empowerment and the development of courage. Through two semi-structured interviews with 60 beginning teachers and their principals, the researchers found that positive relationships provided the early career teachers with passion, pleasure, enthusiasm and fuel to sustain their career and consolidate their sense of self-worth, connection and belongingness, whereas negative relationships triggered anxiety, self-doubt, confusion and uncertainty. The article concluded by emphasising the significant role personal and professional relationships play in promoting beginning teachers’ resilience.

Leavitt, D. R. (2010). "Meek, but not weak!" A resilient black female mathematics teacher composes a purposeful life. (Doctor of Philosophy), University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Teacher resilience

This thesis investigated the life of a Black mathematics teacher who illustrated robust resilience within a hostile, racialised culture at an urban school in the United States. Within the thesis, resilience was regarded as encompassing adversity together with the "struggle and suffering [that are] involved in the process of becoming resilient" (Waxman et al., 2004, p. 39). Using interviews, life story and narrative methods, the study revealed that knowledge of content subject matter did not determine the teacher’s level of resilience. Rather, it was the teacher’s respect for and connections with students that comprised the key elements of resilience. Indeed, the teacher not only taught the students mathematics, but also allowed them to discuss a range of social concerns through moments of “stop the math”. In that way, she got to know her students as people and they knew her as a human being. The study also reported other sources of support to her resilience, which included strong support of her father and extended family. Through that, a teacher-as-a-human-being framework of resilience was developed. As a conclusion, the researcher emphasised that careful screening should be conducted to admit suitable teaching candidates to teacher education programs.

Leroux, M., & Théorêt, M. (2014). Intriguing empirical relations between teachers’ resilience and reflection on practice. Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives. doi: 10.1080/14623943.2014.900009

Teacher resilience | Teacher training | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This article drew on a doctoral study that examined the association between teachers’ resilience and their re?ection on practice. In the paper, resilience is conceptualized as “tak[ing] stress as a challenge and try[ing] to improve professionally” (p. 1). Another important construct explored by the paper was teacher reflection, defined as an “active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends” (Dewey, 1933, p. 9). The participants of the study were twenty-three elementary teachers from seven high-poverty schools with experience varying from under six years to more than 15 years. They were asked to keep a daily stress diary in four consecutive weeks, complete a 38-item Web questionnaire on the quality of working life (Quality of Working Life Systemic Inventory), and participate in a 90-minute semi-structured interview to identify the perceived risk and protective factors as well as their reflection. The results indicated that most teachers experienced a high level of stress during the four weeks of study, feeling unsatisfied with their income security, relationship with their leaders, workload, physical requirements, resources and clarity of role. In the face of adversity, some protective factors were identified: good relationships with colleagues, pupils and parents. However, the most important protective factor that helped the teachers bounce back was their professional abilities and competences. With regard to teacher reflection, the data showed that some teachers relied on external factors (e.g. colleagues and leaders), some on internal factors (e.g. behaviours, competences and beliefs) while others on both to find solutions to their problems. Irrespective of the methods, it was found reflective attitudes played a fundamental role in fostering teacher resilience, helping teachers explore their problems and come up with appropriate strategies, especially in underprivileged contexts. The study suggested that pre-service and in-service teachers should be given opportunities to self-question and reflect in order to nurture their problem-solving skills. Through the results, the study also developed an integrated model of resilience and re?ection.

Leroux, M., Théorêt, M., & Garon, R. (2010). Exploration of the Relations between teacher resilience and Teacher Reflection in Inner-City Schools. Paper presented at the 2010 AERA Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado.

Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This paper aimed at exploring the relations between teacher resilience and reflection. The study cited Masten, Best and Garmezy’s (1990) definition of resilience: “resilience refers to the process of, capacity for, or outcome of successful adaptation despite challenging or threatening circumstances” (p. 425). In this mixed method research design, 23 teachers from underprivileged elementary inner-city schools were asked to complete a Web questionnaire on quality of working life; after that, each teacher was interviewed for 90 minutes. The results showed that the teachers faced challenging working conditions, with three sources of stress identified: heavy workload, lack of time to do the work and hard class management. In the face of such adversities, there were four resilience profiles among the teachers who drew on two dominant protective factors, professional abilities and competences. The resilient teachers were also found to possess problem-solving skills as well as a sense of self-efficacy. Moreover, the data indicated that teacher resilience and reflection could be related. To conclude the paper, the researchers maintained that teacher empowerment and professional development should be given more attention to promote teacher resilience.

Luther, S., Cicchetti, D. and Becker, B. (2000). The construct of resilience: A critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child Development. 2000: 71.3 543 – 562

Teacher resilience

This paper evaluated the resilience literature from a critical perspective and provides an historical overview of the construct of resilience. The authors noted the ambiguities in various definitions in the literature and called for much greater precision in use of terminology. They also note Masten’s (1994) recommendation that competence despite adversity be referred to as the term resilience and never resiliency – which carries misleading connotation of a discrete personal attribute. Their review of the literature focused on: definitions and use of terminology and the multidimensional: e.g. educational resilience, career resilience, emotional resilience. The authors questioned the robustness of much of the evidence on resilience in particular with regard to subjective and unquestioned perceptions of such notions as “risk”. They also raised concerns that too much of the research is empirical and not theory based. The authors argued for the need to enhance the scientific rigor of the field and to shift toward development of strategies. Finally they caution against resilience work becoming fashionable and therefore unquestioned.

Mackenzie, S. (2012). I can’t imagine doing anything else: Why do teachers of children with SEN remain in the profession? Resilience, rewards and realism over time. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 12(3), 151–161.

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

This article investigated why teachers of children with special educational needs (SEN) stayed in the profession. Semi-structured interviews and focus-group narratives with 19 teachers, who had 15 years or more experience, revealed that most participants indicated a high level of resilience and a profound commitment to working with children with SEN children. Three groups of factors, situated, professional as well as personal factors, were found attributable to the participants’ resilience. While they constantly faced the intellectual challenge of working with children with SEN, most reported that the rewards of the job were so great they would not want to do anything else. In addition, the participants reported a variety of positive and emotion-charged teaching events that built their sense of resilience. However, not all respondents had ideal reasons for staying. Some practical factors such as lack of opportunities, money, health, holidays, parenthood, and caring enabled the teachers to maintain their motivation and made them stay.

Malcom, L. A. C. (2007). Beginning teachers, resilience and retention. (Doctor of Philosophy), Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.

Beginning teachers | Professional development | Teacher resilience

This thesis examined how beginning teachers with one, three or five years of teaching developed resilience and whether their resilience influenced their retention. Resilience is characterised as “an individuals’ ability to adjust and adapt to changes, demands, and disappointments that come up in the course of life” (Morris, 2002). The study involved 14 teachers nominated by their colleagues as being resilient. Data were collected from multiple sources, namely nomination forms, semi-structured interviews, critical incident analysis, electronic journals and field notes. The analyses showed that factors that contributed to teacher resilience comprised personal attributes (building of positive relationships, humour, positive attitude, sense of purpose, faith, initiative and creativity) and environmental factors (interactions, freedom to try new ideas, supportive colleagues, mentoring, and professional development). Several resilience strategies were identified, including seeking out positive relationships and recognising and accepting offers of friendship from colleagues, having a sense of purpose, creating positive support systems, acknowledging their strengths and trying to improve their weaknesses, seeking out good mentors, being reflective and considering multiple choices. To conclude, the researcher argued that it is important for teachers and administrators to understand resilience and its cultivation. It was also contended that positive relationships and collegiality need to be promoted to build resilience.

Malloy, W.W., & Allen, T. (2007). Teacher retention in a teacher resiliency-building rural school. Rural Educator, 28(2), 19-27

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition | Teaching rural/remote

This paper examines the resiliency building culture of a rural US school with high teacher retention, high student achievement and a reputation for being a nurturing school in which to work. Surveys and teacher interviews as well as analysis of archival data were used. The resiliency-building steps were: caring and support, setting and communicating high expectations and providing opportunities for meaningful participation."

Mansfield, C. F., Beltman, S., Price, A., & McConney, A. (2012). "Don’t sweat the small stuff:" Understanding teacher resilience at the chalkface. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28, 357-367.

Beginning teachers | Emotions in teaching | Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher training

This study explored graduating and early career teachers’ perceptions of teacher resilience. Within the study, resilience was argued to involve “dynamic processes that are the result of interaction over time between a person and the environment and is evidenced by how individuals respond to challenging or adverse situations” (p. 358). A survey with such constructs as teacher efficacy, motivational goals for teaching, self-perceived competence and satisfaction with teacher preparation program was administered to 259 graduating and early career teachers. The response rate was 77%. The analysis of the content and emerging themes indicated the multi-dimensional nature and complexity of resilience. The participants perceived resilience as a process of development happening over time and as a combination of motivational, professional, emotional and social strengths. From that, a four dimensional framework of teacher resilience was proposed. The data also highlighted the significance of both the individual and the context in cultivating teacher resilience. The article concluded with a number of implications for teacher education, e.g. emotional development, professional development materials for building teacher resilience, and a multidimensional approach for resilience building.

