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Teacher resilience Annotated Bibliography of Teacher 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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