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
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.
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.
Olsen, B., & Anderson, L. (2007). Courses of action: A qualitative investigation into urban teacher retention and career development. Urban Education, 42(1), 5-29
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Walker, K. (2007). Resilience at JCU: Pre-service teachers exploring and explaining resilience. Education Connect, July, 12-15.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.