Manuel, J. (2003). 'Such are the ambitions of youth': Exploring issues of retention and attrition of early career teachers in New South Wales. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 31(2), 139-151.

Beginning teachers | Professional development | Teacher retention/attrition

This longitudinal study tracks the experiences of six NSW teachers in their first five years of working – from 'novice' to 'master' teacher. The paper outlines current issues in teacher retention and different ways of describing phases of teacher development. It suggests various strategies for supporting new teachers and recommends increased links between teacher preparation programs, employing bodies and individual schools so new teachers can access a range of types of support according to their needs.

Margolis, J. (2008). What will keep today's teachers teaching? Looking for a hook as a new career cycle emerges. Teachers College Record 110(1), 160–194

Mentoring | Professional development | Teacher retention/attrition

This paper reports findings from a one year qualitative study in the US. It proposes that teachers with 4-6 years experience are ideally placed to become mentor teachers to students as they are looking for new roles and to regenerate their own enthusiasm. The study interviewed 7 teachers and provided them with workshops and a web based discussion board which enabled them to support each other.

McCormack, A., & Thomas, K. (2005). The reality of uncertainty: The plight of casual beginning teachers. Change: Transformations in Education, 8(1), 17-31

Beginning teachers | Professional development | Teacher retention/attrition

These authors present the findings of surveys and focus groups with new graduates from a range of teacher education programs at a NSW university who were working as casual teachers. They also interviewed employers and university staff. A large proportion (about one third) of graduates worked as casuals and experienced a lack of formal induction and support, difficulties with classroom management and with using work devised by other teachers. They relied on their own informal networks such as other ex-students for support. Recommendations are made for pre-service preparation for this role, and for support by employers and schools.

McCusker, M. L. (2009). Supporting resilient teachers: Resiliency and dynamic leadership in special education teacher retention. (Doctor of Education), Arizona State University. (3360607)

Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

This thesis explored an operational definition of teacher resilience and the role of leadership in fostering teacher resilience in special education. Within the thesis, resilient special education teachers were contended to use their "energy productively to achieve school goals in the face of adverse conditions" (Patterson, Collins & Abbot, 2004, p. 3). The participants of the study were two special education teachers. Data were collected from interviews, analysis of critical incidences, and member checks, as well as evaluation of the effectiveness and usefulness of the interview process and dynamic leadership actions. The analysis of the data revealed that the participating teachers recovered from adversities successfully due to the recognition that their special education students needed them and that what they did was important to their students. The teachers also reported they were able to maintain their resilience due to the support from professional development, administration and school leadership. From these findings, an operation definition of teacher resilience was proposed as comprising multiple subthemes, such as optimism, adaptability, courage, emotional intelligence, fragility and emotional stamina. Moreover, resilience was conceptualised as a continuum, which relates to stress and vulnerabilities. The study was argued to have two important implications for future research and actions. First, teachers should frequently evaluate their own resilience to thrust themselves into a positive resilient mindset. Second, school and district administrators should use appropriate relational leadership strategies to support special education teacher resilience to increase retention.

Meister, D. G., & Ahrens, P. (2011). Resisting plateauing: Four veteran teachers’ stories. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 770-778.

Mentoring | Professional development | Teacher resilience

This article explored factors that kept four veteran teachers from plateauing and helped them maintain their enthusiasm for over than 20 years. Data were collected from interviews where teachers were encouraged to reflect on their career history and career development. Data analysed by open coding and axial coding revealed that all participants experienced periods of frustration through their career life cycles. However, they managed to rekindle their passion about teaching due to supportive leaders (e.g. department supervisors, principals and administrators), student affirmation and external support system (e.g. networking with their colleagues; support from family and friends). As a conclusion, the article proposed that administrators should be aware of the career cycles of teachers and find ways to support resiliency. Moreover, it was argued that mentors and professional development opportunities play a crucial role in cultivating teacher resilience.

Merrill, M. (2013). Teacher resilience in high-poverty schools: How do high-quality teachers become resilient? (Doctor of Education), University of California, Los Angeles.

Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

Drawing on Brunetti’s (2006) conceptualisation of resilience as an internal, personal construct that refers to the ability of teachers to “maintain their commitment to teaching and their teaching practices despite challenging conditions and setbacks” (p. 813), this thesis aimed at understanding how high-quality teachers became resilient when teaching in high-poverty schools. The study was maintained to contribute to the resilience literature by targeting at a special group of participants: high-ability college-graduates who have no prior background or preparation in education and who initially agreed on only a two-year teaching commitment through Teach For America (TFA). Data were collected through two phases: first, 72 former TFA corps members were surveyed by an Internet-based questionnaire; second, 14 teachers and 9 former teachers were interviewed. The results indicated that the most common reason veteran teachers left the profession was burnout. Moreover, many challenges the educators in the study confronted included low salary and benefits, not well-regarded by the society, and absence of administrative support. For teachers who stayed, they felt it was adults who were to blame for the failure of the public education system, not the students. They reported deriving the main source of resilience from the positive impact they had on their students, their commitment to teaching, and support from like-minded colleagues and community. They also said that their resilience was enhanced by the ability to take on multiple roles, e.g. involving in athletics, curriculum development, school improvement efforts, and teacher fellowships. The study had two recommendations for practice. First, teachers should be encouraged to take on multiple roles in the school to foster their resilience. Second, teachers should be offered opportunities for professional growth through connections with their students and their colleagues.

Moore, R. (2013). Pedagogical stressors and coping strategies for bolstering teacher resilience. (Doctor of Education), Walden University, Ann Arbor.

Mentoring | Teacher resilience

This study investigated the resilience approaches used by K-12 public school teachers to overcome emotional exhaustion related to their profession. teacher resilience indicates “the enabling internal characteristic invoked by teachers to maintain their commitment to teaching or a process of development that occurs over time involving the ability to adjust to varied situations and increase their competence in the face of adverse conditions or the capacity of teachers to successfully overcome personal vulnerabilities and environmental stressors” (Mansfield et al., 2012, p. 358). The study adopted a hermeneutic phenomenology research design together with a cross-sectional 14 question Internet survey instrument which was administered to ten K-12 school teachers. The data analysis showed that student misbehaviour comprised the main source of teacher stress, followed by excessive workloads and long work hours. To recover from these adverse factors, the teachers employed the coping strategies of spiritual/religious beliefs, humour, and help from others. As a recommendation, the thesis stressed that resiliency training, positive peer collaboration and mentoring should be implemented to help teachers recover from work-related stress, as well as promote their well-being, retention and career longevity.

Moren, T. L. (2004). Expanding elementary school teaches' resiliency for change. (Doctor of Education), University of La Verne, La Verne, California. (3123129)

Professional development | Teacher resilience

This thesis study aimed at determining the concepts and behaviours used by elementary school principals and teachers that expand elementary teachers’ resiliency for change. Resilience is characterised as “the capacity to spring back, rebound, successfully adapt in the face of adversity, and develop social, academic, and vocational competence despite exposure to severe stress or simply to the stress that is inherent in today's world" (Henderson & Milstein 1996, 7). 12 principals and 24 teachers, 40 per cent of whom had more than twenty years’ experience, were asked to complete a questionnaire developed based on a comprehensive review of the literature on resiliency. The data analysis showed that the principals indicated eight of the nine resiliency concepts found in the literature were important for fostering significant educational change. Moreover, factors such as "sense of responsibility among stakeholders”, "motivation among staff”, "curriculum and instructional programs", "relationships among stakeholders" and "community building efforts" were identified as important concepts for expanding resiliency for change among elementary school teachers. As a conclusion, the author proposed that principals should recognize their strengths related to promoting their teachers’ resilience, and that professional development should include resiliency factor discussions to promote an understanding of the psychological constructs relating to resilience.

Morgan, M. (2011). Resilience and recurring adverse events: testing an assets-based model of beginning teachers’ experiences. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 32(3-4), 92-104.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience

This article drew on two empirical studies to examine the factors that foster beginning teachers’ resilience. In the first study, the analysis of 80 beginning teachers’ responses to an open-ended questionnaire indicated three main assets that facilitated the teachers’ resilience: personal strengths (commitment to teaching), social support (support of colleagues and support from outside school) and coping skills. Among these three factors, coping strategies were the most frequently mentioned. The findings of the first study were then used to inform the questionnaire for the second study, which was administered to 408 teachers. The result of the second study supported an assets-based model of resilience. Based on the results of the two studies, the author suggested that the assets model has important implications for understanding interventions that address teachers’ capacity to recover from adversity, and that, instead of trying to reduce the level of stress at the workplace, an assets approach may be more beneficial for early career teachers.

Morgan, M., Ludlow, L., Kitching, K., O'Leary, M., & Clarke, A. (2010). What makes teachers tick? Sustaining events in new teachers' lives. British Educational Research Association, 36(2), pp. 191-208.

