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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Prosser, B. (2008). The role of the personal domain in middle years teachers' work. Australian Journal of Middle Schooling, 8(2), 11-16
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.
Tait, M. (2008). Resilience as a contributor to novice teacher success, commitment, and retention. Teacher Education Quarterly, Fall, 57-75.
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.
Williams, J. (2003). Why great teachers stay. Educational Leadership, May, 71-74.
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.