Graduation Date

5-2017

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

First Reader

Madalienne Peters, Ed.D.

Second Reader

Robin Gayle, Ph.D., MDIV, MFT

Abstract

Burnout is a psychological condition with physical, emotional, and mental dimensions. Burnout often includes feelings of exhaustion, long-term fatigue, negative self-concept, despair or hopelessness, frustration, and a lack of productivity at work.

Teacher burnout is a well-known and researched field. It has been documented in the literature that teachers experience high levels of stress and emotional exhaustion, which leads to high levels of burnout and professional attrition. This study examined the incidence of burnout in new elementary school teachers and offered recommendations for changes to organizational structure that may reduce professional burnout.

For the purpose of this study five new elementary-level teachers, with fewer than five years of experience, from several school districts in the San Francisco Bay Area were selected. I, as the researcher, conducted informal as well as formal surveys of self-reported stress levels using the teachers’ own descriptions of their daily stressors. Teachers completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory (1981). The researcher then synthesized these findings and use this information to suggest ways in which organizational change can alleviate teacher burnout. Results indicated that new teachers are feeling significant burnout to the point where they are considering leaving the field. Suggestions from participants include hiring more paraprofessionals, providing material resources, and increased opportunities for mentorship and professional development.