Beginning teachers | Emotions in teaching

This article outlines research conducted with 700 beginning primary school teachers in Ireland and focuses on day-to-day affective experiences that motivate them or create obstacles for them. The impact of these experiences on teacher efficacy (which influences persistence and resilience) and commitment to teaching are explored through a survey designed to measure the affective significance of recurring events (positive and negative) on teachers' lives (including their frequency, intensity and proximity). Findings from the research indicate that the presence or absence of positive experiences have a stronger impact on teacher efficacy than negative experiences. In addition, the frequency of experiences (at the local level) is a stronger influence than their intensity. Therefore, it is concluded that removing negative experiences is not enough to promote the commitment and efficacy of early career teachers since frequent positive experiences (such as positive relationships with students) are far more influential.

Muller, S. M., Gorrow, T. R., & Fiala, K. A.. (2011). Considering protective factors as a tool for teacher resiliency. Education, 131(3), 545-555.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

In this article, resilience, defined as teachers’ capacity to adjust to adverse working conditions, is maintained to be an important element to promote teacher retention. To foster teacher resilience, the researchers argued that it is crucial to identify fundamental protective factors. With the aim of examining six protective factors identified by Henderson (2003) (purpose and expectation; nurture and support; positive connections; meaningful participation; life guiding skills; and clear and consistent boundaries), 92 pre-service teachers, 66 new teachers (1-5 years of experience), 55 experienced teachers (6-10 years), and 126 veteran teachers were asked to complete a 34-item five-point Likert-scale survey. The findings indicated that, while six factors in Henderson’s model were contended to make an equal contribution to the establishment of teacher resilience, the current study found they were unequally associated with teacher resilience. In addition, although all factors suggested by Henderson (2003) were proved to be present, items proposed to represent certain protective factors (e.g. clear and consistent boundaries) were found to be invalid and had to be renamed. The study also highlighted the importance of positive relationships and interactions with colleagues as well as knowing how to fit into the workplace culture and school structure in helping teachers withstand adversity. As a conclusion, the researchers suggested that schools should introduce social networking into school settings (e.g. by creating social networking sites for teachers) to encourage teacher interaction. Moreover, the protective factors verified in the study can be used by school administrators to promote teacher resilience.

Olsen, B., & Anderson, L. (2007). Courses of action: A qualitative investigation into urban teacher retention and career development. Urban Education, 42(1), 5-29

Mentoring | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher training

Olsen and Anderson interviewed 15 early career teachers in urban schools. While all were still committed to improving urban education, some planned to stay as teachers, some were uncertain about their future and others planned to shift into other related roles. Factors related to staying were administrative support, mentoring, opportunities for taking on multiple roles, and the presence of friends or like-minded peers. Lack of support and family pressure to leave teaching were negative pressures for retention. Implications for schools and teacher education institutions are discussed.

O'Neal, M.P. (1999). Measuring resilience. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, Point Clear, AL, November 17-19.

Teacher resilience

This article reviewed several measures of resilience or hardiness including "...information on the origins, description and uses, and the psychometric properties of each measure" (p. 2). Personal Views Survey III (Kobasa, 1979a, 1979b). A hardiness measure including the three components of commitment, control and challenge. Designed for adults of any age. Cognitive Hardiness Scale (Nowack, 1989). Measures involvement, challenge and control and is based on Kobasa's hardiness measure (with improvements). Used with adults including students. Psychological Hardiness Scale (Younkin & Betz, 1996). A unidimensional instrument designed to measure hardiness directly (improves Kosaba's instruments). Used with university students. Resilience Scale (Wagnild & Young, 1993). Includes five components: equanimity, perseverance, self-reliance, meaningfulness, and existential aloneness. Used with a range of adults. Resiliency Scale (Jew, Green & Kroger, 1999). See reference within the annotated bibliography. Personal Resilience Questionnaire and Organizational Resilience Questionnaire Conner (1993). Based on the idea that resilient people are positive, focused, flexible, organized, and proactive. Used in an education setting with teachers (amongst others). Family Hardiness Index (McCubbin, Thompson, & MCubbin, 1996). Based on Kobasa's hardiness scale using the components of commitment, control, and challenge. Used with caregivers and parents amongst others.

O'Sullivan, M. (2006). Professional lives of Irish physical education teachers: Stories of resilience, respect and resignation. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 11(3), 265-284

Professional development | Teacher resilience

O'Sullivan used a life history approach to examine the professional experiences of veteran Irish Physical Education teachers. Themes included resilience with the use of coping strategies, developing respect for the subject and the teacher, and the need for professional support such as PD by employers and local support from the school and community.

Oswald, M., Johnson, B., & Howard, S. (2003). Quantifying and evaluating resilience-promoting factors: Teachers' beliefs and perceived roles. Research in Education(70), 50

Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

These researchers identified from the literature five key protective factors in family, schools, community, peers and individual child's predispositions. These were combined with eight key qualities identified in literature as comprising a profile of resilient child to develop a questionnaire that also included 18 questions from a previous study relating to strategies to promote resilience. Australian teachers from different levels of schooling were asked what they believed to be the most potent protective factors for their students' resilience and were asked what strategies they used in their classrooms to foster resilience. There were some differences between teachers of different genders and teaching at different levels of schooling. In general, teachers tended to undervalue the potential and actual role they could have in promoting resilience in their students who were at risk.

Painter, R. L. (2013). Characteristics of resiliency development and adult learning: Examining teacher perspective through narrative inquiry. (Doctor of Education), Regent University. (3573596)

Mentoring | Professional development | Teacher resilience

This thesis explored how the relationship between resiliency and adult learning influenced professional development in one suburban-rural school district in Litchfield County, Connecticut. Within the thesis, resilience was viewed as “a process that occurs over time in relation to personal and environmental conditions” (p. 3). Using a narrative design, six high school teachers were involved in in-depth flexible but structured interviews that elicited stories. Through the data, characteristics of personal and administrative effectiveness for resiliency and adult learning were identified. Traits of personal effectiveness included self-awareness, problem solving, optimism, reflection, leadership, and sense of purpose, whilst traits of administrative effectiveness comprised responsiveness, mentorship, and culture of learning. These characteristics were found to enable the teachers to confront work-related challenges effectively, and thus sustain their resilience. The researcher concluded by proposing that administrators should be aware of teachers’ experience and perceptions of resilience to help them stay enthusiastic in the classroom. Moreover, teacher resilience is more likely to be cultivated if teachers are involved in professional development that shows them how to respond positively to challenges.

Papatraianou, L. H., & Le Cornu, R. (2014). Problematising the role of personal and professional relationships in early career teacher resilience. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(1), 100-116.

Beginning teachers | Emotions in teaching | Teacher resilience | Teacher training

Drawing on two qualitative studies, one of which was funded by the Australian Research Council, the article explored how different forms of informal support provided to teachers by their ‘personal’ and ‘professional’ relationships contribute to the sustainability of resilience. With data collected from semi-structured interviews, open-ended interviews, an online survey, and the development of a social networking site to gather teachers’ reflections on their everyday experiences, the researchers found that teachers’ informal significant relationships with colleagues, leaders, support staff, students, parents of students and family and friends appeared to play a significant role in sustaining resilience. Seven types of support afforded by these relationships were reported:

  1. Listening support;
  2. Emotional support;
  3. Tangible assistance;
  4. Task appreciation;
  5. Reality confirmation;
  6. Emotional challenge; and
  7. Task challenge.

The article concluded with several suggestions for future research and action: the need to explore the role that different types of support play in promoting teacher resilience; gender differences in resilience; the need to promote informal staff interaction; the provision of informal support and learning opportunities for early career teachers; and the development of elements in teacher education programs to help student teacher develop strong supportive networks.

Patterson, J. H., Collins, L., & Abbott, G. (2004). A study of teacher resilience in urban schools. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 31(1), 3-11

Mentoring | Professional development | Teacher resilience

These authors interviewed teachers and teacher leaders who have succeeded in challenging urban schools. The reported nine key findings that have particular implications for school administrators. Resilient teachers have a set of personal values that guide their decision making, including placing a high premium on professional development and providing mentoring to others. These teachers were seen to be proactive individuals who take charge, stay focused on their students' learning and do whatever it takes to help their children succeed. Resilient teachers have supportive friends and colleagues, are willing to explore new ideas, and know when to get involved and when to let go.

Pearce, J., & Morrison, C. (2011). Teacher identity and early career resilience: Exploring the links. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(1), 48-59.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience

This article is a part of a project that involves three Australian universities and eight industry partners. In this paper, resilience is defined as a process, not an outcome, which is located within the wider social, cultural, political and relational contexts of the teaching profession. Data collected from interviews with 60 early career teachers showed that beginning teachers’ conscious engagement in the construction of professional identities can have a positive impact on the development of resilience. By engaging in professional conversations with teaching and non-teaching colleagues, interactions with peers and others about teaching, exchanges with students and students’ parents, the beginning teacher’s identity is shaped and strengthened, which in turn enhances his/her ability to cope with negative experiences to become more resilient.

Peterman, F. P. (2005). Resiliency, resistance and persistence to be an urban teacher: Creating standards that respond to the context of knowledge construction and learning to teach about teaching. In D. B. e. al. (Ed.), Teacher professional development in changing conditions (pp. 309-329). The Netherlands: Springer.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience

This book chapter presented the results of a study of new teachers’ reflections upon urban teaching. The participants were 11 graduates who (a) had demonstrated skill and commitment to urban teaching while enrolled in the MUST (Masters of Urban Secondary Teaching) program (b) taught in an urban school for one to three years, and (c) were recognized by faculty, colleagues, and peers as an exemplary urban teacher. Data collected from the participants’ reflections and interviews showed that during the first few years of teaching in urban schools, the teachers experienced many adverse conditions: the cultural incongruence among themselves and their colleagues, their students, and their parents; their limited knowledge of the community, its resources, and how to understand and access them; their students’ special needs; the challenge of addressing linguistic differences; violence, bureaucracy and poverty typical to American urban communities. However, the teachers resorted to their teacher identity, relationships, coming to know their students, parents, colleagues as well as coming to know themselves in order to cope and thrive in the face of hardship. In other words, it was their resiliency, resistance, and persistence that helped the urban teachers respond successfully to the challenges of their teaching profession.

Peters, J., & Pearce, J. (2012). Relationships and early career teacher resilience: A role for school principals. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 18(2), 249-262.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

The article reported the findings of a part of a longitudinal study (2008-2012) funded by the Australian Research Council and industry partners. It concerns the role principals play in promoting early career teachers’ resilience, which is conceptualised with regard to the broader social, economic and political contexts. Data collected from school leaders and first year teachers from 59 primary and secondary schools across two states in Australia indicated that, with support from the school principals, the beginning teachers found teaching enjoyable and rewarding. On the other hand, the lack of appropriate support was reported to add to beginning teachers’ sense of incompetence, as well as create a feeling of isolation and alienation, which eventually resulted in the teachers’ decision to leave the school after a short period of working. The findings consolidate the crucial role principals play in fostering early career teachers’ resilience and retention.

Pocinho, M., & Capelo, M. R. (2009).Vulnerabilidade ao stress, estratégias de coping e autoeficácia em professores portugueses [Vulnerability to stress, coping strategies and self-efficiency among Portuguese teachers]. Educação e Pesquisa, 35, 351-367. DOI: 10.1590/S1517-97022009000200009

Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

Translated abstract – In this work we present a research carried out on teachers to determine their vulnerability to stress, to identify the main sources of stress, to recognize teachers' main coping strategies, to analyze whether such strategies affect the presence of stress at work, and to establish whether the self-efficiency perceived can be used to predict work stress. This is a correlational questionnaire-based research performed on a 54-teacher sample from Portugal's public basic education schools. The answers to the Social, Demographic and Professional Questionnaire, to the Stress Vulnerability Questionnaire — 23QVS (Serra, 2000), to the Teacher Stress Questionnaire — QSP (Gomes et al., 2006; Gomes, 2007), to the Coping Job Scale — CJS (Latack, adapted by Jesus and Pereira, 1994) and to the General Self-efficiency Assessment Scale (Ribeiro, 1995) revealed that 20.4% of teachers are vulnerable to stress. The study shows that the main sources of stress are found in students' lack of discipline or misbehaviour, and that control strategies are the most common to deal with stress, followed by escape strategies and symptom management. Teachers not vulnerable to stress use mainly control strategies and they display higher efficacy levels under adversity, as well as more initiative and perseverance than the teachers that are vulnerable to stress.

Pretsch, J., Flunger, B., & Schmitt, M. (2012). Resilience predicts well-being in teachers, but not in non-teaching employees. Social Psychology of Education, 15, 321-336.

Teacher resilience

Framed from a psychological perspective, the study set out to explore whether resilience is an important predictor of teachers’ well-being. Psychological resilience is maintained to be fundamental for teachers because they are constantly exposed to a variety of stressors such as high workload and large class sizes, conflicting demands, lack of recognition, poor physical environment (e.g., noise), lack of decision-making power, and students’ misbehaviour, over which they have little control. 170 teachers and 183 non-teaching employees were asked to self-report their resilience, neuroticism (i.e. vulnerability to stress and negative affectivity), and well-being on the 11-item Resilience Scale. Data analysis showed that resilience correlated with teachers’ well-being, but not non-teaching professionals. Moreover, teachers with more years of employment were found to experience more exhaustion and physical illness than teachers with less working experience.

Price, A., Mansfield, C., & McConney, A. (2012). Considering ‘teacher resilience’ from critical discourse and labour process theory perspectives. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 33(1), 81-95.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher training | Teacher- or self- efficacy

In this paper, resilience development among early career teachers is discussed as a measure to address the issue of high teacher attrition rate in Australian schools. The views presented in the paper originated from the professional conversations in which the authors engaged as they reviewed the literature of teacher resilience for the Keeping Cool project (2009). Factors that constitute teacher resilience, such as altruism, self-efficacy, confidence and coping strategies, were mentioned, while the relationship between teacher identity and resilience was also discussed. Added to this, a significant proportion of the paper was devoted to the analysis of contextual factors such as risk factors and protective factors that affect resilience. Finally, the paper concluded with a discussion of resilience implications for pre-service teacher education.

Prilik, B. S. (2007). Resiliency in public school teachers of students with emotional disabilities. (Doctor of Education), University of Northern Colorado, Ann Arbor. (3280267)

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

This study explored the resilience of teachers of students with emotional disabilities. In the study, resilience is characterised as “the presence of protective factors or processes that moderate the relationship between stress and risk, on the one hand, and coping or competence, on the other” (Smith & Carlson, 1997, p. 236). 12 teachers, 9 females and 3 males with teaching experience ranging between 6 years and 30 years teaching students with emotional disabilities were involved in 12 in-depth individual interviews and 2 separate focus group interviews. The results showed that the participants in the study represented a high burnout population, facing a multitude of stressors, namely students’ high level of needs, violent and aggressive behaviours, a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, a lack of support from administrators and colleagues, excessive amount of paper work and overwhelming responsibilities. However, the teacher proactively developed their own protective mechanisms: taking care of themselves mentally and physically, separating work from personal life, developing a strong network of support at work, participating in counselling, using of anti-anxiety medication, and talking to family and friends. As a conclusion, the researcher maintained that action strategies may be a promising approach that should be investigated to increase teacher resilience and retention.

Prosser, B. (2008). The role of the personal domain in middle years teachers' work. Australian Journal of Middle Schooling, 8(2), 11-16

Emotions in teaching | Teacher retention/attrition

Prosser presents a case study of three experienced South Australian middle school teachers. The focus is on the 'emotional labour' of their work and the implications of this for individuals, employers, the community and pre-service teaching courses.

Richards, J. (2012). Teacher stress and coping strategies: A national snapshot. The Educational Forum, 76, 299-316.

Teacher resilience

In this large-scale study of teacher resilience, 1,201 K-12 teachers participated in the national survey in the US that explored teacher stress and coping strategies using an instrument adapted from the Teacher Stress Inventory and the Coping Scale for Adults. The analysis of the data showed that teachers faced multiple sources of stress: teaching needy students without adequate support, too many duties and responsibilities, lack of control over school decisions, unmotivated students, pressure of being accountable, little time to relax and large class sizes. As a result, teachers felt exhausted, anxious, depressed, unenthusiastic, overwhelmed with what was expected of them as teachers, and worried about their job security. To sustain themselves, they resorted to such coping strategies as holding positive attitudes, using humour, saving time for solitude, reflection, and hobbies. They also turned to family and friends for mental support. Some reported using substances (e.g. alcohol) to forget work stress. As a conclusion, the article proposed several solutions to help teachers enhance their coping capacity, e.g. making time for themselves, making time for exercise, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet, practising solitude and meditation, nurturing a positive attitude and letting go of things that go out of control.

Romi, S., Lewis, R., & Roache, J. (2013). Classroom management and teachers’ coping strategies: Inside classrooms in Australia, China and Israel. Prospects, 43, 215–231.

Teacher resilience

This article reported the relationships between the classroom management techniques and coping styles of Australian teachers apply in two settings: China and Israel. Classroom management issues and student misbehaviour were argued to be the most persistent sources of teacher stress, which demand appropriate coping strategies. Coping is defined as “the cognitive and affective responses an individual uses to deal with problems encountered in everyday life” (p. 217). A questionnaire and a short form of the Coping Scale for Adults were administered to 772 teachers from a range of schools in Australia, China, and Israel. Statistical analyses revealed significant relationships between teachers’ coping strategies and their choice of classroom-management techniques. In Australia and Israel, the use of more productive management techniques is generally related to the coping strategies while in China, coping styles are associated with the use of aggression and punishment. As a recommendation, the authors proposed that classroom intervention strategies have to be tailored to local needs with consideration given to different coping styles.

Rourke, J. (2010). The power of paradox: How high school teachers perceive the navigation of paradox influencing teacher resiliency and student motivation. (Doctor of Education), Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island. (3402120)

Professional development | Teacher resilience

This qualitative study examined the problems of student motivation and teacher resiliency using Palmer’s (1998) theoretical framework. It was argued that teachers feel resilient when their work is recognised and supported by administrators and parents. According to Palmer (1998), teachers possess a sense of self that depends and does not depend on the opinions of others, which is a paradox investigated in this study. Ten purposefully selected high school teachers in south-eastern, Connecticut, in various stages of their careers and from various disciplines were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews to discuss their perceptions of teacher resiliency and student motivation. The results indicated that maintaining the hospitable and “charged” classroom was the most significant factor to bring satisfaction to teachers, providing them a foundation for resilience and motivating students. Another important factor that kept the teachers interested, enthused and resilient was the maintenance of a classroom that was bounded and open. As a recommendation, the researcher contended that teachers should be involved in professional development that introduces them to new ideas so that their enthusiasm about teaching can be sustained.

Ruiz-Mock, M. (2007). Female school leadership, educator resilience strategies, and student outcomes in an English primary school. (Doctor of Education), University of Phoenix.

Professional development | Teacher resilience

This qualitative case study examined strategies used by teachers, teacher leaders, and school leaders to enhance individual and collective resilience. Resilience was characterised as an individual’s capability to adjust to demanding and tense circumstances (Bernshausen & Cunningham, 2001). Resilient individuals were argued to evolve from experienced changes and develop new strategies to overcome changes, instead of simply recuperating (Richardson, 2002). The participants in the study comprised six teachers, three teacher leaders, and three school leaders of a small primary school in the inner-city section of a large metropolitan English city. Data were collected from open-ended electronic questionnaires and Resilient Teacher Interview Protocol. The findings showed that the teachers perceived that teaching was a hard job; 83% of teachers experienced stress and burnout at one point or another during their tenure at this school. However, the teachers employed many factors to support their resilience: opportunities for professional development, work-life balance, strong positive relationships with colleagues, optimistic and holistic perspectives regarding professional and personal experiences, a sense of humour, modelling desired behaviours, finding meaning and enjoying work, a sense of feeling valued, viewing challenges as learning opportunities, solution-focused approach, and student-centred instruction. To conclude the thesis, the researcher pointed out that “schools must implement strategies that promote individual, collective, and school resilience in order to promote school and educational success” (p. 213).

Sammons, P., Day, C., Kington, A., Gu, Q., Stobart, G., & Smees, R. (2007). Exploring variations in teachers' work, lives and their effects on pupils: Key findings and implications from a longitudinal mixed-method study. British Educational Research Journal, 33(5), 681

Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This paper outlines the findings from case studies over three years of a representative sample of 300 English primary and secondary teachers. Comprehensive data collection methods and analysis are described. Key findings related to teacher Professional Life Phases, Professional Identity, Relative Effectiveness and Resilience and Commitment are discussed. The findings indicate that teachers matter more in accounting for differences in pupil progress than schools. Furthermore, the importance of good relationships in a school or department and of a supportive professional context are highlighted. Implications for policy makers are identified.

Santos, G. (2009). Os professores e seus mecanismos de fuga e enfrentamento [Teachers and their escape and coping mechanisms]. Trabalho, Educação e Saúde, 7, (285-304). DOI: 10.1590/S1981-77462009000200006

Teacher resilience

Translated abstract – Taken from concrete examples gathered over two years of study on the health of teachers, this article proposes a discussion about the strategies that teachers create to face the adversities of everyday school life. With the use of concepts of health and psychodynamics of work, we try to reflect on how teachers deal with adversities such as learning difficulties, the undisciplined behavior of students, the lack of teaching resources, and the teachers fatigue or unwillingness to teach the classes. These strategies - known as coping and escape strategies - which would apparently enhance learning, are also activities that reduce the teacher's burnout, which leads to the trivialization of the educational process.

Schlichte, J., Yssel, N., & Merbler, J. (2005). Pathways to burnout: Case studies in teacher isolation and alienation. Preventing School Failure, 50(1), 35-40

Mentoring | Teacher retention/attrition

This paper describes a small case study where five novice special education teachers were interviewed about their positive and negative experiences and coping strategies in their first year of teaching. The importance of mentors, administrative support, and emotional relationships with and support from students, families and colleagues are highlighted. Some tentative implications are raised including that teacher educators should encourage networking and collaboration between their students as these bonds could be important networks for beginning teachers.

Sharplin, E., O’Neill, M., & Chapman, A. (2011). Coping strategies for adaptation to new teacher appointments: Intervention for retention. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 136-146.

Beginning teachers | Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teaching rural/remote

This qualitative study identified the coping strategies of newly recruited teachers in remote or rural schools in Western Australia. Coping strategies were viewed as “direct-action strategies focused on stress source elimination and palliative strategies which reduce stress by modifying internal or emotional reactions” (p. 139). Participants of the study comprised 29 teachers newly appointed to 17 rural or remote schools in Western Australia, who were classified into four groups, young novice, mature-aged novice, interstate and overseas-educated teachers. Data were collected from an initial questionnaire, ongoing telephone interviews, site visits, and email contact for up to 15 months. Through these sources of data, case studies were constructed. The results indicated three main groups of coping strategies: Direct-action strategies (getting information; seeking assistance; connecting with others; accessing professional development; reflecting; reframing; and establishing boundaries), palliative strategies (positive self-talk; accepting; using a goal focus; establishing psychological boundaries; depersonalising; use of humour; religious beliefs; maintaining health and wellbeing; and maintaining relationships)and avoidant coping strategies (taking leave, disengaging, and substance use). As a conclusion, it was recommended that teachers should be supported to increase their retention and improve students’ learning experience. Moreover, professional development was also maintained to be an important factor that could help to facilitate teacher resilience.

Sitek-Solatka. (2005). A measure of our success: Fostering educator resiliency in the work setting. (Doctor of Education), Seattle University. (3181297)

Teacher resilience

This thesis aimed at identifying the resilient attributes educators utilised in their work settings and verifying the applicability of the Henderson and Mil stein resiliency-building model (1996). Six teachers and 11 administrators in King County in Washington State were asked to fill in a researcher-designed resilient attributes questionnaire. Through the data, several resilient attributes were identified in the field of education: communication skills, flexibility, perseverance, perceptiveness, problem solving, competence, inner direction, love of learning, self-motivation and relationship development. Among these attributes, communication skills were ranked first by administrative personnel and second by teaching personnel while flexibility was ranked first by teaching staff and third by administrative personnel. Moreover, the study also proved that the Henderson and Milstein model did provide a framework for resiliency-building strategies. As a conclusion, the researcher recommended that a similar study should be conducted on a state-wide level with a larger sample and cross-section of educators.

Smethem, L. (2007). Retention and intention in teaching careers: Will the new generation stay? Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 13(5), 465 - 480

Beginning teachers | Teacher retention/attrition

Set within a clear review of current literature and issues, this study investigates beginning secondary language teachers' views on work, their motivations, how they cope with (largely bureaucratic) change, the impact of their induction and their intentions for career development in their early years of teaching. Three types of teachers emerged from the 18 interviews: the 'career' teacher, the 'classroom' teacher and the 'portfolio' teacher, whose commitment to teaching may be temporary. The importance of strengthening moral purpose and of supportive induction processes and the formation of professional learning communities is highlighted.

Smith, T. M., & Ingersoll, R. M. (2004). What are the effects of induction and mentoring on beginning teacher turnover? American Educational Research Journal, 41(3), 681-714

Beginning teachers | Mentoring | Teacher retention/attrition

This comprehensive quantitative study uses data obtained from a stratified sample of all beginning teachers in the US in 1999-2000. It investigates the prevalence of induction programs, the frequency of new teachers' participation in such programmes, rates of turnover and identifies 'stayers', 'movers' and 'leavers'. New teachers were found to be more likely to stay if they have had a mentor in the same subject area, have participated in collaborative planning with other teachers, and if they have participated in an external network of teachers organised by an outside agency or on the internet. Implications for policy makers are discussed.

Stanford, B. H. (2001). Reflections of resilient, persevering urban teachers. Teacher Education Quarterly, 28(3), 75.

Teacher resilience

This article examined factors that enabled teachers from poor urban schools maintained their “endurance and continued enthusiasm for their work” (p. 75) despite distressed environments. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews with 10 persevering teachers having 10 to 28 years of teaching experience from two elementary schools in two of the most distressed environments in Washington, D.C., together with field notes, and a focus group discussion with three of the participants. The results indicated that several factors contributed to foster the teachers’ resilience and perseverance: their love of and commitment to children, an enjoyment of seeing the children making progress, a desire to make a difference to their lives, a determination to see them learn, all of which added a deep meaning to their work and helped them stay. What is more, some sources of support to teacher resilience were identified, which comprised colleagues, church communities, personal spiritual lives, and family and friends, a familial and collegial school climate. From these findings, the researchers recommended that teachers’ trust in their students’ ability to learn and do well should be nurtured to promote resilience and perseverance.

Sullivan, A., & Johnson, B. (2012). Questionable practices? Relying on individual teacher resilience in remote schools. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 22(3), 101-116.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teaching rural/remote

Within this paper, resilience is described as teachers’ “capacity to adapt and cope despite being exposed to serious on-going threats to their wellbeing” (p. 102). The case study of one graduate teacher employed in a remote Indigenous Australian school presented in this paper was drawn from the Australian Research Council funded project (2008-2012) that investigated the resilience of early career teachers. Through two semi-structured interviews with the student conducted at the beginning and the end of the school year, and one interview with the principal towards the end of the year, the researchers reported several systematic and situated factors that threatened the teacher’s resilience: distance, feeling of isolation, different living condition, lack of teaching resources, students’ transience, range of year levels, multi-age classes, students not speaking English as a first language, lack of adequate pre-service education, absence of an Indigenous Education Worker, little formal mentoring and support and lack of opportunities to participate in professional development. However, some positive factors were identified to contribute to the teacher’s resilience: personal relationships with family and friends, connection with local community, and the development of professional identity. Based on the findings, the authors suggested that recruiting authorities should develop effective support mechanisms to assist beginning teachers’ resilience rather than relying on their own capacity to cope with the challenges of teaching in remote areas.

Sumsion, J. (2003). 'Bad Days don't kill you: They Just Make you Stronger: a case study of an early childhood educator's resilience. International Journal of Early Years Education, 11:2, 141-154

Early childhood teachers | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

This paper aimed to investigate what enables some children's services staff to withstand the impact of factors that lead others to leave. What accounts for their resilience to adverse structural factors? The findings are based on one in depth case study of one Early Childhood Education teacher in NSW whom the researcher had observed as having a long and successful career despite workplace adversity. The research findings were based on an analysis of two in depth conversational interviews and careful reading of the teachers 150 page professional portfolio. During interviews, the teacher was asked about her motivations to teach, career history, significant influences on her career, what she saw as 'protective factors' for career satisfaction despite difficult circumstances. The teacher identified a range of factors in contributing to her resilience including the personal qualities of self insight, leadership skills, risk taking and perseverance, a macro perspective and self preservation. Contextual factors were also viewed as significant and included having a support network, having a mentor and participating in ongoing PD opportunities. The research identified interplay between personal and contextual features and concluded that three key factors supporting teacher resilience: teaching as inquiry, teaching as connectedness and appreciating the bigger picture.

Sumsion, J. (2004) Early childhood teachers' constructions of their resilience and thriving: a continuing investigation. International Journal of Early Years Education, 12:3,275-290

Beginning teachers | Early childhood teachers | Teacher resilience

This study was set in NSW and focused on qualified teachers working in the 'full day care prior to school age' sector. It used qualitative methodologies including in-depth interviews and line drawings denoting critical incidents, with seven teachers. The study aimed to develop an understanding of the teachers own constructions of resilience and thriving. The key research question was - what did these teachers attribute their resilience and capacity to thrive professionally in child care despite challenging circumstances that lead many to leave? Analysis of the data lead to the following 8 interrelated attributes of resilience identified by the teachers. Four were personal: self insight (thinking positively), commitment to ongoing learning, a philosophical stance or moral purpose, engagement in conscious career decision making. The other four were contextual: employer support; perceived professional freedom and agency; collegiality and recognition by others of their professional expertise. It was hoped that these insights could be used generate alternative story lines or cultural scripts of teaching in child care based on agency, hope, freedom and teaching as intellectual work.

Sumsion, J. (2007) Sustaining the Employment of Early Childhood Teachers in Long Day Care: A Case for robust hope, critical imagination and critical action. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education. Vol. 35, No. 3, August 2007, pp.311-327

Early childhood teachers

This paper aimed to identify critical communities of Early Childhood Education teachers who are seeking to address a major source of their job dissatisfaction by challenging excessive regulatory requirements. The paper also reviewed the policies and programs of relevant government, employer and Initial Teacher Education (ITE) to cast light on current trends in Early Childhood Teacher Education and work place conditions. The paper finds that Early Childhood and Child Care teachers continue to work for low pay, with poor conditions and low status. This is despite the increasingly complex roles required of them in the workplace largely due to increasing privatisation, regulation and accountability measures. The paper also found that ITE providers have been reluctant to offer courses in Child Care teaching and that those that do offer them within the Early Childhood Education field usually offer generally traditional content and are psychologically based with little reference to other aspects of the teaching role. By investigating the activities of emerging critical communities of Early Childhood teachers the author aims to show how concepts of Robust Hope; Critical Imagination and Critical Action can be antidotes to "collective impotence" i.e. doing nothing.

Tait, M. (2005). Resilience and new teacher success. Education Today, 17, 12-13, 41.

Beginning teachers | Mentoring | Teacher resilience

Beginning teachers face many challenges, including overwhelming workloads, disciplinary problems, unreasonable expectations, poor mentoring support, and inadequate resources. To beat the odds, novice teachers need resilience, “the human capacity to face, overcome, and even be strengthened by experiences of adversity” (p. 12). One of the factors that constitute resilience is positive relationships with other people, e.g. students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. Collegial and supportive teacher preparation is another element that fosters resilience in early career teachers. Moreover, classroom concerns such as class management, student motivation, planning and organisation, have to be effectively addressed to help improve novice teachers’ confidence and sense of efficacy. Induction programs should be put in place to encourage new teachers to practice their communication, personal and social skills. A strong mentorship relationship is also crucial to help an early career teacher foster their resilience. A supportive school culture where collaboration, active participation and critical thinking are encouraged is another important factor that increases teachers’ capacity to bounce back after a setback.

Tait, M. (2008). Resilience as a contributor to novice teacher success, commitment, and retention. Teacher Education Quarterly, Fall, 57-75.

Beginning teachers | Emotions in teaching | Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This study focused on novice teachers' resilience, personal efficacy and emotional competence and their possible impact on their sense of success, confidence, and commitment to the profession. Resilience is defined as "...a mode of interacting with events in the environment that is activated and nurtured in times of stress (p. 58). Resilience is closely linked with personal efficacy and emotional intelligence within the article. This mixed-methods study profiled a novice teacher in Toronto, Ontario who was considered to be representative of the themes raised by four resilient study participants (out of 25) who rated themselves highly in terms of both satisfaction and stressful experiences on a questionnaire. Participants completed a Stress Resilience Test (SRT) (Chrysalis Performance Strategies, 2003), participated in guided interviews, and wrote a piece of prose linking their vision of teaching to an area of personal interest or expertise through metaphor. Highly resilient novices were identified as demonstrating social competence, taking advantage of opportunities to develop personal efficacy, using problem-solving strategies, having the ability to rebound after a difficult experience, learning from experience and setting goals for the future, taking care of oneself, and maintaining a sense of optimism. The author recommended that pre-service programs emphasize the collegial nature of teaching, provide opportunities to forge personal and professional relationships, offer resilience-building activities and strategies, address emotional competencies, encourage novice teachers to recognize and talk about resilient responses to events, and provide assertiveness training. In addition, reasonable teaching assignments, promoting mentoring and networking groups and selective admissions were identified as useful strategies for promoting resilient teachers.

Taylor, J. L. (2013). The power of resilience: A theoretical model to empower, encourage and retain teachers. The Qualitative Report, 18, 1-25.

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition | Teaching rural/remote

Teachers face massive challenges, namely low salaries, lack of administrative support, job dissatisfaction, student discipline problems, a lack of influence over school decision-making and teacher blame. In that context, this study explored the characteristics of resilience that influenced teachers’ retention in a rural community. teacher resilience is defined as “the ability to adjust to varied situations and increase one’s competence in the face of adverse conditions” (p. 2). The participants of the study were four female African American teachers, representatives of a teacher population that have less stable careers and high attrition rate. Using the historical biography method with a narrative inquiry technique, the study confirmed eight themes of resilience as identified in Polidore’s Theory of Adult Resilience in Education (2004): religion, flexible locus of control, ability to view adverse situations positively, autonomy, commitment, enjoyment of change, positive relationships, and positive view of education. An additional theme, efficacy, emerged. As a conclusion, it was argued that teachers should be equipped with adequate teaching resources to enjoy a sense of job satisfaction. Teachers should also be provided with sufficient tools to deal with educational reforms and changes.

Taylor, M. J., & Swetnam, L. (2000). Building resilience in a gendered journey: A study of women's paths to science teaching. Equity & Excellence in Education, 33(1), 36-47.

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

Using Wolin's (1993) coping strategies as a framework, the study examined why 80 women chose to become, and remain, science educators. Important dimensions of resilience - initiative, humour, creativity and independence – were identified through analysis of a 26 item questionnaire (included as an appendix to the paper). Interestingly, development of professional relationships was not identified as particularly important in the quantitative component of the study. The study was exploratory in nature and also identified some key reasons why women chose to become science teachers and the significant challenges they faced as educators.

Thieman, E. B., Henry, A. L., & Kitchel, T. (2012). Resilient agricultural educators: Taking stress to the next level. Journal of Agricultural Education, 53(1), 81-94.

Teacher resilience | Teacher training | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This article, which aimed at introducing the concept of resilience to agricultural education, defines teacher resilience as “the capacity to adjust to adverse conditions to increase one’s competence, achieve school goals, and remain committed to teaching” (p. 83). Analysing 16 articles, books, dissertations, theses, articles, and conference proceedings relating to the topics of teacher stress, burnout and resiliency as well as consulting with agricultural education faculty members, the researchers found that agricultural teachers face many work-related stressors such as coaching career development event teams, supervising student projects outside of the classroom, preparation of lesson plans, and student evaluation, which may lead to burnout, inappropriate behaviours and cognitive malfunctions. However, resilient teachers usually bounce back due to the support of several protective factors, namely salary, adequate teaching materials and facilities, positive work climate, administrator and colleague support, adequate time allotted for job responsibilities, advancement and security, inner sense of self-efficacy, and satisfaction through the observation of student success. Resilient teachers were also found to possess many resilience strategies: help seeking, advanced problem solving skills, effective management of difficult relationships, a sense of occupational agency, occupational competence, pride in achievements, flexible and adaptive, and effective time management strategies leading to a positive work-life balance. As recommendations, the researchers suggested that teacher education programs and administrators should provide teachers with assistance on coping resources, time management, and stress management techniques. Moreover, a recruitment process should be put in place to recruit teachers who are more likely to stay. The researchers also recommended that future research should further investigate conditions that support teacher resilience.

Timm, E., Mosquera, J. J.,& Stobäus, C. (2008). Resiliência: necessidade e possibilidade de problematização em contextos de docência [Resilience: necessity and possibility of questioning in the school context]. Educação, Porto Alegre, 31, 39-45.

Teacher resilience

Translated abstract – This article reviews the necessity of questioning the concept of resilience within the teaching context. Not only analyses the condition of this discomfort in the teaching context but also confirms the possibility that a teacher can realize himself when he has resilience and consider as fundamental the care with himself in his existential project.

Tschannen-Moran, M., & Woolfolk Hoy, A. (2007). The differential antecedents of self-efficacy beliefs of novice and experienced teachers. Teaching & Teacher Education, 23, 944-956.

Beginning teachers | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This paper uses quantitative methods to establish that early career teachers are more affected by contextual factors such as resources and interpersonal support. The paper builds upon the work of Bandura (1986), suggesting that helping early career teachers to develop mastery experiences will lead to higher levels of self-efficacy in relation to their ability to teach. It is argued that this in turn will help to create more resilient teachers.

Tyson, O., Roberts, C. M., & Kane, R. (2009). Can implementation of a resilience program for primary school children enhance the mental health of teachers? Australian Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 19(2), 116-130.

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

This study examined whether a mental health promotion program helped teachers foster their resilience. Teaching is maintained to be a profession that involves a variety of stressors such as students’ misbehaviour, time constraints, poor professional relationships, low salaries, lack of resources, difficult interactions with parents, which lead to psychological disorders like anxiety and depression. Such mental health problems can lead to teacher attrition. The current study employed an experimental design that involved 405 primary school teachers from 63 Australian government schools, with some teachers in the control group and some teachers placed in the Training and Coaching intervention group (to help their students improve their social life skills and optimistic thinking skills in accordance with the Aussie Optimism program). Two assessments of teaching-related anxiety and depression were conducted at 12 months and 24 months. The results indicated that the teachers in the experimental group demonstrated significant lower scores in terms of job-related anxiety and depression, suggesting that the implementation of a mental health program for students resulted in better mental wellbeing for teachers. To conclude, the authors suggested that further studies should be conducted to investigate the direct impact of the Aussie Optimism program on teacher resilience.

Ungar. M. ( 2004) A Constructionist Discourse on Resilience: Multiple Contexts, Multiple Realities Among At-Risk Children and Youth. Youth and Society, Vol 35, No 341-365

Teacher resilience

This paper aimed "to explore a constructionist understanding of resilience, one that challenges the dominant ecological view which underpins the bulk of resilience work done to date" (p. 342). Ecological approaches are described as those informed by Systems Theory with a belief in predictable relationships between risk and protective factors. Using a constructionist approach, reflecting a post modern interpretation of the construct, resilience is defined as "the outcome from negotiations between individuals and their environments for the resources to define themselves as healthy amidst conditions collectively viewed as adverse" (p. 342). The paper reviews current literature on the subject and concludes that there is a need for more qualitative research in the field. Qualitative methods can lead to the discovery of unnamed processes, attend to contextual specificity, increase the volume of marginalised voices, provide thick descriptions and challenge researcher bias.

Vassar, L. (2011). An analysis of educator resiliency within a rural public secondary setting. (Doctor of Education), Trevecca Nazarene University. (3460562)

Teacher resilience | Teaching rural/remote

This study identified organisational, environmental, and individual stressors so as to develop appropriate methods to improve teacher resiliency. Teaching is a challenging profession with many stressors, among which are lack of parental cooperation, adequate resources, or administrative support. Teachers who stay in the profession usually exhibit five common resilient qualities: competence, usefulness, belonging, potency, and optimism. 73 participants from a rural public secondary school in East Tennessee were asked to complete a self-report instrument; that is, each participant had to submit a confidential completion of a Likert-scale and open-ended-question survey, including the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Teacher Stress Inventory. The findings indicated that the burnout rate among the population was high despite the teachers’ teaching styles, i.e. “professional, traditional, formal” or “warm, supportive, facilitator”. As a recommendation, ten research-based organisational strategies were proposed to help teacher address the two utmost stressors, time management and professional distress. Moreover, further research is recommended to identify organisational strategies to increase educator resiliency and effectiveness.

Vernold, E. L. (2008). Special education teacher resiliency: What keeps teachers in the field? (Doctor of Education), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. (3310973)

Teacher resilience | Teacher retention/attrition

This study examined the relationship between special educators’ degrees of satisfaction and resiliency building factors found in schools, and special education teacher retention. Resilience is viewed as the ability to bounce back, to cope, to adapt, and to develop social competence despite adversity (Gordon, 1995; Linville, 1987; Warner & Smith, 1982). Thirty eight special education teachers in one North Carolina school district were conducted from a survey instrument, the National Association of Secondary Principals’ Teacher Satisfaction Survey and a series of open ended questions. The results showed that the special education teachers in the study faced several challenges, such as too much paperwork, a lack of curricular resources, and minimal amounts of planning time. However, the number of years that the teachers spent in their current positions did not predict their degrees of satisfaction with resiliency-building factors in their schools. Moreover, teachers who indicated that they would not come back to their jobs for the 2007- 2008 school year all had low satisfaction ratings for resiliency-building factors in their school, while those who said they would come back were satisfied with the resiliency-building factors in their school. As a conclusion, the study emphasised that the resiliency-building factors, (a caring/supportive work environment, opportunity for meaningful participation, and the communication of high expectations) are important reasons affecting teacher resiliency and retention.

Waddell, J. (2007). The time is now: The role of professional learning communities in strengthening resiliency of teachers in urban school. In D. M. Davis (Ed.), Resiliency considered policy implications of the resiliency movement (pp. 123-145). Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.

Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This chapter drew on a 2005 study of 8 elementary teachers in a Midwest urban school district in the United States to examine why teachers stayed. Resilience in the chapter was featured as “the ability to adapt and thus bounce back when faced with conditions that create disequilibrium or adversity” (Bernshausen & Cunningham, 2001, p. 1). Urban teachers were found to face more challenging working conditions than suburban and rural teachers due to overwhelming workloads, challenging students, poor student motivation, lack of administrative support, and low salaries. To combat these challenges, several features were shown to contribute to teacher resilience: perseverance, service, a sense of ownership, and self-efficacy. Indeed, it was their inner drive, their commitment to the profession, their desire to make a difference to the students’ lives that kept them going. Another important reason that made the teachers stay was the feeling of being needed, respected, supported and valued by principals and colleagues, as well as being involved in school decisions. Most importantly, the teachers’ sense of self-efficacy, their confidence in being a teacher, enabled them to overcome challenges and obstacles successfully. A substantial part of the chapter was devoted to the discussion of the role of principals in promoting teacher resilience. In short, the chapter emphasised the role of principals, relationships, support system and self-efficacy as major constituents of teacher resilience.

Walker, K. (2007). Resilience at JCU: Pre-service teachers exploring and explaining resilience. Education Connect, July, 12-15.

Teacher resilience | Teacher training

Teaching is recognised as a challenging profession in which teachers have to meet multiple demands of the school and the wider community. This short paper discussed the teacher resilience and Wellbeing series of units incorporated in the teacher education program at James Cook University. The units were argued to help student teachers understand issues around resilience, develop skills to identify negative stress and devise strategies to deal with stressors using accessible resources and colleague support. In the conclusion, the author emphasised that teacher resilience as a learning subject is significant to prepare pre-service students for the demanding role of classroom work.

Warshauer Freedman, S., & Appleman, D. (2008). "What else would I be doing?". Teacher identity and teacher retention in urban schools. Teacher Education Quarterly, Summer(2008), 109-126.

Beginning teachers | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher training

The study tracked the career trajectories of 3 graduates from a targeted program (MUSE) that prepared teachers for appointments in disadvantaged urban schools. The study ran over 5 years. Three graduates were discussed in detail, two of whom no longer were teaching in the classroom. This small sample seemed at odds with the typical graduate (it was reported that, after 5 years, 73% of graduates were either teaching or doing curriculum development). Findings reported in the paper suggest that the program was having some success in disadvantaged urban schools. Higher teacher retention rates were noted.

Waterman , S., & He, Y. (2011). Effects of mentoring programs on new teacher retention: A literature review. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, 19(2), 139–156.

Beginning teachers | Mentoring | Teacher retention/attrition

This article explored the supportive role of mentoring programs on retaining early career teachers. Examining 14 studies on the subject, the researchers found that findings regarding the connection between mentoring programs and teacher retention from past research were inconclusive. Whereas most studies showed that early career teachers felt supported by mentors who met with them frequently, one study revealed novices rejected regular meetings with mentors while another study showed novices who rarely met with their mentors were more likely to stay in teaching than those who met with them daily. Furthermore, some studies showed positive associations between mentoring programs, administrative support, ongoing training and teacher retention, while some studies indicated the lack of or inadequacy of mentoring programs led to teachers leaving the profession, as it contributed to the atmosphere of “professional, social, and emotional disavowal” (p. 148). As an implication for further studies, the paper suggested that there should be more research collaboration across schools, districts, and states to encourage the sharing of resources and research capacities to examine more thoroughly the effects of mentoring on teacher retention.

Watt, H. M. G., & Richardson, P. W. (2008). Motivations, perceptions, and aspirations concerning teaching as a career for different types of beginning teachers. Learning and Instruction, 18(5), 408-428

Beginning teachers | Teacher- or self- efficacy

The authors provided strong empirical evidence for the existence of different types of pre-service teachers. Highly engaged persisters (45%, n=230) were said to be more likely to be from non-English speaking backgrounds and lower socio-economic status. These students saw more intrinsic rewards in teaching and aspired to stay in teaching for their entire career. Highly engaged switchers (27%, n=137), on the other hand, were from more affluent backgrounds and already had planned a switch in career as they were graduating. This group were said to be more ambitious and sought leadership positions in teaching. A third group - lower engaged desisters (28%, n=143) – were reported to have become disaffected during their university studies and were not comfortable with the fit between themselves and teaching as a career path. This group was more concerned with extrinsic rewards from teaching. The paper used a rigorous quantitative approach to derive these categories and pointed towards significant implications for teacher education and professional development. Approaches to rewarding and retaining teachers should take account of the different profiles of beginning teacher, in particular their different goals, commitments, plans and aspirations.

Wei, S., Shujuan, Z., & Qibo, H. (2011). Resilience and social support as moderators of work stress of young teachers in engineering college. Procedia Engineering, 24, 856 – 860.

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience

This theoretical paper proposes a conceptual model to help early career teachers foster resilience. It is noted that young teachers often have a lower level of resilience than more senior teachers, as their ability of seeking help, support and available resources is not as efficient as elder teachers’. The model proposed in the paper is the JDC (job demand-control) model that focuses on two variables of work environment: job demand and job control. Job demand is characterised as all kinds of work stress, including work load, time pressure and role conflict, while job control is defined as decision authority and skills judgment. The authors argue that teacher motivation and resilience can be boosted if job demand and job control are matched up, to finally achieve a transformation from high stress work to positive work. A social dimension is also added to the model: social support from supervisors and colleagues, which is argued to have a strong correlation with the level of teacher resilience. However, the authors stress that the JDC model still needs testing to verify its validity.

Williams, J. (2003). Why great teachers stay. Educational Leadership, May, 71-74.

Emotions in teaching | Teacher resilience | Teacher training | Teaching rural/remote

This article explored the elements that contributed to experienced teachers’ resilience despite various teaching-related challenges. In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 teachers who had an average of 23 years of experience, coming from four counties in western North Carolina and working in both rural and urban communities. The findings showed that the teachers all experienced unpleasant instances with school administration and changes in education policies. However, changes energised and refreshed them while their flexibility led to their renewed enthusiasm and longevity. They all strived for novel methods of teachings, constantly changing themselves to meet the students’ demands. Their satisfaction derived from more than watching their students’ progress, but from forming spiritual bonds with their students. Teaching, to these “beyond good – the best that exists” (p. 71) teachers, was a sacred calling, something they were meant to do. For some teachers, a sense of collegiality was a factor that contributed to their resilience, while for some others, workplace relationships were unreliable so they turned to their students, family and friends for mental support and connection. From these findings, the researcher suggested that the protective elements identified in this paper should be incorporated into teacher education programs to help pre-service build their resilience.

Woolfolk Hoy, A., & Burke Spero, R. (2005). Changes in teacher efficacy during the early years of teaching: A comparison of four measures. Teaching & Teacher Education, 21, 343-356.

Beginning teachers | Teacher- or self- efficacy

The study compared 4 measures of teacher efficacy to determine if (a) teacher efficacy changed during early years of teaching, (b) there were similar patterns of change over the measures and (c) common factors emerged that might be related to changes in teacher efficacy. It was found that, on all 4 measures, teacher efficacy increased during student teaching but decreased during the first year of teaching. Bandura's theory of self-efficacy (1977) suggests that efficacy may be most malleable early in learning. Therefore, the early years of teaching could be critical to the long-term development of teacher efficacy. The findings suggest that support for early career teachers is crucial in maintaining their sense of mastery over the teaching profession and therefore their long-term efficacy in their ability to teach.

Yates, L., Pelphrey, B. A., & Smith, P. A. (2008). An exploratory phenomenological study of African American male pre-service teachers at a historical black university in the mid-south. National Forum of Applied Educational Research Journal, 21(3).

Beginning teachers | Teacher resilience | Teaching rural/remote

This study used a narrative style to help explain the resilience of eight male African American pre-service teachers in their studies at a university in the mid-South of the United States. Three sets of protective factors helped these pre-service teachers to build resilience. These were (a) family and community (e.g. influence of parents and siblings), (b) individual factors (e.g. personal drive to succeed, influence of faith/religion) and (c) the school (e.g. high expectations, development of strong personal relationships). A mentoring program called Protégés and Provocateurs was briefly described and it was suggested that this program could be used in other circumstances. Although the mentoring program was not fully described, the apparent success of this initiative warrants further research."

Yonezawa, S., Jones, M., & Singer, N. R. (2011). Teacher resilience in urban schools: The importance of technical knowledge, professional community, and leadership opportunities. Urban Education, 46(5), 913-931.

Professional development | Teacher resilience | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This paper explored how the National Writing Project (NWP), a national yearly professional development program in the United States, contributed to the development of teacher resilience. In the article, resilience is regarded as being formed in the interaction between the teachers and their supportive contexts. In-depth interviews were conducted with six primary and secondary teachers working in urban, high poverty schools with teaching experience ranging from 25 to 40 years. The participants reported the NWP assisted them professionally in three aspects: technical information, cultural support, and development of individual agency and leadership, which fostered their resilience throughout their career. The teachers felt the project enhanced their efficacy, equipping them with the tools and techniques to improve their capacity to engage their students. Through that, their sense of competence and professional identity was promoted, making them stay through the span of their career. Moreover, attending the NWP also gave the teachers an opportunity to meet and share with colleagues the challenges they faced in urban schools and worked out ways to overcome their problems, something they often missed at their own school because of the school culture and/or politics. The paper concluded that professional development leads to greater teacher resilience and retention, especially in schools with children from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Yost, D.S. (2006). Reflection and Self-Efficacy: Enhancing the Retention of Qualified Teachers from a Teacher Education Perspective. Teacher Education Quarterly (Fall), 9-76.

Beginning teachers | Professional development | Teacher retention/attrition | Teacher training | Teacher- or self- efficacy

This study incorporated qualitative methods to identify the obstacles, the aspects of teacher education that shaped success, and the extent that teachers were able to use critical reflection as a problem-solving tool. The study involved interviewing ten second-year teachers and their principals, observations of teaching, and a follow-up questionnaire three years later. Results of the study supported the view that the development of self-efficacy during teacher training involved opportunities to successfully apply learning in practice, and to critically reflect upon challenges. A supportive school environment was not found to be the most important factor in retaining teachers, since efficacious teachers tended to transfer rather than drop out of teaching altogether.

Murdoch University logo
Curtin University logo
University of Wollongong logo